Monday, October 25, 2004

We Must Protect This House

All I was hoping for was to split the two games in Boston. The Cards didn't give me that wish. They managed to lose both games dispite 8 errors by Boston. Game two was clearly decided with two outs as the Bo Sox came up with three huge two out hits to give them their runs and the Cards decided to continue stranding runners. Two out hits had been the strength of the Cards int he first two playoff series. Luckily for the Redbirds, MLB likes the ridiculous 2-3-2 playoff format, meening there are three games in a row in Busch. It is entirely possible to do what Houston did to the Cards and take all three home games.
Here is the gameplan focusing on starting pitching:
Game three is Pedro vs Suppan, and if Suppan can win against Clemens he can win against Pedro. I don't think two teams will come back from down 3-0 in one year, so I am calling game three a must win. Game four is gonna be the toughest if Derek Lowe pitches like he did in game 7 of the ALCS and Marquis pitches like he has in the playoffs. If we can win one or both of those, I have supreme confidence in Woody Williams to bounce back from his short game one outing and be dominant in game five. If the Cards can win two or three of the home games and take it back to Boston, rumor is that Schilling might not be able to go again. His ankle has already been cut open and tied up twice and the doctors say a third time might not be possible. That could lead to a Bronson Arroyo appearance and possible meltdown in game six.
As you can see this series is far from over. Of course, all my talk about game five and six and back in Boston is gettign way ahead. The Key for now: beat up Pedro Martinez

Monday, October 18, 2004

God Damn Beltran

Man, I cannot wait until this guy is back in the American League where he belongs. Mr. Beltran almost single handedly tied the series up. I thought that the Cards would take one of the two against Oswalt and Clemens, and both were within reach. But shaky relief pitching and Carlos hitting everything prevented that. That last homerun he hit could not have been more than 4 inches off the ground. That is unreal, you shouldn't be able to hit that out. The new plan is to win tonight against Backe, and take the lead back home. Clemens will be on three days rest, so hopefully the Cards can knock him out of game six after four or five innings and take the series. My suggestion is to pitch around Beltran, and not with low fastballs.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Who to root for? The Braves

The NLDS is done, the Dodgers rolled over pretty easy, except of course for crazy Lima. Now its time for a couple days rest before the NLCS. As our president would say "Bring em on." The only question is, who are they? I am sure all the Cards fans out there will be with me rooting for Braves tonight.

I think if the Braves do somehow win game five, the Cardinals will put them in the hurt box next week. They don't have an ace, Jared Wright is good, but not Walker-Pujols-Rolen-Edmonds good. I think we can handle our old buddy JD and Mr. Overrated Chipper Jones. Their biggest weapon, John Smoltz has been struggling and anyone who can beat Gagne's Dodger's can handle Smoltz. The Braves that I would look out for are Marcus Giles and Ray Furcal. Furcal has been huge for them since he came back in this series, he gets on base and causes pandemonium. The Cards probably won't see game five starter Wright until game three or so, setting up Mike Hampton, famous for his impressions of a batting practice machine, for game one. Russ Ortiz could pitch game two on three days rest. So if Woody gives another good performance and Marquis can conquer his nerves against his old team, we could leave town with two wins.

Of course that will all be worthless when the Astros win 5-0 tonight on Oswalt's back. The good news will be that the Stros will probably have to throw rag-arm Brandon Backe in game one. Clemens could only make it five innings on three days rest, they won't want to do that again. If there is not a rest day after game one, that we could see someone like means Monro and his ERA over 5 in game two. So if the Cards can contain the out of control Astros line-up they should take the first two at home what ever team they play. But, if the Astros win we have to go face Clemens and Oswalt in Houston, which is not easy. Also the Astros the only team to have a winning record against the Cards this year where as we beat the Braves 2-1 both in STL and ATL.

Finally, the story lines are better between the Cards and Braves than Cards and Stros. The Cards and Braves made the big trade in the offseason. And the two winningest managers in the game are La Russa and Cox.

In the minor leagues, big surprise, the Yankees and Red Sox made the ALCS again. Although I'm sure some Cards fans would like to have the powerless Twins or pitcherless Angels in the series, I will be happy to have the bitter rivals beat each other up (literally, most likely) in what should be a long series. It worked out for the Marlins last year when the Yankees seemed worn out.

