Greetings from Busch Stadium, where all is quiet --- for now. It's Hamm Night at the downtown ballpark. And it's Chat Day. I imagine many of the questions coming in today's Chat to be Named Later will be a lot like those facing the Cardinals. Rosenthal. Ninth inning. Offense. Holliday. Masterson. Reds. Martinez. Let's see how many unexpected ones we can get to as well. Get those questions in now. I'll be doing some MLB Network hits as well during the chat and trying to offer the usual multimedia gumbo. Off we go.
Loud and clear. Let's get going.
That's a good read on the situation. Matheny's action -- having Maness quickly warming in the bullpen -- said more about the ninth inning and where the team thinks Rosenthal is right now then any of the post-game comments. That said, Matheny did offer a peek at his recipe for the ninth in the coming days: Rosenthal when he's rested and available. Of course, it's Matheny's call when that is. So don't be surprised tonight if there's a save situation if Neshek gets the call, or if a few others (Maness, Freeman, maybe Martinez) get into the mix depending on matchup. That will be done under the auspices of getting Rosenthal rest (he has had a high workload, see: Cardinals Insider, Aug. 10) and it really afford the closer the opportunity to get right. We've seen this before. A year ago. Rosenthal is going to have a better shot at holding his job than Mujica did.
He is on track to contribute to the team in September. He is meeting with doctors again today for his biweekly MRI. The expectation is that this one will slingshot him into a throwing program that includes off the mound and is closer to a spring training-like regimen than what we've seen from him so far. That puts him ... four weeks away? Less if the Cardinals opt to include him in the bullpen structure.
Rosenthal went Class AA starter, MLB middle reliever, Class AAA starter, MLB setup man -- in that order -- in one season. Despite the recent concerns that will likely dominate this chat, he turned out OK. Martinez hasn't been yo-yo'd around like, say, Boggs a few years ago or Siegrist in a way this season. Starting is all about the innings. As long as he's not being asked to go from Class AAA reliever to MLB starter then his arm should fine and his stuff should be zippy.
Holliday has only ever played left field in his career. It's one of the more curious things you'll see on Baseball-Reference.com. He's had 1,503 starts in the field. He's had 1,503 starts in left. He has a good enough arm to play right field, certainly at Busch, and I haven't heard a reason why he couldn't other than he just never has. Taveras does not have a poor arm, not when it comes to strength. He sometimes makes poor decisions with his throws or tries to do something he shouldn't with the throws. Some of that is inexperience, and some of that is what Matheny and other managers have talked about as an improved attention to details from the rookie.
What? Is this the IRS? Like anything almost anything these days -- radio hits, freelance pieces, etc. -- we are allowed, with approval from the Post-Dispatch, to receive compensation for our appearances. For many media entities, like MLB Network or local radio stations, they compensate correspondents, but when there is breaking news it's likely you appear without compensation because you are representing the newspaper and its coverage, and that's very valuable to the PD. You see that a lot with the news folks who are doing an excellent job representing the paper on national news this past past week.
That has been used in the past, and it makes a lot of sense to do it now. Matheny has been resistant to upsetting the order at the top of the lineup because of how it's been going and he said he likes the look of having a productive Jay and a potentially productive Taveras to lengthen the lineup. Lineup depth has been lacking this season. It's almost as if Taveras needs to show some steady production to get a crack at the No. 2 spot which could ignite him. Add it to the chicken-egg spots he's been in this season.
Yes. All of the Cardinals who have plaques in Cooperstown and any of the players with retired numbers were already in the Hall, announced as such the day it was introduced.
That it could. Holliday told me in Miami that the knee was not something that would sideline him for long and that it was more of a nagging or momentarily limiting soreness. He has been moving well in the field throughout most of this season, but there has been concern about the knee dating back more than week now. It "flared up." That was the term used by Matheny. It also tightened up, according to another description. Either way it hasn't had the flexibility of a healthy knee and there has been soreness -- both things that would limit or influence his stance at the plate and his base.
It is not locked. Martinez, however, is coming back to be in the bullpen, Matheny stressed.
Absolutely. Rosters expand Sept. 1. No reason no to. They could even carry three catchers into the postseason if they feel Cruz and Pierzynski could also double as a threat off the bench, and Pierzynski has had the offensive history of a lefthanded option.
