First of all I went to Opening Day and things were rolling right along and I was smiling. Rasmus tripled in the first, Berkman got a few hots and Holliday homered and all the while Pujols struggled but we were winning. Until 2 out in the ninth.
One thing that gets me is how writers, bloggers and others are already talking about mismanagement. What are their credentials? They may have some coaching in their background but they have never managed in the Major Leagues. Oh I know they have watched a zillion games and know all the moves that a manager should make. For cry out loud, it was game 1…. now we have Matt Holliday out for an extended period with an emergency appendectomy. Go John Jay and Allen Craig.
Game 2 PREVIEW
THE STORY: Albert Pujols and the Cardinals aren’t panicking over the slugger’s historically bad opening day. And the first baseman can’t wait to redeem himself Saturday when St. Louis hosts the San Diego Padres in the middle game of the series. Pujols went 0 for 5 in the Cardinals’ 5-3 loss in 11 innings Thursday. He grounded into a three double plays and left five men on base. “It’s the first game of the year, and now we have 161 games left,” Pujols said. “So I’m glad this is over.” Pujols, who received a warm ovation from the Busch Stadium crowd despite his refusal to sign a contract extension, will try to get untracked against San Diego’s Clayton Richard. He’s 2 for 5 with an RBI in his career against the 27-year-old left-hander.
TV: 4:10 p.m. ET, FOX
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cardinals RH Jake Westbrook (2010: 10-11, 4.22 ERA) vs. Padres LH Clayton Richard (2010: 14-9, 3.75 ERA): Acquired from Cleveland last season, Westbrook finished strong as a Cardinal (3.48 ERA in 12 starts) and is being counted on for a big year with Adam Wainwright lost for the season. Westbrook has struggled against several Padres, with Orlando Hudson going 4 for 12, Brad Hawpe 2 for 2, and Chase Headley 2 for 3. Richard did not face the Cardinals last year, when he posted a 4.41 ERA on the road and a 3.15 ERA at home.
ABOUT THE CARDINALS (0-1): St. Louis will be without outfielder Matt Holliday, who went 3-for-4 with a homer in Thursday’s opener, because he had an emergency appendectomy Friday. It’s unclear how long he’ll be out. The Cards wasted a strong opening day effort by Chris Carpenter (seven innings, two earned runs, two hits) with sloppy play. Holliday was picked off second to stifle one rally and second baseman Skip Schumaker dropped the ball on a tag, leading to the Padres’ second run. In the 11th, shortstop Ryan Theriot fumbled a one-hop throw from right fielder Jon Jay and threw high to the plate as San Diego scored the go-ahead run. Closer Ryan Franklin allowed Cameron Maybin to send the game to extra innings with a two-out home run to center in the ninth. It was a disheartening start for a team already dealing with several issues, including the season-ending injury to Wainwright and Pujols’ contract situation.
ABOUT THE PADRES (1-0): Maybin, the center fielder acquired by trade from the Marlins, had a smashing debut. He also made a diving catch on a shallow first-inning fly ball. His 11th-inning single resulted in the winning run. Chase Headley advanced from first to third on the hit and scored when the Cardinals misplayed the relay. “We fight and claw. We hang around. We figure out a way to do it,” Maybin said, summing up the Padres’ mentality. It was an energizing opener for San Diego, which lost much of its firepower in the off-season and isn’t viewed as a contender. (from COVERS)
It has been awhile eh? I apologize, as I have been pressed for time recently again. In the future, for a better way to see when new content is added to the site, I suggest you follow me personally on twitter <twitter.com/ryan_jones29> or Tom (he owns this site, I just write on it). His account is <twitter.com/CardinalsGM>. Whenever a new post is added to the site a link will be tweeted, so you will know exactly when a post is written. Both of us also like to tweet about the Cards during the games, so you can either just read what we have to say or tell us that we are crazy!
Anyways, back to the actual Cardinals. Overall I would say it has been a good start to the year. The Cards’ 20-14 start gives them a .588 winning percentage, which would put them in the low to mid 90′s in wins by the end of the year, which is where many people expected them to be going into the year. Using data from baseball prospectus and fangraphs gives us a good idea of where the Cardinals stand in relation to their division counterparts
The club has yet to gel together offensively. Their 4.41 runs per game average is a tad underwhelming, as that figure is good for 4th in the central divison and 11th in the N.L. Their team .338 on base % is actually tied for 6th in the league, but their .405 slugging % puts them at 10th in the N.L. There is no way a team with Pujols, Holliday, Rasmus, Ludwick, and even Freese should be that low in terms of slugging %, but with guys like Schumaker and Ryan stuggling to do anything offensively and with Pujols and Holliday yet to really catch fire that’s where things stand. The Cardinals are also one of the least disciplined teams in the major leagues in terms of % of swings at pitches thrown outside of the strike zone. Cardinal batters are swinging at 27.7% of such pitches, which ranks them 10th in the N.L. In order to improve offensively, hitters need to quit swinging at so many bad pitches. It sounds like an obvious statement and anyone who watches the games can see that, but it is worthwhile to point out when the stats back it up.
