C70 At The Bat

Hero: Shelby Miller. Miller seems to be making some adjustments, making his command better. If he gets clicking, he’s going to be an incredible fifth starter.

Goat: Jhonny Peralta. Only starter without a hit, such a difference from the last two nights.

Notes: First off, my note in the last post about John Mozeliak not wanting to do much for this team? Yeah, scratch that. Good to see Oscar Taveras respond with a home run and the team come out firing rather than sulking over losing two friends.

I’ll recap the Brewers series on Monday morning as we get back to the regular routine. I’ll discuss Masterson and Lackey then as well.

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Hero: Peter Bourjos. The only RBI because of his speed and a walk to boot. Tough to find anything good in this one.

Goat: Pick one. I’ll go with Seth Maness, given his four runs in less than an inning, but throw a dart and you’ll find a worthy candidate.

Notes: You really can’t blame John Mozeliak for not going overboard for this team, given their many flaws.

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Hero: Matt Carpenter. A hit, 2 walks. That’s an amazing offensive explosion these days.

Goat: A.J. Pierzynski. 0-4, 2 K.

Notes: Ugh, all the way around. Lance Lynn did OK, but nobody really covered themselves in glory in this one.

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Hero: Adam Wainwright. Seven scoreless with just one run of support. There is a reason he’s the ace.

Goat: Matt Adams. The only starter without a hit.

Notes: Wes wrote about Matt Holliday’s second half surge legend not being as accurate as we thought. Thankfully so far this season, the legend is real. Good game for Matt Carpenter as well, Oscar Taveras got back out there and got a hit, and Trevor Rosenthal locked down the save. All in all, a good game!

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Hero: Matt Adams. Two hits, both for extra bases, and four RBI. Good job, Big Fill In The Blank.

Goat: Oscar Taveras. Glad he got the start, but 0-4 with four left on gets him listed here. Hopefully it won’t be a week before he can redeem himself.

Notes: Wasn’t a dominant Shelby Miller but it was better than we’ve seen in a while. No walks was very nice. Nice debut for AJ Pierzynski, which makes John Mozeliak look good for at least one day.

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Ugly game Friday. Kinda glad I missed watching it.

Hero: Matt Holliday. Tying home run, two hits.

Goat: Joe Kelly. Five runs in less than five innings. Kevin Siegrist lost the game, but Kelly was just lucky that he got off the hook.

Notes: Great PH by Oscar Taveras. And I don’t understand at all cutting George Katteras for AJ Pierznyski. At all.

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I’m doing all the last minute stuff you do before you head out on a vacation, but to save myself from trying to do this later on, let’s wrap up tonight’s drudge of a game.  Hero goes to…wow, I don’t know who.  Lance Lynn did OK, but he allowed a run via a hit from an American League pitcher.  That’s gotta knock you right out of the running there.  I’ll go with Seth Maness.  Sure, he gave up a run on a sacrifice fly, but when you come into a bases-loaded, one-out situation and that’s all you allow, that’s not terrible.

Goat?  Throw a dart, you’ll probably hit a reasonable target.  I’ll say Matt Holliday, because he went 0-4 with three strikeouts.  Kolten Wong went 0-3 with 3 K and an error, but it sounded (wasn’t watching the game at the time) like a bit of a tough play.  Wong also got a sacrifice, so at least he contributed something.

John Mozeliak says Oscar Taveras will probably hit if he plays.  Shelby Miller is returning to the rotation.  David Price leaves St. Louis and seems less likely to return than he did Sunday night.  Of course, there’s going to be so much to talk about while I’m gone!  Thank goodness the other Conclave writers are here to keep you informed!

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When a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals gives up six runs in five innings, it’s a bad night at the office.  When that pitcher is Adam Wainwright, best get out the fainting couches for Cardinal Nation, because that just doesn’t enter into our frame of reference.

