Friday, July 30, 2004

Starting Outfield

Ray Lankford: If the cardinals had an everyday starter in left field (which they don't) it would be Lankford. He started the year as the number one guy, and has played the most games of our left fielders, with Taguchi about to catch him. Lankford has been disappointing at best, while the rotation we used instead has been excellent. It's La Russa's dream we have a righty (Taguchi), lefties (Lankford and Mabry) and a switch hitter (Cedeno), and he can matchup whichever guy is going 10 for 18 against the opposing starter. Those four can field the position well, and La Russa doesn't mind an infielder out there, he can use Marlon Anderson or Hector Luna. So one thumb down to Lankford, and one thumb up for the rotation.
Nicknames: RayRay, Mr. April
Jim Edmonds: The impression of many people across St. Louis, was that Edmonds had a lousy first half, but the truth is that he had a good, typical Edmonds first half, before going on a second half tear. His batting numbers are great .303/28/76. His fielding at the beginning of the season made me wonder if he had lost a few steps from his gold glove form, but recently... well look. He's done a couple of the, "well that was a home run" catches, and a "Yeah, Sammy, I'm gonna catch it, just stay at second" game saver. He's leading the majors in outfield assists. Now he hits a home run every day, which is nice. With him playing like this it adds a third top tier man to the heart of our lineup. Edmonds gets two thumbs up.
Nicknames: Jimbo, Mr. Ed, Laura's Hero, Zambrano's strike zone.
Reggie Sanders: Sanders was our replacement for JD Drew coming into this year. He's about has about the same speed and power, but hes a lot older and a lot blacker and a lot better guy. Aside from that they are the same person. He has done about what we expected going 252/17/51. I'd like to see him hit closer to 270, but he's an adequate everyday left fielder, and a great guy in the clubhouse, from what I hear. Sanders gets a indifferent sideways shaking thumb.
Nicknames: The Journeyman, The Travel Agent, basically anything that has to do with moving alot.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

The many faces of Tony Womack

Tony Womack has been with 5 teams, he spent a long team with both pittsburgh and arizona, and had short stints with the Rockies, and those perenial losers the cubs.  Let's see how he liked each team. 
He didn't really like pittsburgh in the mid 90s
He seems to have liked Arizona, where he won a title
He thought the cubs were pretty good, not quite as big a smile, but he likes his hat that's two sizes too big
And He loves the Cardinals, he's looking up to the sky, smiling, knowing he wont get booed by his own fans.

Starting Infield

This posting and the next couple have two purposes.  First, to tell you what I think of the the guys performances so far this year.  And second, to lay out the nicknames I will be using from here on out.
Matheny:  Matheny is doing his thing behind the plate and that's what really matters.  Like I said in the Midseason Awards, he has handled a new rotation very well.  Nothing gets by the guy, everything in the dirt is smothered, and guys think twice before they try to steal.  however his batting numbers are down, his average has leveled out around 250, and there's not a lot of power.  But he can still hit lefties with consistency, and isn't a sure out with the bat.  He draws some walks (winning run from Hawkins in that early series at Busch) and avoids too many strikeouts.  Matheny gets one thumb up.
        Nicknames: The Wall, The Vacuum, The Blackhole
Pujols:  His average isn't where it was the last couple years when he was winning batting titles, but his power numbers are still on pace.  He has settled into his spot at first, and given justification to Mike Shannon's statement that he will eventually win a gold glove.  He leads the majors in runs scored, an underrated stat, and is in the top 5 in HRs and RBIs and batting over 320.  Although he's not making his triple crown run that he has a coule times in his first three years, he should be top 3 or 4 in the MVP voting, again, and earning his 100 million.  Pujols gets one normal thumb up, and one big old crooked thumb up.
        Nicknames:  Fat Albert, Bo Pujols (What the called him accidentally in some CA newspaper his rookie year), Poo-Holes (from the ESPN pronunciation guide), The Shit, Superman
Womack: I figured out why La Russa wanted Womack, he saw him with this.  Of course I'm talking about the Dog, La Russa is a huge dog lover and animal rights guy.  Anyway, you know how the old guy tells Miles Massey, "Councilor, you are the engine that drives this firm."  Well Tony Womack, you are the engine that drives this team.  He has been great, putting up a 300 average and a 360 OBP.  And once he gets on he does just what a lead off man should do.  When he isn't stealing pitchers are thinking about him and not ocusing on Renteria, Pujols and Rolen, and he's moving first to third when they do hit.  His defense has been surprisingly good.  His arm is still week from the surgery, but hes a 2nd baseman, so it's not so crucial.  He's no Vina, turning the double play, but only has 9 errors which is okay for a 2nd baseman in July.  Womack gets two thumbs up.
     Nicknames:  Mack, The bug/The Alien (because he looks like he's a goon from a horror flick)
Renteria:  Coming in to this year, Renteria was undisputed as the best SS in the NL.  But he struggled in the first half, and barely beat out a more deserving Adam Everett in the All-Star voting (Not to mention Jack Wilson).  He starting picking it up just before the break and has brought his average up to 289, still he hasn't been hitting in clutch situation like he did when we called him Mr. Clutch.  His defense has been spectacular, only committing seven errors.  Also the cards have the most double plays in the majors, which Edgar and The Bug should get some credit for.  Hopefully he'll keep turning it up and be firing on all cylinders come playoff time.  He needs to make a case for himself, as it is his contract year, and the Cardinals want to sign him to a long deal like they have Pujols and Rolen.
Edgar gets one thumb up.
    Nicknames: Garr (Like a Pirate), The artist formerly known as Mr. Clutch
Rolen:  See MVP section here.  Rolen gets two big ol' crooked thumbs way up
    Nicknames:  Scotty, too Hotty.  Rawhide (as in rollin' rollin' rollin', Rawhide)  Rolo (like the candy),  MVP

