I was doing my morning routine of cruising the net and reading bits and tids of baseball articles from here and there and happened to see Bryan Burwell’s column regarding the ‘rivalry’ between the Cubs and Cards this morning. The basis of it discusses the foundation of the rivalry itself and how it’s fueled by habit, not hatred. I see his point but have to disagree. Rivalries are much more than what takes place on the field. Sure, that’s the focus, but the people involved, fans more than players fuel it. The path of I-55 cuts right through a geographical area rich with baseball fans. Just because the Cardinals and their fans have enjoyed the spoils of success doesn’t mean the Cubs and their fans aren’t striving for a piece of that pie. Mom a Cards fan, Dad a Cubs fan, kids split down the middle. This is what makes the rivalry. It doesn’t have to always be a national spectacle between teams fighting for a pennant, conference, division, etc. to have meaning. Families split, towns split, some trash talk here, some there. The Cardinals have what the Cubs want. It’s a rivalry in my book.
So the All-Star break amazingly is just around the corner which also brings the trade deadline and all the fantastic rumors that come with it. A fun drinking game is any time a reporter or article mentions ‘sources close to the team’ in a rumor drink. Actually you might die if you do that so don’t. First out of the gate is the Phillies and the interest of moving Cliff Lee and Jonathan Papelbon. Lee is set to make a guaranteed $50 mil over the next 2 seasons with an option that could vest for a 3rd year at $27.5 mil based on innings pitched. Pappy is guaranteed $26 mil over the next 2 seasons and also has an option that will vest in year 3 if he finishes so many games or something. Short answer, no. There’s no way in any situation these guys are Cardinals. This would completely go against everything the front office has put in place….. just no, it’s not worth typing any more. Now it is entirely possible the Cardinals are in the market for pitching in the form of a bullpen arm or 2 to take some load off Seth Maness, Trevor Rosenthal and Edward Mujica and also a starter to replace Tyler Lyons. With Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez still set to development mode they’ve made the decision to keep Lyons in the rotation for the time being. He’s not an ace and was not called up with the possibility of developing into one. He’s there out of necessity and time will tell what the next step will be.
I left off last week with a short preview of the upcoming 10 games the Cards had on their schedule and the opportunity they had to really put together a strong run. They’re currently 4-3 during the stretch but keep in mind the tough travel and also they’ve faced some talented pitching. Losing a series to the Marlins was unexpected but certainly not the end of the season. Tip a cap to a team that just got their best player back, Giancarlo Stanton, and was ready to battle a road weary team. Not a big deal.
The Cards took game 1 last night against the Cubs in which Shelby Miller left the game after the 5th inning with cramps. A situation that made for some irregular breathing from Cardinals fans may have been a blessing in disguise and a way to get Miller a couple innings off. Tonight Adam Wainwright takes the mound against ex Notre Dame wide receiver Jeff Samardzija. Here’s how they’ve done against him in the recent past: Until next week. Twitter: @DJ_McClure