Maybe it shouldn’t be quite as surprising as we think it is, however.  Dayn Perry last night on Twitter mentioned that he felt like Wainwright had a better likelihood of, as he put it, a “disaster game” than some of the other top starters.  If we set the idea of “disaster” at five runs or more in five innings or less, Wainwright has had 19 such games in his career counting last night.  His effort against the Rays yesterday was actually his third such game this season.  For reference, here are the “disaster game” totals for a few other top starters:

Clayton Kershaw: 11 (one this year)
Felix Hernandez: 21 (none this year)
David Price: 13 (one this year)
Jon Lester: 23 (two this year)

This is a rough examination of just a few pitchers.  We’re not adjusting for length of career, league they pitch in, anything like that.  With those caveats, it doesn’t look like Wainwright comes out and has a “disaster game” with much more regularity than other top starters.  For some reason it feels like that, though.  Maybe that’s a function of him being the one we watch the most, I don’t know.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not casting aspersions on Wainwright’s pitching or saying we can’t trust him out there.  Far from it!  Everyone has a bad night and last night was one of Waino’s.  The problem is this offense isn’t likely to bail him out, even if he wound up coming short of our disaster criteria.  When we see nights like this out of the ace, it’s doubly painful.

Wainwright gets the Goat, of course, for last night’s outing.  It was an all-around failure, as he walked four, allowed six hits, and made an error.  All that was missing was an ill-advised comment during an in-game interview to cap off the night.

That bailed out Kolten Wong, because he probably would have gotten the tag most nights as he went 0-4 and stranded four men on base.  The only time he actually reached, walking in the first inning, he was caught stealing.  (Apparently, you don’t run on Jose Molina either.)  Being that the Cards didn’t just have a ton of base runners (not counting the two home runs, they had nine men on all night), leaving that many on the pond is a great way to short-circuit what was already a sputtering engine.

Hero goes to Matt Carpenter, who led off the game with a home run to give Wainwright a lead he couldn’t hold.  Carpenter also had a single later in the game, joining Matt Adams as the only multi-hit Cardinals on the evening.  Matt Holliday also went yard for the only other score.

Boxscore722

As always, the boxscore comes to us courtesy of @Cardinal_50.

Of course, yesterday’s pre-game excitement (as it were) was the daily revealing of the lineup, finding out which faction in which positional battle has the upper hand for that day.  Yesterday Allen Craig played while Oscar Taveras sat.  Thankfully, since I’m short on time, Cole has done an excellent job laying out that discussion, including Mike Matheny‘s comments that got Twitter pretty fired up.  Be sure to give that a read.

Michael Wacha and the club think that he’ll be back in September after an MRI Monday showed that his stress reaction had seemingly healed up.  I think this is a situation where you get cautiously optimistic.  Yes, it looks good now, but will it look good after he starts throwing again?  We saw this time and time again with Chris Carpenter–that rest helped things, but once he got back to his regular routine, it blew up on him.  If he can get through his throwing program, early September seems reasonable.

That said, I think John Mozeliak still has to approach the trading deadline like he has no Wacha.  After all, the Cards have to get through the month of August without him and, given Shelby Miller‘s status right now, that could be pretty tough without the addition of a pitcher.  If Mo does grab a pitcher of high quality, adding Wacha into a rotation with Wainwright, Lance Lynn, and new guy would make for a fun September and post season.

Kevin Siegrist likely gets activated today, with Nick Greenwood probably heading to Memphis.  Greenwood did a much better job than I expected when he was called up and stayed around much longer as well.  I doubt that’s the last we’ve seen of him.  If nothing else, he’ll return in September when the rosters expand.  (Of course, it’s possible another move is made for Siegrist’s return, but it’s not as obvious as Greenwood going down.)

Lynn goes today against the Rays, trying to get the Cards back on track after what is now a two-game losing streak.  Lynn missed the Rays earlier in the season and has an extremely limited (and not that pretty) record against these hitters.

Name PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SH SF IBB HBP GDP
James Loney 3 3 2 1 0 0 1 0 1 .667 .667 1.000 1.667 0 0 0 0 0
Erik Bedard 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Yunel Escobar 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Matthew Joyce 1 1 1 0 0 1 2 0 0 1.000 1.000 4.000 5.000 0 0 0 0 0
Evan Longoria 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 1.000 1.000 2.000 3.000 0 0 0 0 0
Jose Molina 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1.000 0 0 0 0 0
Ben Zobrist 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Total 11 10 4 2 0 1 4 1 4 .400 .455 .900 1.355 0 0 0 0 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/23/2014.

Whatever the Cardinal philosophy is toward James Loney, it needs to be adjusted and adjusted quickly. Loney destroys Wainwright and, sure, it’s only three AB here against Lynn, but the same haunting results are shown.

