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The Pause That Refreshes

Posted on September 20, 2012 at 6:47 AM
Filed Under: Heroes and Goats | Houston Astros | St. Louis Cardinals
Lance Lynn spent his time in the bullpen.  Apparently, he has no urge to go back.

For the second straight outing after his stint out of the starting rotation, Lynn threw a solid game, pushing the Cardinal wild card lead out to two games.  While shutting out the Astros over six and a third might not seem impressive--Kyle Lohse did it over seven innings the night before--any win at this time of year and in this situation is huge.  Put that with his strong outing in Los Angeles and it gives you some confidence that this revival will gave a run very similar to his early season work.

Which, of course, makes for some interesting pitching decisions.  If Jake Westbrook, who says his side session went well yesterday, is going to get back into the rotation by the end of the year, do you bump a Lynn who is in the groove back to the bullpen?  Mike Matheny really does have the luxury of plenty of starting pitching for the last two weeks, meaning he can make changes quickly if necessary and also still have good starters ready for the play-in game and the beginning of the NLDS, if necessary.

Anyway, Lynn allowed only three hits in his time on the mound last night while striking out five.  The bullpen did its job, though Joe Kelly made it a little too interesting in the ninth, loading the bases and forcing Jason Motte to get into a 5-0 game.  Hopefully the Cards won't be regretting that in a day or so.  Very good to see Mitchell Boggs come in and be effective.  Though "effective" doesn't necessarily describe striking out the side, like Boggs did!

Offensively, it was historic last night.  David Freese and Yadier Molina both hit home runs, meaning they have 20 on the season.  That's the first time the Cards have ever had five 20 home run guys in the same year.  It's a little surprising that some other teams in the past haven't hit that milestone.  You think about a team like 2004, the juggernaut that it was, but save for the MV3 of Albert Pujols, Jim Edmonds and Scott Rolen, only Reggie Sanders reached 20 and nobody else was close.  So congrats to them for joining an elite crew.

Otherwise, nothing just terribly remarkable, either good or bad, from the lineup.  Molina and Matt Holliday both had two hits, Allen Craig had an RBI--you know, the usual.  I guess my Goat has to be Skip Schumaker, who went 0-4 and left three men on.  However, once the Cards got their lead, it didn't feel like there was much drama there.  Which is perfectly fine.

I mentioned that Lance Berkman should get a couple of ceremonial appearances, one in Houston, one in the last game of the season, so fans could give him a proper sendoff into retirement.  Berkman is thinking about appearances as well, but not necessarily ceremonial ones.  The knee apparently feels pretty good and Berkman isn't ruling out being back before the end of the season.  Which is slightly crazy and I don't know that you could expect much from him, but he does deserve to end his career on the field instead of on the theoretical DL if he can help it.  I still can't believe he could be anything more than a Kirk Gibson-type, a guy that could possibly go yard but much more likely get out because he has no legs to swing with.  Still, you'd like to know if he has anything before making out the postseason roster, so hopefully we've not seen the last of the Puma.

We've got an afternoon game down at Busch Stadium, with Jaime Garcia hoping the home cooking and the quiet Astro bats keep on keeping on.  

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS IBB HBP GDP
Jose Altuve 8 7 2 1 0 0 1 0 1 .286 .250 .429 .679 0 0 2
Justin Maxwell 8 6 4 2 0 1 3 2 2 .667 .750 1.500 2.250 1 0 0
Bud Norris 8 6 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 .167 .143 .167 .310 0 0 0
J.D. Martinez 7 7 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 .143 .143 .143 .286 0 0 0
Jason Castro 6 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .167 .167 .167 .333 0 0 0
Matt Downs 5 4 2 0 0 1 2 1 1 .500 .600 1.250 1.850 0 0 0
Jed Lowrie 5 4 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 .000 .200 .000 .200 0 0 0
Brian Bogusevic 4 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 .000 .250 .000 .250 0 0 0
Brett Wallace 4 3 2 0 0 0 1 1 1 .667 .750 .667 1.417 0 0 0
Carlos Corporan 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000 .333 .000 .333 0 0 0
Chris Snyder 3 3 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 .333 .333 .333 .667 0 0 1
Lucas Harrell 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Total 62 52 14 3 0 2 11 7 7 .269 .344 .442 .787 1 0 3
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/20/2012.

