Happy Fathers’ Day to my readers with youngins at home. In the spirit of the Cardinals’ approach to the situation this weekend, I will also choose to ignore Friday night’s game (the Game Which Shall Not Be Named) and move on with the rest of my business – the Spitballs:
- Please folks, pray for Yadier Molina. While the early reports seem to be positive, that he sustained a nasty case of whiplash, will be monitored and evaluated overnight and the next day or two, the hit he took in the ninth inning on Sunday looked ugly. Can’t believe the kid hung onto that ball. Play looked clean, Eric Bruntlett was very concerned afterward.
- It was a wild frequent-flyer mile sort of week for the Cardinals and their 40-man roster. In case you couldn’t keep up, here’s what happened:
- 6/10/08 Placed RHP Adam Wainwright on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to June 8, with a sprained right middle finger.
- 6/11/08 Recalled OF Chris Duncan from Triple-A Memphis.
- 6/12/08 Placed INF Albert Pujols on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to June 11, with a strained left calf; Activated RHP Joel Pineiro from the 15-day disabled list.
- 6/14/08 Activated RHP Jason Isringhausen from 15-day disabled list; recalled RHP Anthony Reyes from Triple-A Memphis; optioned RHP Mark Worrell and OF Joe Mather to Triple-A Memphis.
I’m disappointed to see Joe Mather go, but if they were figuring on carrying an extra pitcher for a bit, he was the logical one to go, I reckon. We’ll see more of Joey Bombs in the near future. Mark Worrell pretty much punched his ticket in the GWSNBN.
Might we see a Bryan Anderson call-up depending on the Molina news?
- Since we’re bound to see a bit more of it in the upcoming days, isn’t it time we nick-named Jason LaRue’s haircut and facial adornments?
- Since we’re on the subject, how many of the Cards are currently shaved bald? Name all of them, and I’ll send you a Cards fitted Sunday cap as a courtesy parting gift.
- Is it getting to be time for Hal McRae to instill some patience in the young Cardinal hitters? A big pet-peeve of Cardinal fans this season has been the propensity to swing at first pitches, regardless of the scenario. I have witnessed far too many first pitch swings this season after the previous hitter walked on four balls. I would think Tony would have little patience for such impatience, but perhaps it’s another matter of these kids all being fueled up to keep their spot in the lineup from day-to-day.
- One of the biggest offenders of the first pitch swing (at least by my highly unscientific count) is Ryan Ludwick. Yet Luddy is heating it up again, including a 12-for-38 performance with three home runs and ten runs batted in on the latest road trip.
- Speaking of heating up, Troy Glaus now has seven home runs in his last fifteen games. Those who chuckled at the idea he would heat up once the weather got warmer and his allergies died down are now eating crow. This guy could still wind up with 35 HR and 100+ RBI. The Cards will need it.
- Another guy stepping up in the absence of Albert Pujols is Skip Schumaker. Skipper tore the cover off the ball in the Philly series, including a couple of long balls. Is the ball starting to really carry out of Busch III as the temperature climbs, or are these boys getting fired up in the absence of El Hombre?
- Was the GWSNBN evidence enough that Todd Wellemeyer needs to go on the DL? Add on top of that Welley’s comments after the game:
After the first inning, Wellemeyer said he found it impossible to rotate his wrist, leaving him incapable of throwing his slider.
Um, Tony? Are you listening to any of your pitchers? Methinks you would want to get someone like this out of the game, instead of riding him until the third, when it was REALLY CLEAR he didn’t have anything to throw up there anymore.
- Bad news for Chris Carpenter as well. The Cards have a huge extension riding on this guy being able to get back to his Cy Young form, so they will wait him out rather than rush him back. But, continued news like this will not be welcomed by the front office, obviously. Mozeliak and the Cards are wise to proceed as they have been, bringing the young arms along as if some of these injured guys may not pitch this season (not to mention, worst case, ever again for the Cards).
- That being said, there is word floating around that Matt Clement or Mark Mulder could be called upon to take a start this week in Wellemeyer’s spot, should he be unable to go. Clement’s start seemed uninspired, while Mulder (speaking cautiously here) seemed to put things together for a start.
“If I were to need 30 days, things didn’t get better from here,” Mulder said. “I do feel better about it. I’m trying to get myself ready to go back and help this team.”
As a Mulder apologist, I can’t help but hope that this new arm slot (and apparently a re-found 90+ mph velocity) revives his career and can put him into the “useful” category for the Cards again. Kary Booher from the Springfield (MO) News-Leader had a report on both starts.
- Speaking of re-found glory, Anthony Reyes is enjoying another moment-in-the-sun after his scoreless tenth inning and win on Sunday. As professional as this guy has seemingly carried himself through multiple promotions and demotions and trying to contribute to the club in any way he can, here’s hoping he finds that something to get him over the hump (even if it’s only to make him more enticing as trade-bait).
- Where Reyes succeeded, Randy Flores and Russ Springer failed miserably. Again. Flores again walked in a run. Springer walked in a run. How do these guys expect to continue to earn paychecks? Flores seems to have suffered an Izzy-esque breakdown in confidence. Since everyone else has already said it better than I, I leave you with two links: the Daily Farm Report from today at Future Redbirds:
Jaime Garcia got shelled. He allowed 6 ERs in 5 innings on 6 hits and 1 walk (including a HR). The upside. . . he struck out 5 and had a 9:5 GO:AO ratio. Regardless of this bad outing, this may be the simplest upgrade the big league club can make during the year — promote Garcia to the STL bullpen and demote Randy Flores.
And then a post from Viva El Birdos illustrating (with far more backup than just my rambling) about how terrible the Cardinals’ bullpen has been this season and how little they can depend on it at this point:
Did you know – b/c I didn’t – that the Cards’ bullpen’s ERA is 15th in the NL? I had no idea it was that bad. Only the Padres’ is worse. It’s reasonable to assert that bullpen ERA isn’t the best way to evaluate bullpens b/c of the way in which earned runs are doled out. What about WXRL – relievers expected wins added? Last in the NL! Wow! We’re 13th in the NL in inherited runners allowed to score. I had no idea it was that bad.
I’d love to say I knew it was that bad, and just didn’t have the statistical know-how to back it up – but wow. That’s bad. The inherited runner stat is one that particularly stands out to me, especially after today’s game when Mitchell Boggs and Chris Perez got tagged for a bunch of extra runs that the bullpen walked in.
- Speaking of CP63 – was it right for Tony to stretch him out today? Perez threw 42 pitches today. I think his previous high with the big club was 26. He’s good, but as much as he taxes that arm throwing in the mid-90s, I have to wonder if 25-30 pitches is his plateau?
- Has anyone else noticed that the Busch Stadium nameplate behind home plate has changed? They used to have an all limestone-ish look with the raised Busch Stadium letters – today I noticed is was a brick background with the raised letters on it. What gives? Just get rid of it altogether – they know where they are playing, so does everyone watching on TV.
- Finally, the tenth inning of today’s game underscored for me a big reason why the Cardinals have been winning a lot of games this season. One that for the casual fan generally gets overlooked. They play great defense. The Phillies possibly cost themselves this game because of two costly errors on routine plays at first base with the pitcher covering. The Cardinals on the other hand were holding runners to one base when they might have taken two, throwing runners out, and making throws from deep in the hole all day. Despite the home runs, the sacrifice flies, the stolen bases – mark down today’s important comparison stat as:
E: PHI, 3. STL, 0.
Oh, and one more thing. That’s another two out of three for the Cardinals.