St. Louis has to face Alex Cobb.  The only Cardinals that have ever seen him before are Jhonny Peralta (0-6, 4 K) and Peter Bourjos (0-1, BB, K), since they were in the American League last year.  Cobb is 5-6 with a 4.08 ERA this year, but has had a few good starts in a row.  Last time out, he gave up two runs in 5.2 innings to the Twins.

This is my last full post for a while.  Hope the Cards have an outstanding run while I’m gone!

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Not all series wins are created equal.

If your team drops the first game of a three-game set and wins the last two, you are pretty happy to have come back and taken the series.  If your team splits the first two then wins the rubber match, you might rue a few opportunities, but probably you enjoy the fact that you took the grouping of games.

However, when you win the first two and then drop the last, especially in excruciating fashion, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth.  Once you’ve laid hands on a broom, not being able to use it is a frustrating thing.

That’s where we sit this morning.  Two wins against the Dodgers and then a game that was oh-so-close to the Redbirds doing some cleaning, but instead Los Angeles escapes with their lives (if by lives you mean a continued share of first place in the NL West).  We’ve already looked at Saturday’s game as part of the United Cardinal Bloggers’ Progressive Game Blog, but let’s do our recap of the bookending games.

Friday (3-2 win)

Hero: Matt Holliday.  Holliday got the “second half” kicked off with a bang, going two for four with a home run.  While the “Holliday lights it up in the second half” meme might not be as accurate as we’d like, it was definitely nice to see a little production after the break.

Goat: Matt Carpenter.  0-4 with two strikeouts in the leadoff role is not exactly conducive to a great offensive night by the team.  Perhaps the All-Star Game travel got to Carpenter a little bit.  (I had to go look it up, but I didn’t realize until now that Carpenter didn’t actually get to play in the game in Minnesota.  I’m sure Mike Matheny was holding him back in case of a tie since he could play many positions, but this is the second time in a decade a Cardinal manager hasn’t played a Cardinal player in the All-Star Game.)

Notes: Another good start by Lance Lynn, though he only went six innings (well, two batters into the seventh).  Four walks inflated his pitch count, but he struck out nine and while he’s charged with two runs, one of those was a runner Seth Maness allowed to score.  Given the state of the rotation right now, Lynn is about the only sure thing behind Adam Wainwright and it’s good to see it stay that way…..The ASB didn’t slow down Kolten Wong any, as he got two hits, even if they both stayed in the park.  It would seem any trade that sent Wong away or cut into his playing time would likely not be in the best interest of the club.  Wong seems to be making his way pretty well in the majors right now.  Will pitchers adjust to him?  Probably.  Will he adjust back?  His track record would seem to indicate he would…..Jon Jay with a two-hit game, plus a stolen base.  Whatever small slump he might have been in seems to be over now.

Sunday (4-3 loss)

Hero: Peter Bourjos.  You can put Peter Bourjos and Troy Tulowitzki in the same sentence now and not have it be some fevered trade imagining from a delusional fan.  Bourjos and Tulowitzki are the only players this season to hit a home run off of Clayton Kershaw in their home ballparks.  In fact, Bourjos is in a pretty select company of folks that have taken Kershaw yard this season:

I don’t think you could come up with a more unlikely person to tie up a ballgame against Kershaw.  (OK, Brandon Hicks is a bit unlikely as well, though he does have eight longballs this season.)  When you see things like this–or the fact that Allen Craig tied up the game the first time with an RBI double–you think that the Cards are destined to win this one.  Apparently, not so much.

Goat: Trevor Rosenthal.  I kinda hate to give this to Rosie.  After all, he was so close to getting out of the ninth inning unscathed.  He struck out the side, after all.  The problem is, he started the inning by allowing a double, which puts you behind the eight ball really quickly.  Any kind of base hit is likely to score the tie-breaking run, especially after they pinch-run.

But after striking out two, he goes 0-2 on Hanley Ramirez.  One more pitch and the Cards get a chance to win it in the ninth or at least go into extra innings.  Instead, it gets away and hits him, leading to the RBI single by Adrian Gonzalez that put the brooms away.

I’m not sure what it is about Ramirez’s stance that gets him plunked so often by the Cardinals.  Twice last night, of course, and we all remember the one in the playoffs last year.  He’s been hit nine times since the beginning of 2013 and St. Louis has done it three of them.  While I’m sure all have been painful for Ramirez, last night’s was the most painful of all for Cardinal fans.