Not exactly a dominant history, but when you factor in that Garcia has that insanely high ERA in Houston, you gotta figure a lot of that damage came down in the juice box.  I think Garcia is likely to have a pretty good game on the mound, but it'll depend on the hitters to see if the brooms get used.

Those hitters will be going up against Bud Norris....maybe.  The MLB preview lists Norris, but the Post-Dispatch notes that Norris is sick and Edgar Gonzalez may make the start.  Hopefully it's not a case of a fan finding out where Norris was staying and putting a little something in the food, but with Norris's superhuman ability against St. Louis, I wouldn't completely rule it out.

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS IBB HBP GDP
Yadier Molina 36 32 8 0 0 0 1 3 3 .250 .333 .250 .583 0 1 2
Matt Holliday 32 30 8 2 0 2 5 2 7 .267 .313 .533 .846 0 0 0
Skip Schumaker 25 22 3 0 0 0 2 3 3 .136 .240 .136 .376 0 0 0
Jon Jay 22 21 5 1 0 0 4 0 3 .238 .238 .286 .524 0 0 1
Carlos Beltran 21 21 7 5 0 0 2 0 6 .333 .333 .571 .905 0 0 0
Daniel Descalso 17 14 6 3 1 1 4 3 5 .429 .529 1.000 1.529 1 0 0
David Freese 14 13 3 2 0 0 2 1 6 .231 .286 .385 .670 0 0 0
Allen Craig 12 11 5 0 0 1 4 1 3 .455 .500 .727 1.227 0 0 0
Lance Berkman 8 6 2 0 0 1 1 2 1 .333 .500 .833 1.333 1 0 0
Matt Carpenter 8 6 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 .000 .250 .000 .250 0 0 0
Jaime Garcia 8 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 1
Adam Wainwright 7 7 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 .143 .143 .143 .286 0 0 0
Kyle Lohse 6 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 .250 .250 .500 .750 0 0 0
Adron Chambers 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Pete Kozma 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 1.000 1.000 2.000 3.000 0 0 0
Total 219 198 50 15 1 5 26 17 45 .253 .315 .414 .729 2 1 4
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/20/2012.

Overall, the stats don't look as dominating as they used to.  There have been those occasions where they've gotten to Norris or at least hit him OK, even if they can't score enough to win.  Craig and Daniel Descalso aren't scared of him and Holliday has gone deep a couple of times, so maybe they can put together a 3-2 win or something this afternoon.

Just for fun, here's the Cards vs. Gonzalez.

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS IBB HBP GDP
Lance Berkman 10 10 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 .300 .300 .300 .600 0 0 0
Matt Holliday 10 10 5 2 0 0 3 0 2 .500 .500 .700 1.200 0 0 1
Carlos Beltran 9 8 4 0 0 3 5 1 0 .500 .556 1.625 2.181 0 0 0
Kyle Lohse 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 .500 .667 .500 1.167 0 0 0
David Freese 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1.000 0 0 0
Jon Jay 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Yadier Molina 1 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 1.000 1.000 1.000 2.000 0 0 0
Skip Schumaker 1 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 1.000 1.000 1.000 2.000 0 0 0
Total 36 33 15 2 0 3 10 3 5 .455 .500 .788 1.288 0 0 1
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/20/2012.

Umm, I don't think it's wrong to tell Norris to get some rest, no need to push yourself. Those are some really tasty small samples right there!  Carlos Beltran with three homers in nine plate appearances against the guy?  Goodness!

For your scoreboard watching, we can ignore the Reds (magic number of three) and Braves (up 6.5 for the first wild-card slot).  That means there are between two and five teams to keep an eye on.  While I think Arizona and now Pittsburgh are probably too far out of the mix, I'll list them anyway.

LA Dodgers: 2 GB. At Washington tonight, Chris Capuano vs. Ross Detwiler.
Milwaukee: 2.5 GB. At Pittsburgh this afternoon, Mike Fiers vs. Wandy Rodriguez.
Philadelphia: 4 GB. At New York tonight.  Tyler Cloyd vs. Jeremy Hefner.
Pittsburgh: 4.5 GB. Hosting Milwaukee (see above)
Arizona: 4.5 GB. Hosting San Diego this afternoon.  Tyler Skaggs vs. Clayton Richard.

