How about a win??

I’ve had a few technical issues lately, but for now I am back up and running.  I’ve heard a rumor that my comments aren’t working, so if you could be so kind as to leave me one, no matter how short, even if it is to tell me that I have the worst blog you have ever read, then I would greatly appreciate it.  But, on to more interesting things!

For starters, how about a win tonight?  We have our ace on the mound.  Hopefully the King can come through on offense, with a little help from the rest of the deck.  We’ve been playing spades with a hand full of clubs lately, but I have faith that this team is not as bad as the past week has made us feel.  We know Carp will be ok.  Reyes seems to be competent so far (3 runs over 13 innings of work, but only 1 run in support?  To paraphrase Mike Shannon, "Come on birds!  We need some tallies!").  Rolen is rollin’ and King Albert is back (a little too early, I think, but back none-the-less). These are good things.

But this past week has exposed that we still have a lot of questions to answer before we can return to our blissful ride to the playoffs, such as:

  • Where is the rest of the offense now that King Albert is back?  Where have the 6 and 5 runs we scored in the ChiSox blowouts gone?
  • Will Mulder be healthy enough for the 2nd half?  If he is healthy, will he be an asset or a liability?  What the he77 happened there anyway?
  • What are we looking to get before the trade deadline?  A power bat or a power arm?  We need both, but we can’t afford both.
  • What exploded in the bullpen? (or has it been broken all along???)
  • Who will round out the rotation?  Will Reyes get kicked back to Memphis (let’s hope not)?  Are Suppan, Marquis, and Ponson really who we want pitching in the playoffs? 

As I write this, we are up 2-1 in the top of the 6th.  Edmonds made a baserunning gaffe and Carpy has not been the sharpest, but right now we are leading and that is what is important.  A win is a win no matter how ugly and I’ll take a hard-fought victory anyday.

Update: Rolen just jacked one out… 3-1 Redbirds!

Update 2 (21:37) – 4 relievers, including Izzy, blow the 3-1 lead and we are now losing 4-3.  Excuse me while my aneurisym blows.

So far my Card analogy is as follows:
Joker – Reyes (Could turn the game in your favor, but will you get it in time?)
A – Carpenter
K – Pujols
Q – Edmonds? (as in Drama?  Cold, I know. Undeserved? Maybe…)
J – Rolen (Not the most powerful, but can win it in a pinch)

Wainwright lives up to his name

Right when the Cardinals’ wagon wheels seemed to be falling off (2 bases-loaded situations with no outs that resulted in only a single run scored, coupled with mediocre pitching from Thompson and Johnson, resulting in a 4-2 deficit in the 4th), the Wainwright stepped in, completely stopped the defensive bleeding, and started the offensive fireworks with his first career homerun on the first pitch of his first career at-bat.  You can’t write it any sweeter than that, folks.  I started this game excited, I almost turned it off in the 4th, and by the end was jumping for joy.  What a game!!  Best of all, we won yet another series and have amassed 31 wins in 47 games.  That means we are almost 1/3 of the way to 100 in just over 1/4 of the season.  If STL can keep it up, and I think they can, our Cards will show all of the naysayers just what they think of their lack of faith (see Party like it’s 1982).

On the Cubs front, they got swept by the used-to-be-worst-in-the-NL Marlins, Wood may (will) miss his next start, and Baker in all likelihood will have his head on the chopping block if they don’t pull out of this funk soon.  They are hoping that D. Lee and Prior will save them come June and are playing off of the Astros’ miraculous comback last year.  It’s not impossible, but I don’t coun’t on miracles, especially not two years in a row.  I’m not going to place any bets on them returning to contention, but if at any point they fall into last place behind the hapless pirates (4 games apart as I write this), I will confidently say that the Chubs should be looking forward to next season.

The Reds are currently losing 3-0 to the Brew Crew (3rd inning) and I’m looking forward to continuing a great day in Cardinals baseball.