Notes: To get three runs off of Kershaw is an achievement in itself, though one that doesn’t show up in the win/loss column.  The Cards didn’t have a ton of opportunities–only nine base runners all night, one of which (Mark Ellis) had a devastating TOOTBLAN in the bottom of the seventh with Carpenter up and two outs…..Carlos Martinez only made it through four and had trouble controlling his stuff, putting nine runners on in that span.  He did strike out five batters and lit up the radar gun at close to 100 at times, but that only gets you so far, especially against a good, veteran team like the Dodgers…..Interesting to see Jason Motte come into the game in the fifth.  Matheny has said Motte has no specific role and he definitely did his job there, but it was a decision that I don’t think anyone would have expected…..Shelby Miller made his reliever debut in this game.  In theory, this is going to be a short assignment and he’ll be back in the rotation when they need a fifth guy.  In fact, my hunch is that they’ll make a deal for a starter and either have Miller as part of that deal or send him to Memphis to try to get right.  Miller had a scoreless sixth but then, after Bourjos had tied it up, immediately put two runners on and had to be bailed out by Randy Choate and Maness, who kept the tie preserved.  I figure I was like most folks, once it was tied up, you didn’t want to see Miller out there because you knew it wasn’t going to end well.

As always, scorecard provided by @Cardinal_50 on Twitter.

As always, scorecard provided by @Cardinal_50 on Twitter.

So St. Louis loses out on the chance to take first place all by their lonesome, staying in a tie with Milwaukee for the NL Central lead.  (Interestingly, all three NL divisions are in the same state–the Dodgers and Giants out West, the Nationals and Braves in the East.)  While today may be an off day, it could still be a day that really impacts this race or at least the rest of the season.  Michael Wacha is supposed to be examined today and while he’s optimistic that he’ll get a good report, it’s the Cardinals and injuries.  None of us are going to actually breathe until the results come back.  There’s no actual timetable, but being that he’s not thrown a pitch in a month, it would seem that he’d need a little rehab time before jumping back into the rotation (so even if Miller does return to the five-man crew, it might not be for long).  If he pitches before August 15, I think we are happy.  Honestly, if he pitches again this season, we’re probably much better off mentally than we have been.

Day off today, one of three in the next week.  Can I say, that’s not optimal for us fans, especially after four days off last week for the All-Star Break?  Sure, the players like it and can use it, but we demand to be catered to!  When they return Tuesday night, Wainwright will make his first start in 10 days (that business in Minnesota, like the one on Cato Neimoidia, doesn’t, doesn’t count).  The last time Waino took on the Rays, he threw seven scoreless innings in their dome last month.

Name PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SH SF IBB HBP GDP
James Loney 29 29 12 3 0 1 2 0 3 .414 .414 .621 1.034 0 0 0 0 2
Yunel Escobar 13 12 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 .167 .231 .167 .397 0 0 0 0 2
Logan Forsythe 9 9 2 1 0 0 2 0 0 .222 .222 .333 .556 0 0 0 0 1
Evan Longoria 6 5 2 0 0 0 1 1 1 .400 .500 .400 .900 0 0 0 0 0
Jose Molina 5 5 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 .400 .400 .600 1.000 0 0 0 0 0
Desmond Jennings 4 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .250 .250 .250 .500 0 0 0 0 1
Matthew Joyce 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000 .333 .000 .333 0 0 1 0 0
Kevin Kiermaier 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .333 .333 .333 .667 0 0 0 0 1
Ben Zobrist 3 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 .333 .333 .667 1.000 0 0 0 0 0
Total 75 72 23 6 0 1 5 3 8 .319 .347 .444 .791 0 0 1 0 7
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/21/2014.

If Wainwright can somehow keep James Loney from being Ted Williams, he might have a pretty nice night.  You don’t see folks with that kinda line against Waino often, especially with that many plate appearances.

Jake Odorizzi will go for the Rays.  Odorizzi shut down the Redbirds when he saw them in June, allowing just one run in 7.1 innings.  The Illinois native will have plenty of friends and family on hand to see if he can do that again this time around.

Name PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SH SF IBB HBP GDP missG
Peter Bourjos 5 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 1 0 0 0 0
Matt Carpenter 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Allen Craig 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Matt Holliday 3 2 1 0 0 1 1 1 0 .500 .667 2.000 2.667 0 0 0 0 0
Jon Jay 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .333 .333 .333 .667 0 0 0 0 0
Jhonny Peralta 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .333 .333 .333 .667 0 0 0 0 0
Oscar Taveras 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Kolten Wong 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
George Kottaras 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Total 27 25 3 0 0 1 1 1 4 .120 .154 .240 .394 1 0 0 0 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/21/2014.

