The Substitute Wants To Chat

OK, folks, we’re going to do something different today.  You know that, while I usually write at this time period, I don’t tend to do so after a day off.  I’ve done the pitching matchups already and there’s not a lot to discuss.

However, the Prospect Preacher won’t be around until much later as State College begins the New York-Penn League Championship against the Tri-City ValleyCats this evening.  Dustin, who has been writing on Tuesdays, is moving temporarily to Fridays to cover Mike Metzger, whose work schedule is a beast right now.  Mike Grabowski also had some life stuff and so will be with us on Thursday this week.

Which means a wide-open day here at The Conclave and we don’t like that.  So let’s try something new.  Think of me as the substitute teacher that perches on the top of the desk, swinging his legs as he just talks with the students.  Whatever you want to talk about is fair game.  Cardinals, general baseball, sci-fi….well, if you get much past that I’m not going to be any help, but I’ll fake it if I have to.

A few data points, just for conversation starters:

–Of the four teams that the Cardinals are dealing with now, two for the best record and two for the divisional title, only Cincinnati stumbled last night.  That means now the Cards are down three to Atlanta and a full game to the Dodgers, a game up on the Pirates and two games up on the Reds.  Here are your pitching matchups for this evening.

Julio Teheran (Atlanta) vs. Tom Koehler (Miami)
Edwin Jackson (Cubs) vs. Tony Cingrani (Cincinnati)
Francisco Liriano (Pittsburgh) vs. Martin Perez (Texas)
Trevor Cahill (Arizona) vs. Edinson Volquez (Dodgers)

–I started Heroes and Goats in my first full season of blogging, with the first ones being Yadier Molina and Ryan Franklin.  (You can probably guess who was who.)  Since that time, there’s been a trend.  Whomever “wins” the Goat of the Year doesn’t play for the Cardinals the next season.

In 2008, it was Troy Glaus, who left as a free agent.  2009, there was a tie between Rick Ankiel and Todd Wellemeyer, who were both granted free agency.  2010, it was Brendan Ryan, who was traded away for various reasons, not the least of which was that he was the worst hitting shortstop ever.  Well, that’s what we thought then, at least.  The next year, it was Ryan Theriot, who wasn’t resigned after the World Series run.

Last year, it was Rafael Furcal.  I thought that the curse was broken when the Cards kept him around this offseason, but of course we know that he had season-ending surgery before he played a regular season game with them.  The curse is technically still going.

All that said, there’s a race for this year’s Goat and, when the “prize” is this strong, it might be something to keep an eye on.  Jon Jay is up by two over Matt Carpenter and Lance Lynn and three over David Freese.  (Some of you might be wondering why Carpenter is so high.  He gets penalized at times by one of my rules, which is if there is no obvious Goat, when there are a lot of hitters that could get it, if the leadoff hitter is one of them, that breaks the tie.  Leadoff hitters set the tone so obviously that they get a little extra burden there.)  All of those players, save Carpenter, would be reasonable to keep the streak going.

–The Cards learned from the Stephen Strasburg stuff last year.  Which is obviously paying dividends.  It also means Michael Wacha can be a force down the stretch.

–What are you watching now?  What are you looking forward to watching in the coming TV season?  I’m not a huge TV watcher, but right now I’m keeping up with Broadchurch, which is quite good, and looking forward to the return of Castle and the beginning of Agents of SHIELD, among others.

All right, your turn.  I’ll monitor this post throughout the day and answer questions posed in the comments.  Ask me something then come back and check out the answer!

  • Anisha Duvall

    How do you think Pittsburgh will respond to the celebration of winning their 82nd game? Will it fuel them to win more, will they relax, or will it cause no change?

    • Cardinal70

      I don’t think it’ll make much of a difference to them. If they weren’t in a pennant race, I could see them tailing off after 82. There’s too much extra incentive going on right now, though, for them to really take their eye off the goal.

      I know they celebrated last night and they should have. Getting 20 years of history off of your back has to feel good. I don’t think it’ll be an incentive to win more because I think they are already wanting to take the division, so it’s probably just a one-off for them.

  • Ben Chambers

    I’m a little biased because I love Matt Carpenter, but I would rather give the goat to someone who has been struggling if there is a tie. Say, alot of hitters had a bad game, including Kosma, I’d give it to him. But that’s me and not you. I do agree that leadoff hitters have a huge role and it can set the stage for the rest of the offense. That’s why Carpenter is leading the league in runs. He sets the table and the 2-4 hitters (Craig especially) eat up all the RBIs.

    I’m excited for How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory to come back. Also, they’re starting a Masterchef Junior with kids this fall. Right now, I’m excited for the Masterchef finale tomorrow night. Right now, the two main shows that my wife and I are watching Merlin on Netflix, and watching The Great Food Truck Race on Food Network.

    • Cardinal70

      My wife watched Merlin, at least up until the last season. Apparently it went off the rails for her then. I’m a fan of BBT as well as Person of Interest and Elementary on CBS as well.

      I can understand where you are coming from, but I try to eliminate as much bias as I can and that’s one way to do it. Expectations play a part as well–I expect Kozma to go 0-4, but if Carpenter goes 0-4, that’s an off game for him and much more likely to be a Goat tag. You’ll notice that Carp is pretty high up on the Hero list as well, so it can go both ways.

      • Ben Chambers

        Merlin is interesting. We’re watching the season 2 finale as I’m typing this.

        I understand where you’re coming from, but it feels like if you do that, you’re punishing him for having a bad day. Every baseball player is going to have a bad day. It’s the ones that are consistently bad who should get the goat personally. It’s a difference of view.

        • Cardinal70

          But that’s the thing, it’s the Hero of the game and Goat of the game. Heck, Albert Pujols got his share of Goats while he was in St. Louis. However, over a long season, the ones that fail the most are going to float to the top. As you can see, so far I’ve never had anyone not deserving of that top spot and I don’t expect that to change this year.

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