Sunday Spitballs – 08.02.08

by on August 3, 2008 · 4 comments

My apologies for the lack of posts the last few days, a spotty internet outage has kept me barely connected.

  • Dear Russ Springer: Shane Victorino murdered that pitch the first time you threw it. What made you think it was a good idea to throw it again?
  • My man-crush on Ryan Ludwick is growing by the day. But first pitch swinging against a reliever who just came in and gave up a walk on four straight pitches? With the bases loaded? Down two? In the eighth inning? Still have to get rid of that inherent pinch-hitter’s attitude Luddy.
  • As much as I love actually being able to watch the Cardinals on television rather than my subscription, I still can’t stand Jon Miller and Joe Morgan.
  • Lost in tonight’s bullpen collapse was that Todd Wellemeyer pitched a great game. Welley wasn’t necessarily as sharp as he was during his torrid start to the season, but he battled and got outs. Six innings of four-hit baseball is going to be the best the Cardinals can regularly expect from Todd, and they got it. Unfortunately, the bullpen was up to their tricks again.
  • As much as the home run killed the Birds, Victorino is a switch hitter that still rocks the double-ear-flapped batting helmet. You gotta respect that.
  • For once, in as long a time that I can remember, Tony LaRussa managed the bullpen Sunday night exactly as I would have, were I in charge of the batter-to-batter affairs of the Cardinals. Given the result, I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
  • Albert Pujols is having a great season, despite all of the bogus talk about his “numbers being down” and “not seeing pitches to hit”. He needs to stop expanding his strike zone so badly. Before Luddy’s home run tonight, Albert had a 3-0 count, proceeded to swing at a pitch that looked a foot over his head, then popped out. If they’re giving you the walk, just take it. Pujols almost certainly cost the Cardinals another run there.
  • Is anyone else as sick as I am about the Brett Favre saga? After today’s news, it would seem that Brett is a better poker player than the Packers’ management.
  • Jason Isringhausen got his 293rd career save Friday night. If he’s the guy going forward (and it would appear that the Cardinals don’t really have a host of other options), here’s hoping he gets to 300 sooner than later.
  • The Cardinals continue to eerily remind me of the New England Patriots by seemingly disregarding any modicum of full disclosure in terms of injuries. Chris Duncan is not only done for this season, but unless he has a successful surgery for his neck injury, his career might be over. Godspeed Dunc.
  • Here’s hoping the above doesn’t apply to Rick Ankiel, who according to the ESPN guys tonight, is fine other than being able to run. He can throw, he can hit. He just can’t get his motor going without severe pain. That being said, is it really a great idea to keep pinch-hitting him?
  • RIP Skip Caray.
  • I’m an optimist when it comes to the Cardinals, often to a fault. But, I’m getting the feeling it’s time to focus on the Wild Card. The Brewers might be the least of their worries with the Marlins and the Mets in the near-rear view mirror – and the Dodgers having added Manny Ramirez not much further behind.
  • Troy Glaus needs to build on tonight’s game. The temperature is above 85 degrees Troy – keep hitting. The home run off of Lidge tonight was impressive, rattling off of the third deck fascia – but the Cards need more with men on base.
  • Nick Stavinoha swung at three balls when all he needed was a walk. Enjoy the Memphis yo-yo, Nick.
  • Is it bad that I was pretty sure the Cardinals had no chance once Stavinoha and Joe Mather were their shots at it? Mather didn’t see a single strike (well, assuming he had left the bat on his shoulder). I know everyone is enamored with the home runs from Mather, but all I can see every time he comes to the plate are pathetic pop-ups to shallow outfield. He reminds me of Rob Deer, only with less power. Nick, Joe, meet a major league slider.

*Sigh* (I hate ending my posts with that, it’s happened too often lately.)

Writing about the Cardinals and other loosely associated topics since 2008, I've grown tired of the April run-out only to disappoint Cardinal fans everywhere by mid-May. I do not believe in surrendering free outs.
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StLCards August 5, 2008

Ryan Ludwick earned player of the week. Congrats to him! I think swinging at that first pitch and weakly grounding out is a by-product of Tony’s aggressive hitting philosophy, swing at the first good pitch you see because it may be the only one you see. The difference comes in recognizing what a ‘good’ pitch is. A good pitch can mean different things in different at bats too. With bases loaded and a pitcher not throwing strikes it is hard to believe you wouldn’t employ a different strategy. If the batter can get ahead in the count then he has the advantage. With bases loaded and ahead in the count it would seem that advantage would multiply as the pitcher can’t afford to get too far behind with the tying run a walk away. The best batters seem to have a way of making the pitcher throw them ‘their’ pitch. We all see what happens when even a great batter like Pujols expands the zone chasing the pitcher’s pitch instead of waiting. The pitch that Ludwick swung at was a decent pitch, but it was high enough that it wasn’t a high percentage pitch to drive for a base hit. I too would have favored taking the first strike in that situation.

Still hard to second guess the player of the week though 🙂

PHE August 5, 2008

Agreed – and after seeing some replays, it seems the pitch was similar to the two pitched up that he crushed – he just didn’t get this one.

Is it too soon to hop on the Lud-VP bandwagon? 🙂

PHE August 5, 2008

Pujols strikes out against Billingsley after a 3-1 count tonight, leaving a running Schumaker hung out to dry, with the Cards ready to break a big inning coming out of the rain delay tonight.

More expanding the strike zone – just not necessary, Albert!

PHE August 5, 2008

Of course, Albert has to show me up by hitting *that* bomb.

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