This will be one of the rare early chances for Oscar Taveras to get to face a pitcher he’s already seen in the big leagues, which will be something to watch for, to see if he’s making adjustments.  That is, if Matheny will play him, which is always an iffy proposition.

Programming note: I’ll be back with you Wednesday morning for a full post, but then I’ll be heading out on my yearly trip to the in-laws in Ohio.  I will try to post short hits from the trip, outlining the Heroes and Goats, mainly so I don’t have to try to have an extensive catch-up when I return.  I know the other writers of the Conclave will keep you entertained, however!

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It’s been a while since I did one of these podcasts, but with the second half of the season upon us it seemed a good time to give it another go.  Especially when you can land a guest the caliber of Drew Silva, writer at Rotoworld and Hardball Talk.  Drew’s an overt Cardinals fan, so we talk about that, we talk about blogging, and we talk about the 2014 Cardinals.  It’s a longer one, but it’s worth your time!

Episode 47: You Can Either Profit By This Or Be Destroyed

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For the seventh straight year, the United Cardinal Bloggers are spending a summer afternoon looking at a baseball game through a number of different eyes.  If you’ve been reading along after all the posts are done, you are coming here from Bob’s eighth inning over at On The Outside Corner.  If not, you might be coming from this post at the official site that lists out everyone that was participating.

Usually in these things we have enough participation that I just get the postgame show, but this year I’ve having to work an inning out of the pen as well.  The ninth inning rolled around with the Cardinals holding a 4-2 lead over the Dodgers and Trevor Rosenthal trotting in to lock down his 30th save.

Rosenthal, of course, has been toying with Cardinal fans throughout the season.  He had a strong outing Friday night against the Dodgers, but given the lengthy rest, that was to be expected.  The question was, could he duplicate it here the next afternoon less than 24 hours since he got the third out on Friday?

Rosie also got to throw to a new catcher, as Tony Cruz had taken most of the day off before pinch-hitting in the bottom of the eighth and staying in to don the tools of ignorance.  I don’t believe that Mike Matheny did that for a reason (i.e., making sure Rosenthal was comfortable with a regular catcher back there) but it’s always a possibility.

Rosenthal starts off by throwing three straight fastballs of 96 or more to Adrian Gonzalez, who gets to 0-2 before lifting a fly ball to center field that Peter Bourjos has no problem tracking down.  Getting the first out is huge for Rosenthal–while he could still make things go south quickly, it’s always harder to do so once the first out of the inning has been chalked up.

Scott Van Slyke, who still might think about trimming that beard a little bit unless he was planning to go out and hunt his dinner afterwards (though, to be fair, Jason Motte thought it looked just fine), got ahead 2-1 after Rosenthal had trouble locating the fastball.  He was then able to flare a 98-mph one over the infield and drop it in for a hit.

A lot of folks started shifting in their seats.  Doesn’t matter that Rosenthal has converted a large portion of his saves and once he came in the odds were probably 15:1 at worst that he’d blow the game.  Once the tying run comes to the plate, a little murmuring is going to make it around the park.

That murmuring gained some significant intensity when Andre Ethier, who was pinch-hitting, worked a 3-1 count with Rosenthal not being all that consistent.  He came back to put a strike in there at that point (Tim McCarver couldn’t believe Ethier was taking all the way, and I think he has a point.  Down two, a guy with pop, and an almost-guaranteed strike?  You should at least be planning to swing) before grounding a fastball to Jhonny Peralta, who started the game-ending 6-4-3 double play.

Cards take this one 4-2 and guarantee a series win against a tough team out of the NL West.  Recap in a moment.

St. Louis gets the first two from the Dodgers, beating around Zack Greinke early and doing little to nothing offensively after the first four batters.  Three of the eight hits and all of the runs came before or counting Matt Adams‘s two-run blast in the first.  So while it was good to see that kind of explosion, there’s no doubt the offensive problems haven’t been solved yet.