———————————————————————–
I am currently at: Work
I am feeling: Happy
I am currently listening to: Don’t Tread on Me, Metallica

Cards 100-win countdown:
69

Next game:
Suppan vs Hensley (Padres) at PetCo Park, 21:05 CST

Last game:
W vs Giants at AT&T Park (series clincher)

Not Dead Yet

Well, I’ve been gone, but this blog is not dead yet.  My Cardinals have been doing great recently, the Reds have slowed down, and the Cubs have been stinking up the place.  I’m a happy man right now.

We won the series against the Mets today, and that my friends, is a good sign.  IMO, the Mets are the team to beat in the National League.  So are the Cardinals, the Braves, the Astros.  I haven’t taken the Reds too seriously yet and hopefully the last week is a trend that will continue.  That will bring sanity and order back to the universe.

The Cubs have been so pathetic lately that even I almost feel bad for them.  I can’t even pick a fight with Cubs fans here lately.  They avoid talking about baseball and ignore me if I bring it up.  Several of them aren’t even paying attention anymore.  I can’t imagine the Cardinals doing poorly enough to discourage me from watching, but apparently some Cubs fans have reached that point.  It’s hard to deny a feeling of pity for them.

I know that losing Lee was a horrific blow to that team (I would break down and cry if Pujols was out for 6+ weeks), but that doesn’t change the fact that the Cubs have been skunked consitently of late in all aspects of the game.  And I think the Cubs are in for a rude awakening now that Wood is back.  All year they have been resting their hopes on him (and Prior) to return like the messiah and deliver them to the playoffs.  Prior may likely have a legitimate effect, but Cubbies’ fans are kidding themselves if they expect Wood to factor-in long-term.  He may have some great games, but I will boldly predict this: his time will be short.  And with his sub-par performance today (3HRs for 4ERs over 5 innings, although he did get 6 SO), his win total before another arm explosion has been reduced by one.  I’m not trying to be mean-spirited or beat a dead horse, but his history can’t be denied.  Even with Marquis’ inconsistency and the years he takes off my life because of it, I still think he’s more valuable than Wood over the course of a season (I’ll try to find some numbers).  One that note, Marquis did look pretty decent today and fought off a bad outing last week.  Here’s to hoping he can keep it going.

I’m happy to see Reyes making the start on Sat.  We need to figure out what this guy’s value really is, rather than let him rot in AAA.

This weekend’s series against the Royals should be fun.  Seeing Reggie and Grudz will be a treat.  I tried and tried to talk my fiance into going to Kauffman to see it but she could not be talked into leaving her dogs.  Sigh…

———————————————————————–
I am currently at: Work

I am currently listening to:
California Love, Dr. Dre

Cards 100-win countdown:
74

Next game:
Carpenter vs Redman (Royals) at Kauffman Stadium, 7:10 PM

Last game:
W vs Mets at Busch (series clincher)

Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirates Sweep For Me! (87, 86)

I might just start calling Albert Pujols Molly Maid.  He’s cleaning up in every way, home runs, RBIs, game winning hits, walks, defense, and pushed STL to the sweep today.  If voting happened today, I’d say Albert Pujols would be a lock for an MVP repeat.

This series featured solid starting pitching from Carp, Suppan, and Mulder, each posting a quality start.  Carp turned in his arguably worst start this season, but still gave up only 2 ER over 6 innings.  Suppan pitched nothing but shutout innings excluding a 3-run (all unearned) third.  Mulder gave up his token (of late) single HR mistake and 5 BB, but churned out ground ball after ground ball and induced 4 double plays. He went 7 2/3 innings and gave up only Wilson’s 2R HR.  The bullpen was flawless until Izzy’s BS in the top of the 9th today. The Cardinals are 2nd in the bigs in team ERA.

Some standouts on offense would have to be Pujols (of course), Carn, Luna, DX, and Taguchi.  Pujols did what Pujols does, nuff said.  Carn had a good series because he busted out in game 2, contributing an amazing catch, a big knock (his first in a Cards uniform), a nice triple (his first in a Cards uniform), a double, 4 RBIs, and missed the cycle by a single.  However, I think it was a bit hasty for TLR to push him into the #4 today and expect him to protect Pujols (Luna would have been a better bet IMO, put Miles at #2). Luna continued his hot hitting this series with 7 hits, 2 runs scored, and 2 RBIs. DX was effective getting on base with 5 hits, 1 BB, and 3 runs scored; he threw in a RBI for good measure.  Taguchi improved his season avg to .259, contributing 5 hits and 2 RBIs. Molina and Miles came through with some clutch hits and RBIs, but were relatively quiet otherwise this series.

