Good evening folks,
As Cardinal Nation currently experiences a rain delay, allow me to ramble on about this team while the tarp settles onto the playing field at Busch and the thunder surrounds the city. When the rain stops play, The Buffa Household starts to truly spin. Laundry is switched over, dishes are engaged in a staring contest and coffee cups are refilled. That’s where procrastination and Cardinal analysis collide and push the other more important tasks to the side. When the wife comes home and asks what happened, I inform her that I have readers to please and deadlines to meet(neither of which are really true but seem to throw her off). As the rain falls here in The Lou, let’s break down this maddening and inconsistent team.
Side Note-My son is watching Transformers: Prime, which is awesome for this guy because it gives Chuggington and Thomas the Train a break. Kids will be kids and that means lots of repetitive shows about a mouse, trains, animals and such. So it was fantastic when I turned on this cartoon and the kid had a wide grin on his face and actually made it through a few episodes. I grew up on Transformers and now he is watching them before he hits 3 years old. There’s nothing like a group of admirably speaking robots fighting a group of nasty speaking robots over the fate of our world and a few galaxies. Anyway…
The Cardinals have lost two straight and have looked rather dry and quiet in each loss. Let’s do a quick review.
Wednesday-The Colon Shutdown happens again. Bartolo did it again. If you challenged this man to a 40 yard dash, you would win every time. If you give him a baseball and a Cardinals lineup, he will most likely take the cake. Colon didn’t throw a lot of pitches, kept the Cards off balance and generally make the team look ugly after the Cards had fired off 5 wins in a row. Colon added insult to injury by cracking the 11th hit of his career, a rally starting double. Lance Lynn pitched decently but couldn’t match the Colon dominance and a sweep was avoided by the Mets.
Thursday-Phillies’ pitcher David Buchanan couldn’t pitch for his life against the Mets, Nats and Reds but beat the Cubs on Saturday and came into Busch Stadium last night and shut us down for 7.2 innings, throwing 105 pitches and only allowing a run on 4 hits. It was as snooze inducing and lazy as it sounds for the Cardinal offense to go missing two nights in a row. The Cardinals constantly find ways to beat Cy Young award winning and owner of the latest no hitter Clayton Kershaw and give Steven Strasburg a hard time, but Buchanan and Colon(both owners of bad 2014 records) befuddle their bats. Shelby Miller produced another hiccup performance and nearly tore his leg in half making a defensive stop at first base. There aren’t many people who know what runs through the head of Miller from start to start, but after two impressive outings he ran into a hot hitting Phillies lineup and bent without breaking. The Phillies won 4-1 and Busch Stadium was simply quiet.
This is why winning streaks are deceiving. A team can be doing so well, pulling out the right moves in each area and playing winning baseball before a pair of losses brings back all the pain. The band aide got ripped off and is hanging around the wound. Missing bats, over-extended pitching and a team that once again has no answer.
Are we really freaked out about Miller being inconsistent? No. He is a young starting pitcher and 1st round draft pick. There are huge plans for the kid and he is only in his second full season of starting. He was excellent in Toronto and at home against Washington, but couldn’t locate his fastball and tasted defeat Thursday. When Miller can’t locate his fastball, his curve has to be superb and it wasn’t. End game is a bad start and a reckless slide into first that miraculously ended without an injury. Miller will be fine. He is young, holds a part of the rotation for the foreseeable future and will make a lot more great starts. It’s amazing how fast a pitcher can go from “Fully Realized Talent” to “Bruised Trade Bait” in a town that have the best fans in the game.
The tarp is being pulled off the field so let’s start rolling through some quick bits before the players get on the field.
*Jaime Garcia has been very good. This isn’t a surprise folks. Sure, he woke up each day of his start on the right side of the bed, received perfectly cooked eggs, didn’t get cut off on his drive to the park and the mix of music made for him hit all the right notes. I kid. Garcia has always carried a great arm and ability to compile great starts. It’s his brittle body that keeps fans on their toes. Think of him as that great mountain that looks great in the sunlight yet slowly cracks and falls apart at night. How long can Garcia stay healthy?
*Matt Adams should start against lefties. Why? Who else do you have that can hit lefties? Peter Bourjos can’t, so there is no need to swing Craig to first, Jay to right and Bourjos to center. Shane Robinson could come up from Memphis but he can’t hit lefties. Yadi could play first but Cruz can’t hit lefties. You can find all these averages on ESPN, Baseball Reference or Fangraphs. Unless the Cards want to engage Oscar Taveras again, put Adams in and see how the big guy does. If Mike Matheny and John Mozeliak don’t want to try this, then start looking at the trade market because you need somebody who can destroy lefties for power.
*FSN is showing Game 6 highlights. Similar to a classic film, that game will never get old. I am currently watching that, listening to David Freese recount his life changing moment and firing away on the keyboard here.
*Chris Carpenter wants to stay retired, right? Just checking. The man could put on a uniform tomorrow and fire this team up immediately. He could pitch an inning a week and get 3 outs on pure grit. I just keep thinking about what could energize this team and Carp always comes to mind. It’s too bad he wanted to learn more about the office politics…
*Bernie Miklasz pointed out something pretty depressing today in his bits column. Billy Hamilton and Dee Gordon have a higher slugging percentage than Matt Holliday(.383). Ouch.
*I have always said if Hamilton could learn how to hit, he would be a lethal weapon. Speed, decent bat and good CF defense. Lethal. I think Walt finds a way to trade Brandon Phillips sometime next month and make a big blockbuster deal. I fear the Pirates head to head ability and the Brewers staying power but the Reds won’t just die.
Rambling ability starting to seriously decrease….
*One day, I say Adams and Craig aren’t going anywhere. Then, the team goes missing for two games and suddenly a trade possibility isn’t a far fetched possibility. So it is in the latter stages of June in a baseball season. I believe in Mo and trust when he says that if the veteran pieces and current makeup of this team isn’t producing at a consistent rate into the middle part of July, he will make a move. I trust him to do that.
*How about Jhonny Peralta’s defense? It’s not exactly Pete Kozma like but it’s pretty good nonetheless. He is saving the team runs out there and hitting home runs. His batting average may be lower than we like but he is producing power and solid defense. If he finishes the year with 20 HR, 75-80 RBI and keeps up the decent defense, that 13 million looks fine to me. You paid for improvement and Peralta is giving you that.
Alright, Jaime has taken the mound, struck out a batter and the rain is gone. That means my rambling mind and furious typing will be parked. Thanks for reading.
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