Yes, Houston, we copy. We just lost the Wild Card.

by on September 4, 2008 · 6 comments

Well, that’s really where it all began, isn’t it?

I apologize for my longer than anticipated absence, and in some ways, I’m not that sorry.  I barely got to see any Cardinal baseball while I’ve been on ‘hiatus’, and that’s seemingly been a good thing.  I hate to go down the path of pessimist, but it’s high time to face the music.

If only managing three of five from Atlanta and Pittsburgh didn’t do it…

If only managing a split with Milwaukee didn’t do it…

Then a sweep at the hands of the Houston Astros surely did this Cardinal post-season drive in.

As if that weren’t enough, the Cardinals wind up dropping two games to the D’Backs (I hate their jerseys and logos by the way) that they should’ve won.

The bullpen has reared its ugly head again.  Kyle McClellan has continued to impress and confound in equal and opposite amounts as the season drags on.  Rumors still abound that he should arrive at Spring Training 2009 prepared to take on a starting rotation spot.  And what if he fails?  Then will he be shuttled back to the bullpen, completely unprepared for a role that he should remain in?  Sounds eerily familiar for this organization.

Chris Perez suffered his first major failure tonight since taking over the ‘ninth inning pitcher’ role (he’s clearly still not the closer).  How will this leave the youngster’s standing in the mind of manager Tony LaRussa?  Tony’s obviously been prone to leaving guys to work their own issues out on the mound this season, but he’s also shown a real proclivity not to trust young pitchers in virtually any situation.  Will Perez be afforded the opportunity to learn on the job, and have the same ups-and-downs as his predecessors?

Rick Ankiel is still struggling with his oblique injury.  Why the team refuses to shut this guy down, I will never know.  This situation is dragging on eerily similar to Chris Duncan’s sports hernia last year.  We all know how that turned out.  Why not shut Ankiel down now, give him an extra month of off-season, and allow him to return to camp next season fully rested?  It’s not as if he’s playing full-time now, with the injury, so what’s the harm in shutting him down now?

Jaime Garcia’s elbow injury is seemingly going to make way for a more wide-open fifth starter competition next season.  Garcia is likely headed for a TJ, hopefully sooner than later.  His mechanics have kind of forecasted this type of injury to come, and naturally, the Cardinal staff did nothing about it.

Have I covered all of the negative issues this week?  Nope…

Chris Carpenter is returning to the big club as a reliever.  JUST SHUT HIM DOWN.  Do it.  It’s clear by the shoulder strain, by the front office’s “management” of the situation, and by Carp’s own reaction to being sent to the bullpen (he didn’t seem too happy about it) that he is not yet right.  Same deal as with Ankiel in my mind.  If Carp is not ready to be a starter (which the Cardinals are paying him handsomely to do), then he should be in rehab or on the shelf until he is ready to do so.  If that means he’s not back until Opening Day 2009, then so be it.  It is not worth the Cardinals’ entire investment in this guy to see him reinjure an elbow or shoulder throwing as hard as he can out of the ‘pen the rest of this season.

Finally, I don’t think the Brewers/Phillies/Mets can lose enough between now and the end of the season for the Cards to sneak in anymore.  I’d love to be proved wrong.

There.  I’ve said my pieces about the last few days/week.

Congrats to Jason Motte on a successful debut against Arizona.  Here’s hoping that the Motte-Perez combo is one we can enjoy for some time.

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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Cardinal70 September 4, 2008

I’m with you on most of that. I do think getting Carpenter a little work is not a bad thing. It lets him know if he’s going to be OK after pitching, what he needs to work on, and gets him in a good mindset for offseason conditioning. As long as they don’t overuse him (and I don’t think they will), I’d keep him active.

Agreed on Ankiel, though. If Mather hadn’t gone down, maybe they’d have done it. Though they could shut him down and bring up Rasmus…..

PHE September 4, 2008

Carpenter pitching out of the pen is ok – just not the decision I would’ve made. I just want the guy to be 100% healthy come next spring. End of story.

Rasmus is an interesting case too. Is he fully recovered from his knee injury? Would it serve to help or hurt him to try and hit big league pitching? He was certainly doing alright this past spring…

Colby’s dad is another issue, posting on message boards all over the place about Colby being slighted, LaRussa having it in for his kid, etc. Guy, you need to let your kid play ball and have his bat and glove speak for themselves. You’re not endearing yourself, or your son, to the organization.

And Rasmus has always started a next level up slow…why not get a bunch of that out of the way this month?

Sarah-bug September 4, 2008

In a perfect world I don’t think we need Mac in the rotation (although in a perfect world we have Mulder and Carp and Izzy healthy).
If we have Carp, Wainwright, Wellemeyer, and Piñeiro, plus whatever other “veteran” (like Looper or Lohse) we can get, I think Mac would benefit from a little more experience before he’s ready to start.

Why won’t Mozeliak just sign Lohse? I need him to start for us next year! Why can’t I just have this one little thing?

PHE September 4, 2008

That might be a hard sell, Sarah.

I’d expect Boras to want multiple years at probably eight figures per, based on this season.

If they’re going to do that, they might as well go after Sheets or Burnett.

StLCards September 4, 2008

Welcome back PHE!

Sorry I didn’t post more in your absence, but between being busy myself it was also hard to find much to write about, without it all being negative anyway. I actually only saw parts of games but the Cards just don’t seem to have it down the stretch for whatever reason.

Honestly I think the reason is that they are just not as good as some of the teams they are playing. The Cards don’t have the depth of other teams and rotating players in and out and up and down the lineup doesn’t seem to be working this year. Past years we had a ‘core’ of players that all played together and maybe it will just take a few years for everyone to click.

That said, team speed, especially in the form of a true leadoff batter still seems to be a need. Our best leadoff batter for the year, and one of the best in the NL this year has been Shoemaker, and yet, I saw him batting 9th the other day and Izturis leading off. Didn’t get that one, but maybe a lefty was pitching or something.

Still, it has been a nice season and there are a lot of positives to take away from this season. Tony should know much more about the team and hopefully some of the weak areas will be addressed by Mozeliak during the offseason. Besides pitching, I would like to see a ‘regular’ signed at SS that can both hit and play defense, and possibly lead off. I’ve heard that Furcal is a free agent. Probably couldn’t sign him due to cost and injury concerns, but certainly we need someone like that. Really what we need is to find a Hanley Ramirez type. Maybe we should have been sellers at the trade deadline afterall, especially considering that we weren’t buyers.

PHE September 5, 2008

They will certainly have available “spending room” based upon the contracts coming off the books and prior years’ payroll.

What the team elects to do with that is anyone’s guess right now.

I wonder just how much Tony’s contract situation will affect how the team operates in the off-season? Are they going to really press for one or two more solid shots with TLR before totally committing to the kids coming up, or has the time for a self-sufficient organization already arrived?

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