This is an area where the Cardinals have dominated throughout 2010. Their 3.41 runs allowed per game is good for 3rd in the N.L. and 1st in the divison. No one else in the divison is within a run of the Cards, which is fantastic. The Cards have the 2nd best k/bb ratio in the N.L., and carry a sub 3.5 FIP as a team, which again is execellent. Another interesting note is that Cardinal curve balls are a full 10 runs better (17.6 vrs. 7.5) than any other team in the major leagues! Make no mistake about it-with guys like Wainwright and Carpenter, the Cardinals OWN the curveball.
Despite the last two nights, the Cardinals have also played some solid defense to help aid the pitching staff this season. They are converting 71% of balls put into play into outs, which leads the divison and is good enough for 3rd in the N.L. Their 10.7 UZR, which means how many runs the defense has saved compared to how many runs an average defense would have saved, as a team is also good enough for 3rd in the N.L. and first in the divison. It’s clear that the Cardinals help an already stout pitching staff shave off runs by playing execellent defense.
Despite the recent hot stretch by the Reds, the Cardinals still appear to be in a good place in the divison. Their 4.41 runs scored per game and 3.41 runs allowed per game is good enough for 1st in the divison and 4th in the league. In fact, no other team in the divison has a positive run differential like the Cardinals. In short, if a team allows more runs than it scores, in the long run they aren’t likely to keep up with a team who does the opposite. This is the uphill scenario that the rest of the divison faces when trying to take down the Cardinals in 2010. Barring injury, continue to look for good things and enjoy the games Cards fans!
Was great to see the Redbirds pull through once again against the Dodgers. After a sub-par performance on Tuesday, the Cardinals played a solid game and came away with a 3-2 victory thanks to a sacrifice fly in the top of the 9th by Matt Holliday. Wainwright pitched a very good game and the Cardinals got Kershaw yanked early. That dude ran up some pitches in the first 4 innings or so. McClellan grabbed the win while Broxton got stuck with the loss. Franklin closed out yet another game and continues to be that reliable closer we have dreamed of over the past few years. Brendan Ryan was the player of the game on offense with 3 hits while Molina chipped in a couple hits. The Cardinals move to 69-53 and stay a solid 6 games over 2nd place Chicago Cubs – who beat the Padres easily tonight. The Cards and Cubs flip flop opponents now as the STL Cardinals will go to San Diego and the Cubs will face the Dodgers. Could be a weekend that puts this race completely out of reach for the lovable losers.
Smoltz is a Cardinal
I absolutely love this move. The Cardinals added veteran pitcher, John Smoltz, to the roster for the league minimum $400,000. Smoltz was released by the Boston Redsox just days earlier. The Cardinals are known for taking veteran pitchers and making them “good” again somehow. Smoltz will most likely finish the year as a 5th starter but will provide the solid 7th and 8th inning relief the Cardinals need as they move into October and the playoff. The best thing about John Smoltz is he is a GAMER! He has pitched in big games and knows what it takes to win. If nothing else, he will be a great influence for some of these youngsters. Good work Cardinals GM!
Pujols and Shaq square off
Anyone going to watch the Pujols vs. Shaq homerun derby on Thursday? This ought to be interesting. Shaq has his new reality show called “Shaq VS” where he goes up against other athletes at their own sport. He has challenged Albert Pujols to a homerun derby and El Hombre accepted. Shaq???? Don’t you know this is MVPujols you are talking about?!?! The MACHINE?!?! Good luck with that. I’ll be tuning in to see how things go. I know many are making the trip to watch the derby so get your “tickets” now.
Very nice win last night for the Redbirds as they defeated the Reds 4-1. This was Kyle Lohse first win since May 23rd so that was refreshing. The Cardinals move to 12 games over .500! Yep, 12 games. A nice little finish here and we will have playoff baseball in St. Louis once again in 2009. Those “not so” pesky Cubs move to 3 games behind the Cardinals as they fell once again to the Rockies. It’s been a very good week to be a Cardinals fan. Only dissappointment in the game was Albert Pujols was again up with the bases loaded – and popped out. What is wrong with him? (tongue in cheek)… He’s now only batting .721 with the bases juiced.
Wellemeyer to DL
Thank God! Todd Wellemeyer was scheduled to get the start today but the Cardinals are going to place him on the DL. He has some inflamation around the right elbow and will take some time on the shelf. This gives the youngster Boggs another shot at starting tonight against the Reds. Sometimes I really wonder if these guys that we all know are sucking, are really hurt… Or if they go on the DL as a crutch because the manager doesn’t want to say – “your demoted”. I know, that sounds like a crazy thought and I’m sure it is. It’s just a funny coincidence that he goes on the DL after people are screaming for his head and want him gone. Either way it is good stuff!
They face Justin Lehr tonight who has only one start on the season. You all remember that game right? Back on the 5th Justin dominated the Cubs in a complete game, 4-0 shutout. This kid must have some nice stuff. I don’t know much about him but we will get a taste of him tonight. Let’s hope he had the first game luck earlier this month and is ready to implode tonight.