Series Stats:

Player AB H R RBI BB AVG
Luna 13 7 2 2 0 .538
Pujols 10 5 4 3 3 .500
Taguchi 11 5 1 2 1 .455
Eckstein 12 5 3 1 1 .417
Carn 11 4 3 5 0 .367


Season Stats:

Player AB H HR RBI OBP AVG
Luna 37 16 1 6 .447 .432
Pujols 70 25 12 29 .500 .357
Eckstein 85 28 1 6 .396 .329
Taguchi 54 14 0 3 .310 .259
Carn 76 17 1 6 .250 .224

The Cards are tied for second in the major leagues with 27 double plays so far this April.  This leaves them 6 short of the 33 DP/month, franchise-record-setting pace of last year, with 4 games left to play and 5 off days this month.  Further, with Miles and Luna hitting .304 and .432 , respectively, and 24 DPs between them, so far it seems we are sitting just fine at 2B.

The 2 hole (89, 88)

I don’t know what TLR is thinking regarding the #2 spot this year.  He started out with Juan and stuck with him a little too long.  Then he played with Taguchi, who did better, but still not particularly well.  Then he has been playing with Luna and Rodriguez with some success.  But then, against Maddux, he returned to the still slumping Juan, because he had a .500+ avg against him.  I really questioned this while Juan is in a slump, no matter what his history is against a certain pitcher.  Juan continued to struggle at the top of the order and probably cost us some opporunities.  Then, in the next game, TLR chose Edmonds in the 2 spot.  While Edmonds is not a terrible choice, he still strikes out WAY too much for this spot and started off the game by GIDP.  Let’s hope TLR returns to Luna or Rodriguez who are hitting for better avg, better obp, strike out less, and generally can get a solid hit that will advance runners.  Save Eddy for #5 and Juan for #6.  If they start to come around, you can always try them again later.

Player G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB CS OBP SLG AVG
Juan 19 69 9 14 1 0 0 1 15 1 14 1 1 .235 .215 .203
Luna 10 24 3 9 2 0 1 4 14 1 3 1 0 .400 .583 .375
J-Rod 11 19 4 7 1 1 0 3 10 3 3 0 0 .435 .526 .368
J Eds 15 54 9 10 4 0 3 12 23 7 19 2 0 .274 .426 .185

Sweet Revenge, part 1 (90)

Here is the transcript from the live blogging.  Specail thanks to Rachel for her comments!

