Set ’em Up and Knock ’em Down

by on August 19, 2011 · 11 comments

Maybe the Cardinals have been going about things all wrong for the past couple of weeks.  The Redbirds did nothing on the field worth noting yesterday, and yet they picked up a half game on the Brewers in the standings.  “Huzzah” for doing nothing, I say.  If only the Cardinals could pick up a few games by doing nothing, this playoff chase might get interesting in a hurry.  As it stands, they might have to do it the hard way, but maybe it’s not all bad news.  It’s worth looking at both team’s schedules the rest of the way and considering each team’s collective records against their remaining opponents.  Why?  Because it’s Friday, and we’ve got nothing better to do, that’s why!  How bad can it be, right?


  • Cubs x6  (7-2)
  • Dodgers x3  (3-1)
  • Pirates x7  (4-5)
  • Brewers x6  (4-8)
  • Reds x3  (5-7)
  • Braves x3  (2-1)
  • Phillies x4  (3-2)
  • Mets x3  (1-2)
  • Astros x3  (8-4)


  • Mets x3  (1-2)
  • Pirates x7  (8-0)
  • Cubs x6  (6-4)
  • Cardinals x6  (8-4)
  • Astros x3  (9-3)
  • Phillies x4  (2-1)
  • Rockies x2  (5-2)
  • Reds x3  (5-8)
  • Marlins x3  (4-0)

Ouch!  Nevermind.  It’s THAT bad on paper.  Thank goodness they don’t actually play the games on paper.  Obviously, the Cardinals need some help along the way, and this weekend they could use some help from the Mets.  The Mets are one of the few teams left on the schedule for the Brewers with a winning record against them, and a series win for the Mets might be just what the Cardinals need to kickstart a quiet run.  Of course, the Cardinals will have to take care of business against the Cubs, and past performance is no guarantee of future success.  Still, it’s slightly more than grasping at straws, and I’m willing to keep hoping until we run out of straws this season.  All the Cardinals need to do is set ’em up and knock ’em down.


  1. It’s somewhat of an odd thing to label Jon Jay a 4th outfielder, because there are a lot of teams that would like to have that luxury.  Most teams don’t have a “4th outfielder” who can play CF and do so at a 2.0 UZR level, hit at the top of the lineup, and bat .292 with a .340 OBP.  Oh, and by the way that guy happens to be 26 and only costs the team $416K this season.  The team’s real 4th outfielder is Skip Schumaker who costs $2.7M this season and doesn’t have the power or value that Jay does. 
  2. While not much has been said about it yet, the team payroll has not-so-slowly grown from around $110M on opening day to around $120M committed now.  That’s a significant increase, and it may indicate that the team’s opening day payroll for 2012 will be large enough to actually accommodate raises to Albert Pujols, Yadier Molina, and Adam Wainwright along with a few upgrades. 
  3. As much as I like Daniel Descalso, I can see him being the odd man out at some point in the future.  He could become the super utility guy in the right environment, but he’s just too good when starting to make that role really work for him.  On the other hand, I don’t know that Matt Adams can’t play SS, so you never know what can happen a few years down the road.  The point here is that most teams have to rely on a Nick Punto-type guy to be their super sub.  If Descalso can be that guy for the Cardinals for several years, it would help the team in terms of both payroll and familiarity. 
  4. IF Albert Pujols does not stay with the Cardinals after this season, I really like the idea of moving Allen Craig to 1B for at least a season and re-allocating the money previously earmarked for Albert to upgrades at places like SS.  A rental at that position would even work as long as we’re talking about a top shelf one.  It’s not often that a team gets the opportunity to go on a real shopping spree with that kind of money (20% of payroll or more), so they might as well go big.  However, it would behoove them to commit it for just a season or so until the Westbrook and Lohse contracts come off the books in exchange for some internal solutions.  Then they could go after some even bigger upgrades about the same time that some of their more prized minor leaguers are ready for primetime.

ONE LAST BIT OF TID:  It’s usually inevitable that when rosters expand some teams benefit more than others.  As good as they’ve been playing, it’s hard to imagine that the Brewers will benefit all that much, but I can imagine there being some impact for the teams involved in the wild card race (Cardinals, Braves, Giants).  When you consider all the times during the past several weeks that the Cardinals have needed an extra position player or a solid pinch hitter and didn’t have one, it seems like they will benefit greatly from an expanded bench.

Follow gr33nazn on Twitter for more bad news about the Brewers dominating the Pirates!

Cardinals fan since I could hold a fishing pole steady. Accidental blogger. Opinionated. I could care less about what you think of me. Constantly confounded, bemused, and confuzzled (ie I'm a pc and a mac). I'm an IT infrastructure analyst with a penchant for breaking tech toys. I ate a sabermetric primer for breakfast. I love playing "All-powerful GM of MLB". The 2010 Cardinals represented a good, practical definition "cognitive dissonance". The 2011 version got by on duct tape and a prayer, and I'm fine with that. They just need new tape for #12 in 12.
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