Then again, it wasn’t really that important given the fact that Joe Kelly, who gets today’s Hero tag, pitched possibly the best game he’s ever pitched.  The pre-game post showed that he’d not had a lot of success against the Dodgers but you’d have never been able to tell it today.  Kelly got ground ball after ground ball and did so with a minimum of control issues, going through seven innings for only the second time in his career and doing it with just under 100 pitches to boot.  His pitching was so good that even his bunt-double-play doesn’t wipe away the Hero tag.

On the flip side, the Goat goes to Sam Freeman.  I don’t know if he was rusty or what, but he seemed to have little control over things while he was in there.  A walk, a double, and a sacrifice fly was the extent of his day, but that did make things a little dicier for Pat Neshek and Rosenthal.

As I put this up, the Reds have already lost for the second straight day and the Brewers are trailing 5-1 in the third against the Nats.  If that holds, the Redbirds will slip back into a first-place tie and be 2.5 ahead of the Reds.  Not a bad way to spend a Saturday, huh?

Thanks for joining the UCB for this Progressive Game Blog.  If you’ve not checked out all the posts, be sure to keep going back until they go up!

EDIT: A new occasional feature I plan on doing on my regular posts is sharing these professional-looking scorecards from one of my Twitter followers.  If you aren’t already, follow @Cardinal_50 and see the scorecards he puts up after every game.  Here’s what today’s looked like!

Scorecard

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Yay, baseball!

This four-day All-Star Break is tough, isn’t it?  Back in the old days, you had Monday for Home Run Derby and Tuesday for the game, so it was really just Wednesday that was the issue, slogging through that with no baseball.  That’s doable–we do off days all through the season (including a ton here in the next few days).  However, when they went ahead and extended the break through Thursday a few years ago, that made it really rough.  Two days with nothing, not even an exhibition, is something baseball fans are not built for.  I understand why they did it, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

As for the All-Star Game, I don’t really want to dwell on it.  I think the whole Adam Wainwright thing was blown way out of proportion because of who it involved (Derek Jeter) and the fact that it was the only game in town.  (Mr. Buffa has done a fine job going into the issue.)  I think that it’s good that it got blown up, because that tended to obscure the fact that Cardinal pitching was really the reason the AL won, since Wainwright and Pat Neshek gave up all the runs and all but one of the hits.  Without the whole “Pipegate” thing, there’d been a lot of folks wanting to rub that into Cardinal fans’ faces.  I also hope that the Cardinals have to pay for that by opening the Series somewhere else, then win it in 5 games on Busch Stadium turf.  It’s been done before.

Let’s move on.  Not a lot of trade talk over the break, but there were the comments from Jeff Passan that the Cards were tied to a big name that he couldn’t report without confirmation.  Most likely, this winds up to be one of those unsolved mysteries as a trade doesn’t get done and we never really know who it was.  If you want to get into the speculation, Viva El Birdos did a fine job here. It’s nice to know John Mozeliak is out there talking, but I don’t expect anything to go down anytime soon.  If Mo makes his move before the 28th, I’d be a bit surprised.

I’d guess more than anything he’s looking for pitching, however.  There’s still no timetable at all on Michael Wacha, which makes me start thinking that it’s getting more and more likely we won’t see him this year.  Even if we do, it would seem early September might be the quickest he’d return, which is an eternity in a race like this.  With Shelby Miller completely out of whack and Carlos Martinez being erratic if exciting, a veteran arm, preferably a top-of-the-rotation type like Cliff Lee, would seem to be the best target.  I think Lee is a great fit for most of the reasons listed here.  He’d also cost less than David Price (I see the Mariners are in on him now, which, wow, him and Felix Hernandez back to back?  Goodness!) and he’s an Arkansas boy, which is always a plus to this Razorback.

It was noted this morning that the Phillies had no interest in dealing Cole Hamels.  Not that the Cards would have necessarily gone after him, but they were one of the few teams to which he couldn’t block a trade.  I’m not really sure how Hamels would have meshed in the clubhouse, something I do think Mozeliak takes into consideration, but adding him into a rotation that is suddenly thin wouldn’t have been a bad thing at all.

Mike Matheny announced his rotation yesterday for this weekend and, surprisingly (at least to me), it didn’t include Wainwright.  The announced reason of giving him some rest and getting him primed up for the second half makes sense and I’m not arguing about it, but I’d have thought that they would want him to go here because that might (and I’ve not plotted it out through the end of the season, so I can’t be sure) give him an extra start during the year.  With a race as tight as we have now, that one extra start could be quite big.