If the Cards keep winning, of course, it's a moot point.  Every day off the calendar is a major advantage for the Redbirds.  Let's hope they can press that advantage with another win today!


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Heroes
Carlos Beltran (6)
Yadier Molina (5)
Matt Holliday (4)
Jon Jay (4)
Matt Carpenter (3)
Daniel Descalso (3)
Jaime Garcia (3)
Pete Kozma (3)
Shelby Miller (3)
Adam Wainwright (3)
Allen Craig (2)
Lance Lynn (2)
Tyler Lyons (2)
Edward Mujica (2)
Jake Westbrook (2)
David Freese (1)
Joe Kelly (1)
Seth Maness (1)
Trevor Rosenthal (1)
Michael Wacha (1)
Ty Wigginton (1)

2012 Top Hero: Matt Holliday (17)
2011 Top Hero: Lance Berkman (24)
2010 Top Heroes: Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols (24)
2009 Top Hero: Albert Pujols (28)
2008 Top Hero: Albert Pujols (25)

Goats
Jon Jay (6)
David Freese (5)
Mitchell Boggs (4)
Joe Kelly (4)
Pete Kozma (4)
Matt Carpenter (3)
Allen Craig (3)
Daniel Descalso (3)
Jaime Garcia (3)
Yadier Molina (3)
Matt Adams (2)
Carlos Beltran (2)
Matt Carpenter (2)
Matt Holliday (2)
Lance Lynn (2)
Seth Maness (1)
Shane Robinson (1)
Fernando Salas (1)
Adam Wainwright (1)
Jake Westbrook (1)

2012 Top Goat: Rafael Furcal (11)
2011 Top Goat: Ryan Theriot (12)
2010 Top Goat: Brendan Ryan (14)
2009 Top Goats: Rick Ankiel and Todd Wellemeyer (13)
2008 Top Goat: Troy Glaus (13)

Cardinal Nation Approval Ratings (March 2013)
Yadier Molina 96.2% (up 8.8%)
Chris Carpenter 89.8% (down 0.3%)
Derrick Goold 89.1% (up 6.3%)
Matt Holliday 88.4% (up 0.9%)
Allen Craig 88.3%
Adam Wainwright 88.2% (down 3.7%)
Jose Oquendo 87.1% (up 2.4%)
Jason Motte 86.9%
John Mozeliak 86.5% (up 1.1%)
United Cardinal Bloggers 85.2% (up 6.3%)
Bill DeWitt 85.1% (up 5.3%)
Mike Shannon 85.1% (down 0.2%)
John Rooney 84.5% (up 3.0%)
Mike Matheny 84.4% (up 3.3%)
David Freese 82.9% (down 2.6%)
Jon Jay 81.8% (up 10.7%)
Lance Berkman 80.6% (down 8.0%)
Jenifer Langosch 79.5%
Lance Lynn 79.5%
Dan McLaughlin 76.0% (up 8.0%)
Jim Hayes 73.0% (up 1.1%)
Ricky Horton 65.5% (down 2.0%)
Jaime Garcia 64.1%
Albert Pujols 59.2% (up 4.3%)
Ballpark Village 58.3%
Joe Strauss 54.3% (down 13.4%)

2012
Tony La Russa 88.2% (up 17.4%)
Mark McGwire 82.6% (up 20.1%)
Skip Schumaker 73.3% (up 9.2%)
B.J. Rains 69.5% (down 0.9%)
Kyle Lohse 68.9% (up 13.8%)
Al Hrabosky 66.4% (up 3.2%)
Colby Rasmus 46.5% (down 35.3%)

2011
Dave Duncan 87.9% (up 0.9%)
Matthew Leach 85.5%
Pop Warner 76.7%
Ryan Franklin 72.8% (up 3.1%)
John Vuch 68.9%
Jeff Luhnow 66.4%
Dan Lozano 58.7%

2009
Rick Ankiel 83.9%
Chris Duncan 69.1%


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