Friday, October 08, 2004

2-0 (and Sammy Sosa)

Eight to three, I'm beginning to like the sound of that. Although Marquis looked more nervous than a legless mouse in a snake pit, La Russa got him out of there and the bullpen and bottom of the lineup bailed him out. Danny Haren made a strong statement last night, he was very cool in his first playoff appearance. Hopefully Matty-Mo can learn a thing from the kid and bring the A game out for game three.

Since I can't just focus on the Cards success without bashing the Small Bears, I gotta talk about Sammy Sosa. So basically he has burned his bridge with the Cubs by coming late and leaving early to the last game and also bitching about Dusty Baker putting to much blame on him. In a perfect world he would apologize to everyone and get ready for next season, but I don't think that is gonna happen.

"Also I am beginning to wonder if Sammy didn't plan this move. Consider this contract summary I found on ESPN: Sosa is to make $17 million next season and the club has an $18 million option for 2006 with a $4.5 million buyout. If Sosa is traded, his 2006 contract becomes guaranteed and a 2007 club option is added at $19 million with a $4.5 million buyout."

I doubt Sosa will be better next year than this year, and I know that no team wants to spend 18 million on an aging .250 batter. So Sammy pulls this move, the club has two choices. First, keep him next year pay him 21.5 mill and have a horrible clubhouse where everyone hates him and it ruins the legacy of possibly the best Cub ever. Second they can trade him, but know one wants to pick up that deal, plus that means he would get an extra year on his contract so the cubs would have to pay the large part of 39.5 mill just to get rid of him and maybe get a 2nd rate closer in the deal. Now that the Cubs fans are expecting a champion in the next couple years, have Sosa stick around and be a distraction could definitely prevent that, so Sosa is trying to force the cubs into the second option which gets him an extra 18 million and possibly the status of team superstar somewhere else. Losing that money would hurt the cubs chances of landing someone like Beltran or Mags (or Renteria) to replace him.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Round One

The Dingerfest that was game one is under the belt. Jeff Weaver is the new target. Weaver is a lot like Matt Morris in that he can throw a complete game shutout one day and not make it three innings a week later. The latter is what got him ran out of New York, and what we should hope for Thursday. Of course when I say he can throw a shutout I don't mean against the Cards lineup, we may have to play some smallball and win 2-1 or something. My buddy and future sports media guru Matt Pauley predicts that Jason Marquis will be the Cards best pitcher in the playoffs, and that sounds good to me. If we can win both home games I will be a very happy camper. If we take game two, that set the stage for a sweep and lets the banged up players (Morris, Womack, Kline) get some rest before the NLCS against the Cubs. Oh wait, that's right the Cubs aren't in the playoffs, even though Prior told us a month ago that he would play the Cards in the NLCS.

Lost in the offensive numbers was a great bullpen performance that seemed like the bullpen that kicked ass for the three months this season. Until Izzy gave up a meaningless homer, they shut everyone down for three frames. I really didn't like seeing Izzy's walk after the homer, that made me more upset than the homer, but since when does Izzy not make it interesting?

Monday, October 04, 2004

Another Midwest Swing in Stores this Tuesday

I just got back from the hardware store where I bought 20 tubes of crazy glue. My Cardinals hat will not be leaving my head this October.

Hey folks back in St. Louis, is there a playoff pump up song yet? Usually once the playoffs start the media gives the team some song like "Celebrate" or "Who let the Dogs Out?". I've been pondering what the song should be this year. My dad, who is your typical St. Louis-stuck-in-the-seventies-Classic-Rock-fan thinks it should be Sammy Hagar's "Red," but thats sort of lame. Ford will make its push for the song from its commercial "I bleed red and blue, for my Cardinals Baseball, my Ford and you," which maybe the dumbest jingle ever. We could always rekindle the Rams 1999 magic with "Bang on my drum all day," maybe we could get Pujols to bob an weave on a home run trot. Being here in the Cubs land has on occasion opened my mind, and I think the best option for the Cardinals is to create their own song and video like the 1985 chart topper "Super Bowl shuffle." The could call it the "Cardinal Jam" or "October Rap" or something. For you critics out there just listen to Jim McMahan try to rap, you know Ray King could do better than that. In fact I think they could make a whole album. Have Nelly produce it and call it "Another Midwest Swing." Rolen and Kline could do a country duet. Ankiel, Edmonds and Morris could do a Dead Head style stoner jam. Pujols, Renteria, Tavarez and Luna could do some Latin Music. Finally, So Taguchi could do kareoki covers to all his favorite American Classics. All procedes will benefit the SIGN EDGAR FOUNDATION