*** TOPIC CHANGE ***: Cards v. Cubs Game 1: Williams vs. Mulder
Rabid STL Fan: Here we go!!
Rabid STL Fan: Lineups:
Rabid STL Fan: Cubs:
Rabid STL Fan: 1. Pierre, CF
Rabid STL Fan: 2. Hariston, 2B
Rabid STL Fan: 3. Walker, 1B
Rabid STL Fan: 4. Ramirez, 3B
Rabid STL Fan: 5. Barrett, C
Rabid STL Fan: 6. Jones, RF
Rabid STL Fan: 7. Murton, LF
Rabid STL Fan: 8. Cedeno, SS
Rabid STL Fan: 9. Williams, P
Rabid STL Fan: Cards:
Rabid STL Fan: 1. Eckstein, SS
Rabid STL Fan: 2. Rodriguez, LF
Rabid STL Fan: 3. Pujols, 1B
Rabid STL Fan: 4. Rolen, 3B
Rabid STL Fan: 5. Edmonds, CF
Rabid STL Fan: 6. Encarnacion, RF
Rabid STL Fan: 7. Molina, C
Rabid STL Fan: 8. Miles, 2B
Rabid STL Fan: 9. Mulder, P
Rabid STL Fan: IMO, this lineup is finally the way it should be.  Rod #2, Rolen after Pujols and Edmonds after Rolen
Rabid STL Fan: Encarnacion #6
Rabid STL Fan: 7:15 – 1, 2, 3 for Mulder in 6 pitches, all strikes.  Can’t start any better than that!!
Rabid STL Fan: 7:20 – All right Roddy!  Nice hit.
Rabid STL Fan: 5 seconds later – Albert hits a no-doubter out of the park!! 2 -0 Cards!  Wow.  Thank you Albert and thank you Johnny Rocket!
Rabid STL Fan: I love how Mike Shannon called it 2 – 0 Cards the second Albert hit that ball.  Not a bad way to get your 1,000 hit!
Rabid STL Fan: Glad to hear Jimmy is showing up early to work on his hitting.  I don’t mind a slump as long as you put in the time to fix it!
Rabid STL Fan: 7:30 – Man, Barrett loves Cardinals’ pitching. 1-out double.
Rachel: 7:31-We’ll the guys on the TV say LaRussa thinks Encarnacion is "squeezing the bat too hard" because he is trying so hard!  Fair enough.
Rachel: Well**
Rabid STL Fan: 7:35 – Joke Jones finally stirkes out after forcing Mulder to throw 9 pitches.
Rabid STL Fan: That’s good to hear.
Rabid STL Fan: You can’t boo a guy who has TLR and Phat Albert convinced their working
Rabid STL Fan: ** they’re
Rabid STL Fan: 7:35 – Allright Juan! Keep it up!
Rabid STL Fan: 7:36 – Calm down, don’t get picked off.
Rabid STL Fan: 7:40 – Wow. Great at-bat for Yadi (Clutch).
Rabid STL Fan: I think he took 11 pitches.
Rabid STL Fan: 7:43 – Now a walk with Mulder coming up.  Can he have another great day at the plate?!
Rabid STL Fan: How about the first career grand slam for Mulder?
Rabid STL Fan: Or just a hit, I’ll be happy with that
Rabid STL Fan: 7:45 – I’ll take the walk.  Good eye Mulder. : )
Rabid STL Fan: 3 – 0 Cards
Rabid STL Fan: 7:46 – 4 – 0 Cards! DX with an RBI single, bases loaded, no outs.  J-Rod strides to the plate…
Rabid STL Fan: 7:49 – 5-0 Cards.  Sacrifice fly is fine with me!
Rabid STL Fan: 7:52 – 7-0! Wow!! Albert’s double scores two more.  And that’s it for Williams.  Sweet Revenge!!
Rabid STL Fan: 7:58 – Well, not much more I can say about that inning.  Can’t expect any better than that.  Let’s keep it rolling!
Rabid STL Fan: I think Mulder can relax a bit…
Rabid STL Fan: 8:0 – but he doesn’t… another 1, 2, 3 inning for Mulder.  Only 33 pitches, 27 for strikes.  I’m liking this game so far.
Rabid STL Fan: that was 8:04
Rabid STL Fan: 8:06 – Alright Juan! 2-for-2!!
Rabid STL Fan: 8:10 – Good at-bat for Mulder.  But, back to the mound he goes.
Rabid STL Fan: 8:18 – Man, we might have to start walking this Barrett guy.  What is the deal?  7-3 on Barrett 3-run shot.
Rabid STL Fan: Don’t lose it now Mulder.
Rabid STL Fan: 8:23 – Good work Mulder and Rolen.  Let’s get some more runs now; even a 4-run lead isn’t very comfortable against the Cubs.
Rabid STL Fan: 8:29 – Quick 1, 2, 3 inning for the top of the Cards’ lineup.
Rabid STL Fan: 8:31 – K for pinch-hitter Zambrano.  Who does he think he is, Jason Marquis?
Rabid STL Fan: 8:33 – The Cards answer by quickly retiring the Cubs in order.
Rabid STL Fan: 8:40 – YEAH JIMMY!  9-3 On Edmonds’ 2-run HR!!  There’s my good measure Edmonds HR for "Party like it’s 1982."
