Home C70 At The BatThe Substitute Wants To Chat

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!