2 games into Spring Training and the fans are abuzz about Juan hitting the first pitch he saw from the Mets ace Johan Santana out of the ballpark. if he is effective then this is a tremendous help to what appears to be a problem from the right side of the plate. Lookin’ good so far!
A 3-run blast. Pujols had a couple of hits with a double and a homer. Brendan Ryan tripled for an extra base knock.
Wainwright was ok for his short stint. None of the 5 hits were extra base variety but they were timely enough to get the Mets two runs in his 3 innings of work.
Next game is back at Roger Dean vs the Marlins at 12:05 EST on March 1st.
The Cardinals lost on Sunday to the Diamondbacks by the score of 6-5. Frustrating! The birds got swept in this series losing, 4-2, 9-8, 6-5. A few runs or a few breaks and they are sitting near first place. So what was with that lineup today? Tony deciding to give everyone a day off on the same day? I know, I know – keep the lefties out of the lineup against Davis. Well I’m no genius but you are going to struggle to win games with a starting lineup of:
OUCH! No Ankiel, Edmonds, Duncan, Eckstein, Miles, Molina… Wow! Let’s sit them all on the same day Tony! Sorry to keep going on this topic but it really frustrates me. Ankiel should be an EVERY DAY player just like Pujols.
Well, off to a 1 game series vs. the Cubbies in Wrigley Field. Let’s get a win and move a bit closer.
What else can I say. I was skeptical when he came up from the minors – but how can you refute 32 jacks? Now, after just 23 games in the majors. “The Rick” had 9 bombs and 29 RBI’s with a sick batting average of .358!!! Let’s imagine for a second where the Cardinals would be with this bat in their lineup all year. Wowsers.
So let’s expand this out to a full 162 games. Now we are looking at 65 homeruns and somewhere around 200 RBI’s. I know – unrealistic. Or is it? This guy just keeps on getting it done. And the scariest part is it makes Albert Pujols that much dangerous! Cardinals are down just a game from 1st place after destroying the Pirates today. Let’s go Birds!
Mulder was unimpressive in his debut back with the Cardinals. The birds fell 8-2 at home to the Pirates moving them back to 2 games out of first place. Both the Cubs and the Brewers won their games with ease. On a positive note – Rick Ankiel continues to MASH! He hit another 2 run bomb today. Let’s get back at it and get a victory!
Two games to the West Coast and then back to the Midwest. Doesn’t make sense. Of course, a lot of the scheduling has come into question with the weird weather going on.
Albert Pujols has looked bad tonight and then hit about a 5ooo foot homer. He teed off on MattyMo. The camera showed him in the dugout talking to LaRussa. Makes me wonder if he knew something about Morris tipping his pitches. Rolen is not in the lineup due to food poisoning. Does Scottie have bad luck or something?
Good to see Duncan back in the lineup. This guy must play everyday until he bombs out of it. Molina has an arm but his error cost us a run tonight. I will take an occasional error from that strong arm. Kiesler is staying in the game. He is not flashy but is steady. Would be nice to get Carpenter back. (Did you lke that understatement?)
Night games on the West Coast are going to kill me.
Kiesler was mediocre. Not a blazing fastball. Not a sweeping curve. He is, after all, a AAA pitcher that is filling in until the rotation is back intact. With that said, he perservered. He gave us a chunk of innings. A few bad pitches.
Bats went silent again. They held Albert Pujols in check. A Miles base running blunder didn’t help on a hit and run. A line drive shot by Edmonds was just bad luck.
Rolen has back spasms. We need him in the lineup.Eckstein led off the 9th with a solid hit off their closer Torres followed by a Duncan walk. I don’t care who his daddy is, Chris Duncan has a very good batting eye. Pujols teases us with a long flyball out to the track. Speezer singles in 2 for a tie game. thanks Jason Bay for the throw to 3rd. Then the PRESTONE Double Play. Automatic out.
Hancock and Flores pitch the perfect 9th.
Bennett leads off the 10th with a smack single to left. A nifty double play turned by the Pirates lets the wind out of our sails.
Eckstein error. Ugh. ………Brad Thompson HBP. Ugh……. WOW. Thompson fights out of that inning with a curve in the dirt to fan Jason Bay.
11th- Schumaker solid single up the middle. Eckstein bunts him over. Dunc coaxes another walk (sorry Chris, but you watched strile three and got lucky). AP pops out… OUCH. Strand 2.
Bottom of the 11th finds us back in the mediocre groove again. We have not looked sharp very often this year. I just never have sense we are definately going to win. Pirates get 2 on with one out and then do not score. Preston Wilson almost gave me some severe health issues on that flyball.
Mr. Automatic Out leads off the 12th with a big swinging strikeout. Nice going, Preston. Gary Bennett a 3 hit night. NICE. What is even NICER is Aaron Miles getting 4 hits tonight! Molina gets the Intentional pass for Skip Schumaker.
DOUBLE WOW. Sending Bennett was stupid/gutsy and then Paulino dropped the ball. WOW WOW. Gary Bennett might be the slowest runner in MLB and a shallow fly that Bay may have rather weak throw. Paulino dropped it. Jim Tracy has to be appalled.
WE WIN. IZZY does his job.