[Redbird Reveille] Molina’s wrist, Good Joel, Jess Todd saves

by on April 23, 2009 · 0 comments

What a two game stretch for the Cardinals, eh?

After flipping the switch on the typical bullpen story Tuesday night, the Cards were pretty dominant from wire-to-wire last night.

Joel Pineiro was economical, efficient, and overall outstanding.  He gave the bullpen some rest after lots of work Tuesday night, not to mention being short two arms last night, according to the field management staff (Blaine Boyer and Mitchell Boggs both threw sides yesterday for Dave Duncan).

Any talk of Albert Pujols slumping was grossly overestimated, as he hit the ball hard in all of his at-bats, with two singles and two loud fly outs, one a sacrifice fly.

I continue to be impressed by rookie Colby Rasmus and Khalil Greene.  Both have shown tremendous patience at the plate in these first fifteen games.

Rasmus hasn’t seemed intimidated or overwhelmed at the plate yet, and hopefully it’s just a matter of time before his power starts to come around a bit.  In the meantime, Rasmus is getting on-base at a .386 clip, mostly in the two-hole ahead of Pujols.  That’s plenty to make a Cardinal fan smile about.

Greene hasn’t maintained his lofty spring batting average into the season, but he has been more selective at the plate, so far this season, than anytime in his career.  Greene has eight walks in fifty at-bats, including three in Tuesday night’s game.  It was the first three-walk game of his six-and-change year MLB career.  Two more walks last night and his eight total are already one-third of the walks he took in almost four-hundred at-bats last season.  At his current pace, he would almost triple his walks in the same amount of at-bats this season.  Good for him, and good for the Cardinals’ coaching staff.  Keeping Greene’s head in the game at the plate this season will be a big boon for this team.  Don’t be surprised to see Greene in that two-slot ahead of Pujols some, if he continues to take walks and get on base.  We all know how Tony likes his power in that early spot.

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Don’t know about you, but I breathed a sigh of relief seeing Yadier Molina come back out to catch in the top of the fifth inning last night.  He appeared to tweak something in his wrist (or maybe the pitch hit him, no conclusive evidence on that) while holding up on an inside pitch.  The trainer was out, Jose Oquendo was checking on him, Molina was grimacing – then he struck out.

He proceeded to lace a single into centerfield in his next at-bat, and finished the game behind the plate.

Wouldn’t be surprised to see LaRue get a start today on the short turnaround.

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Good Joel showed up last night.  He needed only 91 pitches to get through his eight-plus innings of work, which is his most economical start of eight or more in his career.  The previous low was 93, with the Cardinals, against these same Mets in September of 2007, perhaps the start that got him his two-year extension.

For those of you scoring at home, that’s two starts for Good Joel now, one for Bad Joel.  Good news is that all three were wins.  The team is scoring six-plus runs per game in Pineiro’s starts this season.

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Jess Todd has seemingly become the de facto closer in Memphis, since Chris Perez was called up to St Louis.  Todd has three saves in three appearances since assuming the role, and he’s apparently setting up himself.

Todd’s three saves have all been multiple inning appearances: two, two, and one and a third, respectively.  He gave up two runs in his first outing of the season, and has not allowed another since – a total of 9.1 innings pitched so far.

The conversion from starter to reliever is going well so far *knock on wood*.  Perhaps the Cardinals knew or saw something in Todd that predicted success?

Either way, if he continues at this rate, expect Todd to show up in St Louis before the end of this season.  Imagine for a minute a guy who can go multiple innings, have success, and just go ahead and finish the game if you need him to.  Like that mental image?  Me too.

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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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