Sunday, August 28, 2005

Over-Pitching

It is great to see Jason Marquis get his first career shutout. It is great to see Chris Carpenter get a complete game almost every start to improve is Cy Young resume. BUT, maybe La Russa should consider giving these guys a rest. Considering last year when Carpenter got hurt (they call it a fluke nerve thing, but less pitching could not have hurt) and Mulder sucked down the stretch for the A's, I think a little rest would be nice for the rotation.

I read today that La Russa has Carpenter mapped out for four days rest until the end of the season so that he will be lined up for the first playoff game. Basically, what Tony wants is Carpenter pitching on Sept. 28th, five days before the first playoff games could be. I think that him and Duncan can work something out where the Ace gets either a couple extra rest days along the way, or skips one start entirely. It may slightly hurt his Cy Young numbers, but it is worth it.

On Sept. 1st the rosters expand and Anthony Reyes should come back up. Even though he has struggled in AAA since his great MLB debut, he should get a start or two to help give the rotation rest.

In my book, Marquis has to pitch one more great game and not have any more ugly starts (more than 5 ER) in order to bump Suppan from the playoff rotations. There are two other key advantages to having Marquis as the odd man out.

  • Pinch Hitting and Running. There would be a question whether he sits in the dugout or bullpen. Essentially he would expand the roster to 26 players since he is a relief pitcher and a pinch hitter.
  • Shorter innings. Before his last two starts, Marquis had a regular pattern of pitching 5 or six good innings before collapsing in the last part of the game when he gets up in the pitch count. He gets tired, he elevates the ball, people smack it. Out of the bullpen that is not an issue.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Oh No, only 17 games

Well the Cubs took the first two of the four game set in Wrigley. While the fans in blue shout SCOREBOARD, the fans in red can one up them with STANDINGS. Thanks to the Cards sweeping the Brewers and everyone sweeping the Cubs before the series the Cubs Cards rivarly race is officially dead with most of the season series still to come. However, it would still be nice to take the last two games of this series and to even it up. The game starting in three hours should be nice to watch as the NL Cy Young so far is up against Jerome Williams, an official nobody.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Looking ahead

Days: The Cards have one more against the Braves and Carpenter is pitching so they should take the rubber match of the three game series. Jorge Sosa, who was a reliever last time I checked, is starting against him. I just looked at his stats and he has been pitching really well as a starter for the last month. Then the Cards go to Miller Park for three games. Hopefully they can grab two games there before a series with the Cubs. It'll be the first trip to Wrigley Field this year and the Cubs will be looking to send a message. I am not sure what the message will be, probably something like, "We are going to get back to 500 and we are going to do it against you." The Cubs are making the playoffs seem less likely every day, so by the time the Cards get there they will be shooting for moral victories like that one.

Weeks: The Cards have been playing 500 ball since the injuries started piling up. That's fine considering the division lead is still ten games. Houston made a charge a week ago but they have leveled out and will probably play around 500 too. They should win two out of three when ever Oswalt, Clemens and Pettitte pitch and lose most of the Wandy Rodriguez (Wan-Rod?) and Eziquiel Astacio (Eazy-A?) games. Hopefully Molina will be back soon, since the Mahoney/Diaz situation has been awful. It seems like the order for returning will be Molina, Walker, Sanders, Rolen. Of course Walker coming back will probably mean four games per week. Fortunately, unlike the Mahoney/Diaz situation, the J-Rod/Taguchi/Mabry/Nunez (Seabol/Gall) situations have been wonderful. So when the outfielders and Rolen come back they can ease back and take plenty of rest in September.

Playoffs: Which injured players will be back is still a big question. But once Molina gets back the lineup will look a lot better. The rotation, which has been injury free since mid April, is looking good for the playoffs. Carpenter is clearly the game one starter. Morris and Mulder are the obvious number two and three, in either order. Marquis and Suppan will compete for the fourth and final spot in the playoff rotation. Right now neither one of them is making much of a push. My vote would go to Suppan, who is the more consistent of the pitchers. A big reason is that Marquis would be a better pitcher out of the bullpen. He has more powerful stuff and could come in the game in a jam let it rip for an inning or two better than Suppan. Also, it would make Marquis available as a pinch hitter or pinch runner effectively increasing the playoff roster size by one.

2006: The number one need is a corner outfielder. Walker is going to retire and Sanders is a free agent. There are four options:

  • Jocketty Trades for someone either now (waivers) or in the offseason.
  • We resign Sanders for probable about 4 million a year, since he hitting as well as he did when we gave him his current deal.
  • We sign a different free agent. Corner outfield is the only place that the free agent pool is not terribly weak. There is Hideki Matsui, Brian Giles, and Jacque Jones available. Giles would be a wonderful choice. He walks a ton of times. His power is down this year so his price tag might not be unreasonable.
  • Give someone we already have a chance. J-Rod, or Raul Gonzalez, Taguchi, and Mabry are all possibilities, but I don't like the sound of it.
Matt Morris is the number two question. He is due to a big pay raise. He went from 12.5 million in 2004 to 2.5 in 2005 and is having his best season in a couple years. Losing Walker's contract will free up money to make a good offer. However, Morris may be the best pitcher on the market and there is a team in New York that needs starters and likes to overpay for veterans that are on the decline. The other four starters either have contracts or option through next year. The fifth spot could go to Anthony (not Al) Reyes who is ready for a big league shot.

Besides that the Cards need to resign Grudzielanek and the major questions are answered.