Another week, another frustrating set of performances from the Cards’ bullpen.
- Not that I haven’t appreciated him before, and I haven’t taken notice of his other-worldly performance in his career to-date, but Cardinal fans should really take pause at being so lucky to watch Albert Pujols on an everyday basis. The man is an incredible ballplayer, perhaps the best of a (my) generation. El Hombre has come back from his calf injury with little ill effect, another ferocious home run on Sunday in the books.
- Thank goodness that inter-league play is over for another year. I’m sick of the Royals. That club is seemingly (hopefully, for their long-suffering fans) on the upswing. Here’s hoping the latest management team over there doesn’t screw up this go-round like they did with Carlos Beltran, Johnny Damon, et al.
- The bullpen was excellent on Saturday, and unspectacular, but effective nonetheless today. Russ Springer is pretty lights out right now, and should be Tony’s go-to guy so long as his arm will allow.
- His struggles with command and inexperience aside, I think we’ll see Chris Perez stick with the club for the remainder of the season, barring a complete collapse in some facet of his game. I think he clearly has the ‘future closer’ stamp on him for this organization, and they need to expose him as much as possible to big-league hitters prior to assuming that role.
- Rumor has it that first round draft pick Brett Wallace has signed with the Cardinals and his signing will be announced on Monday. I would expect (hope?) that they will put on a similar show at Busch as they did with second-round pick Lance Lynn. Perhaps suit Wallace up and let him take BP swings alongside Pujols?
- I expressed some concern about placing the Cardinals’ catching duties in the hands of Jason LaRue a couple of weeks ago when Yadier Molina went down with a mild concussion. Luckily two things have happened since then. Molina has made a speedy recovery and remained with the team with no disabled list time spent. LaRue, meantime, has stepped up admirably. LaRue has hit .296/.321/.444 since June 15th, the day of Molina’s injury. That doesn’t even include today’s two-for-four with a home run and four runs batted in. Kudos Mr. LaRue.
- Who’d have dreamed that after the early-week meltdowns against Detroit and the general struggles the Cards have seemingly faced lately, that they’d end today only 2.5 games behind the Cubs in the NL Central Division? Makes those two giveaway losses against the Tigers loom that much larger right now, doesn’t it?
- Mark Mulder was activated and sent to the Cardinals’ bullpen this week, as Mike Parisi found himself another ticket to Memphis. Mulder has yet to appear in a game with the big club. I’m curious if this is an opportunity to have Mulder work directly with Dave Duncan for a while rather than intermittent contact and working with the minor league coaches. I also wonder if it matters. If Mulder could somehow make a contribution to this bullpen from the left-handed side of the rubber, he could yet wind up a hero this season.
- Mitchell Boggs made a real solid start on Saturday to run his record to 3-0 with the Cardinals. This time he didn’t need the run support shown him in his previous starts. Could he be settling in as a bona-fide big league starter? Obviously he’s not a world-beater, but he’s already given this team more than they likely expected out of him.
- Randy Flores found himself on the disabled list this week with, as I recall, “ankle inflammation.” I know I’ve said this before, and I’ll repeat it again – since when did Bill Belichick take over the Cardinals’ roster moves and sports information department? This team has had more struggling players come up with “injuries” than I can remember ever occurring with any professional sports team. Is this a widely used tactic that I’m not aware of, or should the Cardinals be afraid of some changing rules and/or review of their roster moves sometime soon?
- The Flores move unfortunately didn’t stem the tide in the pen. Jason Isringhausen almost found himself on vacation again with a tweaked knee, only to remain on the club and pitch an inning and two-thirds today. Despite missing on the Izzy situation, I think View from the Cheap Seats still has it right when they say it’s clear the organization needs to look for outside help to right the bullpen ship.
The Cubs aren’t invincible folks. Tony is running some half-decent lineups out there now (but, seriously, can we stop the Aaron Miles at third base charade?) and the starting rotation is still holding afloat.
Should be an interesting second half to the season!