Rabid STL Fan: 8:44 – I’ll say that Ronny Cedeno is definitely a quality defender.  If he can get that arm under control, he’s going to be a great player.
Rachel: I would love to see an easy inning here…no more drama…I don’t care how big the lead is.
Rabid STL Fan: Hey Rachel.  I’ll second that.
Rabid STL Fan: How about a DP?
Rabid STL Fan: 8:50 – with Barrett, I’ll take that out.
Rachel: Would’ve been nice…at least Mulder got a grounder.  That’s always a positive for him.  (Obvious statement I know.)
Rabid STL Fan: Eh, that’s all I’ve done all night – state the obvious : )
Rabid STL Fan: 8:52 – All right.  3Ks for Jones.
Rachel: 8:52-Well someone has to.  (dang…forgot the time before)
Rabid STL Fan: Think they’ll leave Mulder in?
Rabid STL Fan: It’s ok.  I’m just putting in the time when something happens in the game
Rabid STL Fan: I’m definitely liking this series better than the last one so far
Rachel: I don’t see any reason to lift him.  I say they’ll wait until his spot in the line-up comes around.
Rachel: A much better start…to be sure!
Rabid STL Fan: He’s at 81 pitches.  He’s got a couple left in him.
Rabid STL Fan: 8:57 – 2 on with Alb coming up.  Gotta like the sound of that
Rachel: For sure.  (I just looked it up to be sure…this is Jones’ second 3K game against the Cards this year.
Rachel: I can’t remember who was pitching the last time it happened.  I’ll have to dig further
Rabid STL Fan: Awesome.  I can handle that!
Rachel: Carpenter was the starter.
Rabid STL Fan: We should have guessed.
Rabid STL Fan: Another quality start for Mulder so far.
Rachel: 9:00-Well that inning didn’t turn out as planned, but Albert and Co. can’t come through EVERY time…apparently.
Rachel: Can I say now that I’d rather re-sign Mulder after this season than AJ Burnett thi
s past offseason.
Rabid STL Fan: Although it certainly seems that way sometimes :
)
Rabid STL Fan: It broke my  🙂
Rachel: Yes it does, which is why I put "apparently"
Rachel: lol…I knew what you were going for.
Rabid STL Fan: I would have to agree.  Burnett was just too risky
Rabid STL Fan: Wow.  gotta love a healthy Rolen!
Rabid STL Fan: 9:05 – Rolen makes a great play to throw out Cedeno
Rabid STL Fan: 9:06  – another 123 for Mulder.  He has rolled except for that 4th inning.  He only threw 8 pitches that inning.
Rachel: It strikes me occasionally (like right now) that I could watch baseball the rest of my life and never see any else come close to being as good at third.
Rachel: *anyone (and yes, I’m a drama queen)
Rabid STL Fan: I don’t think you ca build them any better than Scotty.
Rabid STL Fan: *can*
Rabid STL Fan: And he’s such a great guy, you have to wonder what Philly could have done to make him hate that place so much.
Rachel: I know.  I read an article once about the reasons he and Larry Bowa didn’t get along, but to be honest, I can’t remeber a single one right now.
Rabid STL Fan: 9:10 – I thought Jimmy had another one!
Rachel: It was in ESPN the Mag…I just remember them saying the Scott Rolen was the last player you would ever think would have problems with a manager.
Rachel: 9:12-I thought Encarnacion might get 3 hits in a game for a second there.  Wow!
Rabid STL Fan: He’s definitely showing improvement.
Rabid STL Fan: I’m surprised Jones got there.  He was on his horse.
Rachel: I’m looking for more than just hits from him, but I’ll certainly take them!
Rabid STL Fan: Word.  He needs to make the plays in RF before I feel completely comfortable with him.
Rachel: 9:15-It’s the eighth inning already…geez.
Rabid STL Fan: 9:15 – Mulder retires Pierre again!  0-for4!
Rachel: I agree.  I’m looking as much for him to make the routine and running plays as much as fantastic diving plays.  I think we agree on this.
Rabid STL Fan: 9:16 – Mulder has now retired 8 in a row.
Rachel: Make that 9!