During the first few days, the Cardinals were on the road, and they had more questions when asked about Ferguson than answers about it. Many declined to say anything publicly until they could return to the city or until they could get more information about what was going on. Now back here, many players have declined to say much about it. Adam Wainwright did an interview yesterday where he offered prayers for the people impacted by the events in Ferguson, and he also said that he was disappointed that the national view of St. Louis was through the news reports of the looting and police response. He said some of the images have not been the St. Louis he knows. That sentiment was echoed by the Cardinals who did open the Padres series with an announcement over the PA system to all of the fans that reinforced the need to be a community. Mike Matheny spoke for awhile about Ferguson and said similar things about he's hoping for a quick resolution from the voices who have authority.
Interesting. As mentioned moments ago, Matheny likes the idea of having Jay lower in the order to add depth. He does look like a good fit for that No. 2 spot which his rising OBP and consistent average. Could go a number of ways with No. 2: stick with Wong, shift to Jay, or try to spark Taveras. The likelihoods are probably in that order for the coming weeks.
In the crucible of the postseason with the short series it's still LA. Two reasons: Kershaw in Game 1 and Kershaw in Game 4. Want a third? Greinke. Pitching rules October and those are tough matches for any team. It's also why the new-look Cardinals rotation makes them trickier to face come October. That is, if they get beyond the play-in game.
It's far more simple than that: he isn't on the 40-man roster and the Cardinals haven't been pressed by emergency (see: Gonzales, Marco) to put him on. It's a factor in baseball decisions. Unfair perhaps, but a factor. It's about to be a less important one in two weeks or less.
Spoke to Mozeliak about the search for a bat yesterday. He said there was not a real urgency to add a bat from the outside unless it was going to be a significant upgrade to what the Cardinals had now -- or potentially had coming. A few of the targets that the Cardinals could have pursued -- Willingham is an obvious one, to a lesser extent Byrd and his contract -- never got to the Cardinals before being claimed and grabbed back or moved. Alfonso Soriano's name was reported and kicked around a bit by the Cardinals. He has been mentioned as a good September add, but he would have to be in the organization by Aug. 31 to be eligible for the postseason. We can conjure rumors all day. Reports carry accountability and there hasn't been much movement there for the Cardinals' bat search.
Worn down? That's hard to say, harder to prove. He's packed on a lot of innings in the past few years. and that was a concern going in. He's dealt with an elbow issue earlier this season and he was given an extended break around the All-Star Game for the reason of rest. He said last night that he hasn't felt in synch with his delivery for about a month, that he feels a hair off. Heck, why not just put the quote in here:
"I haven’t felt locked in with my delivery with my pitches in over a month, since before the All-Star break," Wainwright told me last night. "It can be quite frustrating actually. Knowing that I’m very close to being like I was but I’m not. I don’t think anybody is feeling real bad for me right now. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. I know there’s more in there. I can be better than I’ve shown."
No thanks. I'll get Amazing Fantasy No. 15, Amazing Spider-Man No. 1, and still have just enough to afford college for my son. That seems like a better investment.
You are correct. It was out of character. Rick Hummel was there for the comments, so I've asked for him to chime in with an answer: "He will probably do that with a young player that he thinks he can reach and reshape. He's not likely to do that with a veteran player who is set in his ways. You can talk to a veteran player, but you probably cannot change him." La Russa criticized Drew for some of the same reasons, and he did so publicly as well as privately.
I would add that it was probably the only course Matheny felt he could take with the persisting questions about Taveras. After the game in Miami when I asked about Taveras' odd run around the bases and overall effort, Matheny said that it was up to me to choose the words that fit. He didn't have any. Facing the larger media crowd the next day, he had some because he knew the question wouldn't be left behind in Miami.
El Gallo, for people who don't roam the virtual corridors of Cardinals Nation all that regularly, is Carlos Martinez. It's like his online code name, like Wrench was in some corners for Allen Craig. (I had to learn this, too.)
Aren't all demotions a wake-up-and-get-serious call? Or is that just in Hallmark specials? He pitched more than 10 innings at Memphis, but he lost some of those innings to weather and a postponed game. He would have come back to start on short rest had he not been promoted. So those 10 innings cover two starts and that means he averaged five innings per start -- or just about what he was expected to do in the majors as well. There is nothing in those numbers that tell us anything more than he pitched well, pitched effectively with several pitches, and was the strikeout threat they need him to be a fastball he can trust -- and will use. Soft-tossing lefties? Freeman throws in the mid-90s. Marco Gozanles has an above-average fastball. And wait until you see Rob Kaminsky.