August 2, 2021

Cardinals Keep Destroying Hope

September 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

I wonder if any of his old friends in Cincinnati have called Adam Dunn and said thanks for the help.

Since his home run on Saturday, the Cards have scored a total of two runs in 31 innings.  Since that moment, this team his hitting .152 against staffs that are on second-division teams.  Since that moment, they’ve lost three games in the standings and now stand seven games back.  Even the wild card doesn’t provide a lot of hope, as they are four back there and have to pass two teams.

You can see an interview with John Mozeliak over at Fox Sports Midwest and, honestly, he sounds as befuddled as all the rest of us.  How does this happen?  How does a team with contenders for three major awards slide this far back?  How can this offense gush at times and then dry up like the Sahara?  Derrick Goold notes in today’s game story that it took fourteen years before a Tony La Russa-led Cardinal team was shut out in back to back nights.  Now, it’s happened twice in five weeks.

I’m reading the Twitter and, yes, I see that Houston had a 3.32 ERA for the month of August, which was third in the league.  I know that they’ve improved and are playing better baseball than perhaps their record showed.  The Cardinals are, in theory, in a pennant race, though.  You have to manage more than five hits over two games, don’t you?  I mean, don’t you?

You can give a Hero and a Goat out for last night, if you want–Chris Carpenter probably gets the former, even though it wasn’t his best outing, and Colby Rasmus‘s two strikeouts give him the edge for the latter over the rest of the 0-fer group–but it’s hard to single any one person out.It’s possibly the most frustrating time to be a Cards fan since, well, September of 2006.  The team was weak in ’07, but they were able to hang around the race, and at least the ’07 and ’08 teams had some injury cover, where you could at least say, “if so and so were healthy, things might be different.”  This year, sure, they lost David Freese, but is that the difference in the team?  They lost Kyle Lohse for a while and Brad Penny for longer, and those did hurt some, but even without those guys, they stayed on top or within striking distance.

I’ve been a La Russa fan a long time.  I think that he’s one of the best managers out there and I don’t worry as much about his lineup switches or his Parade of a Thousand Relievers.  However, I really think that it is time for a change.

It seems like so often, good teams don’t wither way, they just grow stale.  That’s what this team is–stale.  Nothing seems to change them from their plodding ways, not the pitcher hitting eighth, not a change in leadoff guys, not even shaving their heads.  At most, they lift themselves out of their malaise for a bit and play inspired baseball (as they did in Cincinnati), then slump back into the realm of mediocrity.   This team has too much talent for that.

The old adage says that you can’t fire all the players, so you fire the manager.  In the Cardinals’ case, that may be true.  Most of these players are going to be here next year.  The only really tradeable guy was Ryan Ludwick, who has already been moved.  They will have to get a starter for the rotation, but Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia and Loshe are not moving (or not movable).  The lineup isn’t likely to look much different either, with Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, and Yadier Molina guaranteed to return and Rasmus should be in that group.  With his late-season revival Brendan Ryan isn’t likely to be moved, though he’s not a lock.If you figure Jon Jay or Allen Craig have a place on this team and David Freese probably retakes third base, that only leaves Skip Schumaker at second to replace, and it isn’t like there will be a lot of top notch second baseman on the free agent market this winter.

So the 2011 team is likely to look a lot like the 2010 team.  Which means that, if TLR can’t get results out of them this year, it may be time to see if someone else can.  Fourteen years is like a geologic era in baseball.  In 1996, Ozzie Smith was still playing, Roger Maris and Hank Aaron were still the home run kings, nobody was talking about steroids, and Tampa Bay and Arizona didn’t even have teams.  Heck, people still bought newspapers at that time!

I honestly think that TLR will take a look this offseason, realize that things aren’t getting better, and decide to walk away.  He’s been doing this for 32 summers now without a break, so maybe he finally decides that he wants to do some more things at home, see the family, work on ARF, etc.

I’m not sure ownership is strong enough to say enough is enough and not offer Tony a chance to come back. They’ve always been big fans of his and I think if he asks, he has the job again next season.  I’m just not sure that he’s going to ask.  He’s accomplished a lot in this game and I think the Cards should retire #10 in the future, but right now, I think it’s time.

Cards aren’t calling many up today–Nick Stavinoha and Matt Pagnozzi, while activating Dennys Reyes and Jeff Suppan–as Memphis is actually still in a race.  Don’t know who we will see, other than Craig, when the run ends for the Memphis Redbirds.  Hopefully we’ll get a bit of a peek at Lance Lynn, who has come on strong at the end of the season for the AAA squad.

Suppan goes today against Nelson Figueroa.  The bullpen figures to get some work in, as Suppan wasn’t getting deep into games before he was hurt, so coming off the DL he’ll be lucky to go five.  It’s not exactly the guy you want out there when you’ve lost four in a row, but since they keep losing games Carpenter and Wainwright start, maybe they can win a Suppan start.  Afternoon game, so there should be a chat at Fox Sports Midwest.

Let’s see if the Redbirds can give us something good to talk about tonight on the UCB Radio Hour.  It’s retro night as Mike from Stan Musial’s Stance joins me in a pairing straight out of…earlier this year.  Tune in as we talk TLR, this team, Social Media Night, and how many different ways you can say “frustrating”!

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