That said, someone–and forgive me, I can’t remember who right now–said in a conversation with me on Twitter (I think it was Ben, maybe Doug) that Matheny would probably want to avoid the hype of pitting Wainwright against Clayton Kershaw on Sunday Night Baseball.  Given what we know of Matheny, I think that makes a ton of sense.  He wouldn’t want to create hype or have his All-Star starter decision rehashed constantly, especially if Kershaw won.  It seems completely in keeping with his low-key approach to everything.  That said, I think baseball fans lose out on this one.  Having that be the national game would be a huge thing for folks to watch.

Anyway, let’s get to it.  Cards are going with Lance Lynn today, and if you aren’t going to start the second half with Waino (and you wouldn’t, since he threw some on Tuesday), Lynn’s your next best choice out of this rotation.  Lynn already has 10 wins under his belt (if you like that kinda thing) and has only had one real hiccup in his last 10 starts.  He’s developing into the guy that can be counted on for a good outing and The Lynning meme seems to have been put to bed for the time being.

Of course, that one hiccup in his last 10?  Yeah, to the Dodgers, when he allowed six runs in two innings.

Name PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SH SF IBB HBP GDP
Andre Ethier 14 11 4 1 0 0 1 3 0 .364 .500 .455 .955 0 0 0 0 0
A.J. Ellis 10 9 3 1 0 0 3 1 4 .333 .400 .444 .844 0 0 0 0 1
Adrian Gonzalez 10 9 3 2 0 0 2 1 1 .333 .400 .556 .956 0 0 0 0 0
Hanley Ramirez 9 7 1 0 0 0 0 2 5 .143 .333 .143 .476 0 0 1 0 0
Carl Crawford 7 7 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 .429 .429 .429 .857 0 0 0 0 0
Dee Gordon 7 7 1 1 0 0 1 0 2 .143 .143 .286 .429 0 0 0 0 0
Matt Kemp 7 7 2 0 0 0 1 0 2 .286 .286 .286 .571 0 0 0 0 1
Yasiel Puig 6 4 3 0 0 0 1 2 0 .750 .833 .750 1.583 0 0 0 0 0
Juan Uribe 5 4 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 .250 .400 .500 .900 0 0 0 0 0
Zack Greinke 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Miguel Rojas 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Total 77 67 21 6 0 0 9 10 16 .313 .403 .403 .806 0 0 1 0 2
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/18/2014.

The numbers aren’t great for Lynn against this squad, though obviously some of that is skewed by the nine hits he allowed last time out.  Hopefully being at home and having some extra rest will let him perform a bit better against a tough Dodger team.

It’s not really a homecoming for him–Dan Haren has been back in St. Louis often since the December 2004 trade that sent him to Oakland for Mark Mulder–but it’s always good to see the former Cardinal prospect.  Good for the fans, that is.  I doubt the hitters have the same mindset.  Haren missed the earlier Cardinal-Dodger matchup, so the last time he faced his original squad was April of last year when he was with the Nationals, allowing three runs in five innings.

Name PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SH SF IBB HBP GDP missG
Jhonny Peralta 29 27 8 0 0 0 2 2 6 .296 .345 .296 .641 0 0 0 0 1
Matt Holliday 26 23 6 1 0 2 3 2 6 .261 .346 .565 .911 0 0 0 1 1
Mark Ellis 12 12 3 0 0 0 1 0 5 .250 .250 .250 .500 0 0 0 0 0
Matt Carpenter 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000 .333 .000 .333 0 0 0 0 0
Allen Craig 3 3 1 1 0 0 2 0 1 .333 .333 .667 1.000 0 0 0 0 0
Jon Jay 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
George Kottaras 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Shelby Miller 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0
Adam Wainwright 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Total 81 73 18 2 0 2 8 5 22 .247 .304 .356 .660 2 0 0 1 2
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/18/2014.

It’s not too surprising that Haren hasn’t faced a lot of these Cardinals much, given the relative inexperience of the club and the infrequency that he runs into them.  It is nice to see that the players that have seen him the most have done fairly well against him, though.

Haren has scuffled in his last two starts, allowing four runs in four innings to the Padres (which is like giving up 10 runs to a normal team) and eight runs in 5.1 innings of pitching in Coors Field.  The extra rest might do him good, but we can hope that trend continues tonight.

Yay, baseball!

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