All right, we're going Live!!! today opposite Cards-Cubs, which could either lead to extremely high or low traffic, depending on the game. Feel free to submit questions about the action or strategy. I'll try to accommodate. The last time we held JSL!!! during a game there was plenty of action. Hopefully, today is a carbon. I know a number of you are diverting attention from your mundane workdays. So let's proceed with the payoff, full contact chat!!!
Greene is off to a rough start and there has been some erosion of support for him within the organization. The club hoped he would grab the opportunity to become no less than the dominant side of a second-base platoon. That has not exactly played out. At worst, the club anticipated Greene's offense would balance some sketchy defense. Unfortunately for both, Greene's average is languishing around his career figure while his defense has experienced some high-visibility lapses. Yes, he's become something of a whipping boy after being the People's Choice last September, when TLR refused to give him a start after his recall from Memphis. Greene is without remaining options. At some point, barring a turnabout, the club will face a difficult decision regarding his future. Matt Carpenter is a victim of circumstance. There is no way he should be exposed daily but that is the reality with Lance Berkman and Allen Craig on the disabled list. Carpenter took a significant eighth-inning at-bat against a LH reliever in Pittsburgh last Saturday during a 2-0 game. Tough spot. Carpenter isn't a young player but he is relatively inexperienced. He projects as a bench asset on this team, not an everyday presence, despite the arousal that may have followed his strong camp and 5-RBI game earlier this month. Holliday, in my opinion, will still have a monster year.
A little unfair there, sir. Matheny is managing his personnel based on trends and match-ups. Every manager's philosophy is different. Matheny's experience level is significantly less. He is still learning this team. Nothings puts glare on a manager like bullpen hijinks, which we've seen the last two nights along with some inopportune hitting and sketchy umpiring.
Motte threw 31 pitches Monday, a threshold he has rarely crossed as a closer. Matheny had an obvious L-L matchup with Rzepczynski and LaHair. Rzep' made a mistake and paid. Had Motte not worked on Monday, he likely would have been given the ninth. One needs to recall the context in which a game is played.
For the first time this season Waino' was bueno. One walk, one earned run and seven strikeouts. At his best, Wainwright is more efficient than 93 pitches in six innings. But it was a very positive step against a team that battered him a week before.
Think you're being a bit tough on a bullpen that ranks fourth in the NL in ERA and third in opponents batting average. How about the fact the Cardinals are 0-8 with runners in scoring position during this series? Or 5-for-43 RISP in the last five games? It's a little dangerous to assign blame based on the last thing you see. The offense is literally hurting right now.
Revel away. I prefer to see great players show why they're great. Pujols is clearly pressing as defenses have begun to shift against him. (Tampa Bay took a hit away from him Tuesday with an overshifted infield.) Albert isn't walking -- typically a barometer of how he feels at the plate -- and he appears consumed by breaking a home run drought. All this is transpiring in a different league with his family in STL. I'm sure a segment of the Cardinals fan base is delighting in it. Some local media appear to be sharing the thrill. It's apparently AP has yet to find a comfort zone on the West Coast. He's in a 0-for-16 as we speak. Unless he's physically compromised, someone will eventually pay.
The Cardinals believe themselves covered at first base with Berkman this year and Adams and Craig as options in 2013. Who knows? The Cardinals may wish to bring back the Puma for a third season. The Cards project greater needs than first base at present.
Schu' represented a safety net at the position. The Cardinals likely didn't envision needing one this soon but I can see a scenario in which Schumaker receives extended time at the position, at least in the short term.
Right now it's second in the NL in ERA, innings pitched, opponents OPS and walks-hits/innings pitched. The Cards lead in starter wins and fifth in opponents batting average. The rotation is not the problem. I'm comfortable trusting what I see from Jaime, Westbrook and Lohse. Wainwright should only improve. Lynn, who has never thrown more than 164 innings in a professional season, may be the biggest question mark due to durability. Carpenter's status will dictate the club's urgency.
Ownership could afford to adopt a more reserved stance because fans remembered AP's pledge not to make his decision about money. Apparently, some forgot the club's pledge that it would do everything possible to make Pujols "a Cardinal for life." My read is that the Cardinals were terrified that Pujols would accept anything longer than a 7-year deal, so they made their 10-year proposal worth less on an AAV basis than their January 2011 bid. Mo' has since admitted discomfort with where talks traveled. The World Series win allowed the club to take a much more cautious, even hard-line stance toward the matter. Again, the Cardinals have a way of reading their fan base extremely well.
I had concerns about the bullpen in spring but it has performed well to date. Again, it's hard to rationalize blaming the pitching staff when it has allowed 10 runs in the last five games yet the team is 2-3 in that stretch. Games aren't won and lost only in the eighth, ninth and 10th innings. The Cardinals botched Saturday's game in Pittsburgh in the first inning and did woefully little last nght with 12 baserunners. I do agree with ChatHeads who believe the team has become a bit cavalier about giving away outs on the bases.
Komatsu projects as a spare outfielder. I agree with your take that he could be vulnerable in the next several weeks as others exit the DL. For the Cardinals to seek a trade to keep him, they must first answer whether he offers anything not found in their minor-league system. Would you prefer Komatsu over, say, Shane Robinson? Based on current playing time, the organization appears to be saying no.
Depending on the crew, umpires are typically available to media, who may employ a pool reporter to seek clarification of calls. I did not see any quotes from Tuesday's crew. That was a nightmare outcome at Wrigley: a walk-off, a game that ran late and clear dissatisfaction from the local nine. A reporter can only be so many places at once. You also have to wade through a mass of humanity to move from the Wrigley press box to the visitors clubhouse. Tough task.
Yes. But 2014 may be a more likeliy ETA.
The worst team in the game migrates to the AL West next year. If the Angels and Rangers are joining mega-payroll teams, that arguably places the four most aggressive-spending teams in that league. Detroit isn't far behind. The Phillies are eroding. The Dodgers will likely resurrect themselves under new ownership. However, balance of power doesn't mean much until the World Series. The NL seems to have fared well the last couple years.
You really interpret several close losses as lack of energy or purpose? C'mon.
Yes, it was a "lucky swing" that took the ball out to CF. Yep.
After 18 games it's safe to say Holliday on way to a "bust" season. Wow.
Probably a good bit more balanced.
I don't see that happening. AP also has total no-trade protection. There would have to be a seismic shift in attitudes for him to waive such protections. The Angels would only entertain moving Pujols given a dramatic decline in production. Do you really believe the Cardinals would seek to acquire such a player long term?