Posted on August 16, 2010 at 8:11 AM
Filed Under: Chicago Cubs
| Heroes and Goats
| St. Louis Cardinals
Remember when I said that Cardinal fans should caution against getting too high off of that Cincinnati series? Unfortunately, this 2010 team is becoming predictably frustrating. Let's look at the series.
Hero: Albert Pujols. Three hits, including a home run, and scored three runs. AP pretty much did it all.
Goat: Brendan Ryan. Not the best of weekends for Ryan, as he apparently has started on the downward slope of his roller coaster season.
Notes: Save for that first inning, Jake Westbrook had a good game and is showing that he's shoring up the rotation. That's not a game that the Redbirds win if Jeff Suppan or Blake Hawksworth start, I don't think.
Hero: Jon Jay. Two for three, including a run, in a game that didn't have a lot of offense.
Goat: Brendan Ryan. Both he and Colby Rasmus popped up bunts in the late innings, but the difference was Rasmus shouldn't have been bunting. If that was his call, I'd give him the Goat tag. I don't think that it was.
Notes: A tough loss, especially with Cincinnati winning. Obviously you can't win all of them, but when the tying run is on second with nobody out, it feels like a game that should have gone to St. Louis the way they'd been playing.
Hero: Felipe Lopez. A two-run pinch-hit single in the wild ninth.
Goat: Kyle Lohse. More discussion in a bit, but not getting through the fourth is not the way you wanted to see him come back.
Notes: Great for Stephen Hill to smash a home run in his first game. It was also good to see the team not give up, especially after the big bats were taken out of the game.
Lohse's start was promising, at least in the beginning. He gave up the long balls to Derrick Lee, but the Cardinals hardly figured him out all weekend. Lee came in hot and if Lohse had been able to limit it to just those mistakes, we'd be a much happier fan base this morning.
Even the beginning of the fourth wasn't too bad, as the first two hits weren't liners, but just out of reach of the infielders. After that is when it got ugly, with balls getting hit hard and even Ryan Dempster getting in on the action.
What does this mean, long-term? Well, if Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia and Westbrook can continue pitching well, not a whole lot. Lohse is the fifth starter and you have to figure he'll be better than what the Cards had been running out there in that slot. If not, rosters expand in three weeks. With the off days this week, Lohse might only have two, maybe three starts before that time, when more experimentation can be done.
I do think Lohse will be better than he showed yesterday. Hopes for him getting closer to 2008, though, might be too much to ask for.
Also interesting to see Allen Craig get some time at third base
yesterday. He made an error in his only chance, but it doesn't sound like it was his fault. The Craig at third campaign had a lot of supporters across the internet and it makes a lot of sense with the personnel the team has at the moment. With Lopez struggling, getting Craig some at-bats isn't as hard to do when you can put him there. Of course, Craig still needs to do something with those opportunities, as he's been pretty quiet since his outburst during the eight game winning streak.
The article also mentions that the Cardinals are looking at Brandon Inge. If they can get Inge (assuming he clears waivers) for a AA prospect or something, I'm all for it. Inge isn't anything special, but he does have some pop and can play 3B pretty well. With David Freese out for the year, it'd be a good move, especially since it frees up Lopez to go back to that utility/supersub role that seemed to sit well with him earlier in the year.
Something that Tony La Russa was saying this weekend, both in relation to Craig and to Stephen Hill, kinda stuck with me and not in the best way. TLR kept referring to their situations as "not being fair." It's not fair to try out Craig at third, even though he has more experience there than some of the other moves La Russa has made in the past. It's not fair for Hill to get a start in the big leagues, even if it means Yadier Molina's legs fall off.
Last I checked, life ain't fair. Like I said, Craig's played some third. It's not like you are taking an outfielder and sticking him there with no preparation. It's not like he has to completely learn on the fly on the big stage. He's got experience there and he's got to be hungry for more at-bats.
The same for Hill. Is his development going to be irreparably ruined by giving Molina a day off? If so, why haven't you gone ahead, now that there's not the time crunch there was earlier in the week, and swapped him out for Matt Pagnozzi or Bryan Anderson? I'm not saying Hill is going to be an instant jolt or even do anything positive, but there's no reason to run Molina down to the bone when you do have someone that can legitimately catch.
There are two days off this week, so I'm guessing Hill will stay around, sit on the bench, maybe get to pinch hit once or twice. I'm not pushing for a start due to those rest days, but without them, I think the club would have to do something and Hill is as good as any other option.
Today is the signing deadline for the players drafted in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. It looks like the Cards will lock up their second pick, Jordan Swagerty. The big fish, Zack Cox and Austin Wilson, are still out there, though. Per Jim Callis's Twitter feed
, it looks like Wilson will get away, though Cox will likely sign. Better than nothing, though I was really hoping they'd pull off the upset and get Wilson permanently into Cardinal red.
Going to be a long week with two days of no baseball, plus an afternoon game on Wednesday. You can spend your time perusing the Cardinal blogosphere, of course, and get much more insight than you can reading me, or you can check out Baseball Digest
and read my weekly column over there. We'll talk about the Brewers tomorrow!
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