Another mark in the W colomn

The redbirds got their 65th win last night, and like Adam Forsyth would say after a couple beers, "It might not be pretty but I'll take it."  Suppan gave up 10 walks, and the team gave up 13, which is a lot, but less than the 15 guys we left on base.  Normally those two thing would be sum to a sure loss, but with 19 hits including four dingers, and three ugly errors by the Red, we managed to pull of a 11-10 win. 
     This game shows the difference between this year and last year.  Last year the Reds would have had Aaron Boone, he would not have made two errors at third and probably hit a walk off in the bottom of the ninth against Eldred.  This year we got the late runs to win, and Eldred was our only solid pitcher, giving two perfect innings.
Star of the game:  Scott Rolen
Obviously, hitting two long balls and a key double and ending with a 5-3-4-3 line will get the star of the game.  Eldred gets an honorable mention, and a big thumbs up goes to Isringhausen.
    Edmonds lift the game with a gimp back, but I think it was just to be safe with a 7 run lead Tony thought it was in the bag.  He hit his home run per game and left.
Best moment:  Double play becomes nothing
     With Matheny on first Womack hit a soft ground ball to the second baseman, who instead of tossing the ball to short tried to tag matheny.  Matheny alertly got himself in a run down heading back toward first.  When the reds finally threw to first Womack was already safe.  Matheny then turned back toward second, ran into the second baseman, and was therefore awarded the base.  This was something you would have seen form the cubs 10 years ago, I'm glad to see there still one team playing like little leaguers.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Declaration of Independance

When in the Course of sporting events, it becomes necessary for one perosn to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another blog, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of the Internet and of Blogspot entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

In other words, I'm on my own Bitches!!!!  No longer will I be restrained to simply commenting on the pages of  No longer will I be a lone desenter representing a righteous view.  No longer will my cardinals views be a link and pop-up lesser than the postings of facist rulers.  The time has come for

Also, I have a lot of spare time at my job and internet access.

Midseason awards

Well, I missed the first 100 game sof the season.  Fortunately, I can sum it up in one word, WOO-HOO!  Unfortunately I'm not going to stop at one word.  I will start with my first half cardinals awards.
MVP: Scott Rolen
     This is the obvious choice seeing as he was the first half MVP of the whole Non-Bond league.  He's led the league in RBIs the whole year.  I couldn't think of a better guy to have in the clean-up spot than Rolen.   When you add in his gold glove defense, that could push him over Bonds for the MVP.  (Rolen for Placido Polonco, Bud Smith, and Mike Timlin:  We did lose one of the funnier names in baseball, but Rolen seems to have worked out, and we got him for 6 more years)
Cy Young: Chris Carpenter
      His first half was a very pleasent surprise, in putting up 10 wins he's made a solid case for being considered the staff ace.  Even though he was coming off two years away from the game his stuff has been real sharp right from the get-go.
Walt Jockety Award:  Ray King
     I would give a rookie of the year but we dont have any guys that we didn't get a chance to see for a good deal last year.  So, I decided to give this award to the best new comer, however we got them.  In the first half Ray King was the best middle releiver in the national league, posting an ERA under 1.5.
Gold Glove: Mike Matheny
      Of course the cardinals have 4 gold glovers, but Matheny's play behind the plate is one of the most unnoticed assets the cardinals have.  He's worked with a staff that sixty percent new, and helped them become one of the most productive int he majors.  He has that ridiculous errorless streak of 270 games or so.  He only has one pass ball in almost 600 innings and prevents countless wild pitches with his textbook defense.  He's thrown out about a third of potential base stealers.  Meanwhile he is playing the the God to Yadier Molina's Adam, molding him in his own image.
LVP:  Ray Lankford
     Coming into this season I was told Lankford was back and better than ever, the strikes were down, he was a more mature patient batter.  That lasted about two weeks, now he's batting under 250 and strikes out a third of the time.  Luckily we have a slew of corner outfielders we can rotate in: Taguchi, Cedeno,  Anderson, Luna, and Colin Porter created a solid commity in the first half.  They've combined Voltron Style to form a decent left fielder (Taguchi will be Pidge, the little boy)
Cy Yuck: Cal Eldred
     He has already started to com around the last month, but his first half was the worst in a cardinals pitching staff that has been extraordinary.  So far he's been mostly used in 10-2 games winning or losing.
Ernie Broglio Award:  Adam Wainright
      This is the opposite the Jockety award, it goes to the worst new player.  When we traded away JD Drew we were told the key aquisition was the 6 foot 5 left haded pitching prospect Wainright, and that he would be in the majors by the end of the year.  However he had a dissapointing first half and then got injured, he may miss the rest of the year.  Hopefully he'll turn it around next year when we might need him to  replace Woody and/or Morris.
Stone Hands (The Michael Huffer Award): Cody Mckay
      Nepotism is a bitch, Dave Mckay, the cards first base coach has a son who plays a little catcher.  Problem is he was below average hitter and wasn't vary good behind the plate either. He had the same amount of pass balls as Matheny and Molina combined and in about one seventh the innings.