December 3, 2020

Sweep Incomplete

June 17, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Busy couple of nights at the ballpark, with most of the focus on the bump in the middle.

First off, the Jeff Suppan return tour kicked off in a manner that didn’t shock me too much, though I will admit I didn’t think it’d be that strong.  You had a guy that’d made some adjustments, who got back into a situation he liked, and was facing one of the weakest hitting teams in the big leagues.  Just because he made a good start doesn’t mean that it was a good idea or that it’s going to work out for the Cardinals.  Remember, Mike Maroth had a fairly good first start as well.

All that said, you do have to give him some kudos.  He obviously has a little left in the tank, as indicated by his four strikeouts and only the one run.  We’ll see how it goes when they stretch him out.  He goes up against Oakland next time out, a team that’s not seen him much and is just barely better than Seattle when it comes to putting runs on the board.  After that, it’s KC, which is the best of the AL teams that he’ll face, even if that doesn’t say a lot.  Arizona at home after that–we know about the D’Backs’ issues with the bats, at least in part, though they have seen him.  The biggest test may be when he faces Milwaukee at the beginning of July.

I’d like to give the Hero tag to the whole bullpen, but that’d break the rules I’ve set up for this conceit, so I’ll give it to Kyle McClellan, since he threw two innings and didn’t allow anything.  A stellar job by him, though the rest of the pen did a solid job as well.

Offensively, the second night of the Matt Holliday Hitting Second Era wasn’t quite as successful as the first, but I don’t think that was a huge surprise.  For one, they were facing another lefty, who was marginally better than the one on Monday night.  Second, well, you can’t expect to put up eight runs every night.

The team was able to get 11 hits, but honestly getting hits isn’t this team’s problem.  The problem is getting hits when you need them.  Two hits an inning would get you 18 for the game, but that also could be 18 left on base if they don’t come at the right time or aren’t of the extra-base variety.

Still, some hits are better than no hits, which is what Matt Holliday got in his new position.  He did draw a walk, but the theory is hitting before Albert Pujols equals more fastballs equals more hits, and that didn’t pan out on Tuesday.

Is Colby Rasmus’s groove right now amazing or what?  Seems like he’s hitting a home run a night.  And always nice when AP goes yard as well.

Last night, it was back to more of the same.  The best lefty of the bunch Seattle was throwing at the Cards was on the mound and the results proved it.  Jaime Garcia didn’t deserve a loss in any respect, giving up just five hits and walking just one.  That may have been his best game of the year, or at least right at the top, when you factor in the command he had and how long he went in the game.

Kudos to David Freese as well.  Even though he did strike out in the ninth with the tying run on second, he managed three hits on the night, equaling what the rest of the team did.

Another rough day at the top of the lineup.  Felipe Lopez and Holliday both go 0-4, which doesn’t put a lot of guys on for Pujols.  Rasmus had an 0-4 as well, even though he has been hitting lefties much better this year and especially lately.

We talked at length on last night’s UCB Radio Hour (one of our better ones, I think, so go listen or download) about the lack of a leadoff hitter.  Rasmus seems to be the obvious choice to put there, but for some reason I don’t think that’s a great idea.  I was in the minority on this one and I will say the stats seem to back it up, but I’m not sure you can just transfer what his mindset and approach is and move it to the top slot.  Maybe you can, I don’t know.  But until Holliday gets going, I think you need his pop later in the lineup.

If you want outside the box thinking, though, Freese actually has the third-highest OBP on the team at the moment at .380.  He’s been a good RBI man so far this year, so you probably don’t think about it too much, but he’s not hitting for power on a regular basis, with just four home runs.  What if you slipped him in there?  He’s not a speedster, but I think he could get from first to third or score on a double.  I don’t say I’m advocating that, just throwing it out there.

Off day today.  A few things for you to think about before Chris Carpenter faces off against the A’s.

The Cardinals signed a good number of their recent draft picks, including their third, fourth, fifth and seventh round selections.  That gives them a good base for their negotiations with the top guys, plus Austin Wilson.

The Hardball Times had up a great article about Pujols and his years in Kansas City, written by one of the members of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.  I didn’t realize how much AP dominated even back then, and even with some scouts questioning his age, you’d have thought he’d gone higher than 13th.

Seems like around the All-Star Break is when marketing efforts really kick off.  Dove for Men is focusing on three people from baseball to base their latest campaign around.  Andy Pettitte and Joe Girardi bring in the NY market, but to indicate where his stature in the game is, Albert Pujols joins them.  From the press release:

“Whether it’s Albert locked in his batting stance, Andy staring into the catcher’s glove or Joe controlling the flow of a game, baseball fans have come to recognize how comfortable these guys are on the diamond,” said Rob Candelino,Marketing Director Personal Wash US, Unilever.  “The Dove Men + Care campaign takes a different look at these players and shows fans the stories and milestones these men have experienced on their journeys to finding comfort as husbands, dads, and friends.”

You can go to Dovemencare.com and see a video of Albert, plus enter into the sweepstakes to win a trip to St. Louis to meet him and take batting practice.  Not a bad prize, huh?

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!