Rabid STL Fan: 9:17 – Make that 9.  Bottom of the 8th!  Our last ups this game (hopefully).
Rabid STL Fan: ha
Rabid STL Fan: jinx
Rachel: Lol…I hope AP gets another at-bat!
Rachel: What’s with all the bloopers down the right field line…fair or foul.
Rabid STL Fan: seems magnetic, doesn’t it?
Rachel: That’s the perfect way to describe it really.
Rabid STL Fan: It is very possible for AP to "stand at the dish" once agian this game
Rabid STL Fan: 9:22 – let’s go Gucher!!
Rabid STL Fan: Good work tonight Mulder!! 8 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO, 1 HR
Rabid STL Fan: 1 big mistake.
Rabid STL Fan: Should have let Mulder hit 🙂
Rachel: Yes…three cheers for M-squared.
Rachel: Lol…that was a tough pitch/call.
Rabid STL Fan: Rah! Rah! Rah!
Rachel:  🙂
Rabid STL Fan: I agree.  Mulder just seems to have good luck up there lately
Rabid STL Fan: 9:25 – all right.  another hit for DX.  3-for-5
Rabid STL Fan: AP on deck!
Rabid STL Fan: Could it be bases loaded?
Rachel: Let’s go J-Rod!
Rabid STL Fan: 9:26 – HERE HE COMES!!
Rabid STL Fan: oh… sissies
Rachel: Well I got my wish..Let’s go Albert!
Rachel: haha…good to see John Mabry though
Rachel: Bad to see him in that uniform, however.
Rabid STL Fan: J Rod almost got it out…  I’m liking him in the 2 hole
Rabid STL Fan: yeah
Rabid STL Fan: As much as I like him, it almost makes me puke every time he walks out of the dugout
Rachel: He was my first-ever "favorite player"…when he was with the Cards the first time
Rabid STL Fan: He’s a quality guy all around, that’s for sure.  Hopefully he hasn’t donned the birds on the bat for the last time
Rachel: 9:31-0-2 on Albert
Rachel: Yikes!
Rabid STL Fan: That didn’t go as expected…
Rabid STL Fan: Wow, Cincy beat Milwakee
Rabid STL Fan: I’m thinking that Cincy might be a little underrated.
Rachel: Certainly not.
Rabid STL Fan: 3-1, it wasn’t an offensive display either
Rabid STL Fan: 9:33 – Lets go Loop!!
Rabid STL Fan: Lol, Looper has the goofiest mug shot on gameday.
Rachel: I’m think Milwaukee was overrated for so early in the season
Rabid STL Fan: that too
Rabid STL Fan: that’s 2 teams under .500 in the NL central now.
Rabid STL Fan: 9:36 – sheesh.  There goes Barrett again.
Rachel: He has a huge head (literally)…I’m not joking, and I’m really not trying to mean at all.
Rachel: Not that that has any bearing what-so-ever on the game…
Rabid STL Fan: lol.  Look at the size of that boy’s head! It’s a virtual planetoid! It’s got it’s own weather system! Head! Move!
Rachel: haha
Rabid STL Fan: yeah, my So I Married an Axe Murderer quote has even less to do with it… but it’s still fun
Rachel: I figured it was from a movie, but I admit I didn’t knwo which one.
Rabid STL Fan: Eh, I have seen too many
Rachel: What a way to end the game!
Rabid STL Fan: 9:40 – All right.  That DP couldn’t have been better if it could have been anyone in the world.
Rabid STL Fan: Sorry, I’m holding a grudge against Barrett
Rachel: Not going to hear any objections here.
Rabid STL Fan: I didn’t
figure it would.
Rabid STL Fan: *I*
Rachel: Great job with the live-game…I’m out for now!
Rabid STL Fan: Thanks for making it interesting!
Rabid STL Fan: later!
Rabid STL Fan: Cards now take over 3rd from the cubs.
Rabid STL Fan: And that’s a wrap!

Payback time (live)

http://brainsinabox.pbwiki.com/f/payback.mp3

Time to play the Cubbies again.  Tonight I am going to try out live blogging.  I am going to try it in a new way, though: As the game progresses, I will comment in the cool topic widget in the sidebar and anyone else who wants can comment too.  Include the time.  When the game is over, I will just copy and paste the conversation into a post and save it.  This way it will be real-time, I can have a lot more interaction, and then I can save it in a post.  So comment away and let’s go CARDS!!