Greetings once again from one of your loyal, loving fans. You all may remember my letter to you last fall when the Cards were on the brink of winning the National League pennant. You must have taken my loving criticism to heart, for you indeed won the NL pennant, but you lost the World Series once again to the Red Sox (this pattern of losing to the Red Sox in the WS is really getting old, though).
However, I am writing to you much earlier this season because I am alarmed at what I am seeing, both at bat and on the field. It appears the team is imploding and I, along with many other fans, are very worried. Granted, the Cards are only 4 games behind the Brewers in the NL Central and there is still a lot of season yet to play. But if you guys can’t right the sinking ship S.S. Cardinals, however, everything will be going south quickly, and I’m not talking about the Braves.
Let’s talk first about the few bright spots on the team. Our 1-2 starting pitchers (Waino and Wacha) are the best in the NL. With the exception of the game in Chicago and the game against the Giants, we can always count on Waino for a win. Yadi is simply the best catcher in the NL. There’s no use trying to steal off of Yadi – you will lose every time. Yadi’s defense is stellar. And he is great at handling pitchers.
Now let’s talk about hitting. I’m going to review what I said last time with some minor changes. Please be patient at the plate and take some balls. Wait for a good pitch or a mistake pitch to hit. Make the pitcher work for the out. The higher the pitch count, the earlier the pitcher will be taken out of the game. And just get a hit. Enough hits in a row will equal runs. There’s no need to be swinging for the fences every time you’re up at bat. This is all fundamental stuff you should have learned a long time ago and shouldn’t have to be reminded about. And don’t be afraid to bunt to move a runner over into scoring position. To summarize, you boys need to hit more to score more!
If and when you do get on base, be an alert base runner. Watch for passed balls or wild pitches so you can advance on the base paths. Watch and see where hit balls land to determine whether it’s safe to advance or not. Listen to your base coaches; they will tell you whether to run or not. And when it’s time to run, run like the wind. Also, don’t get hung up between third and home.
As for the pitching – where do I begin? After Waino and Wacha, the rotation is the Twilight Zone. Lynn has at least one bad inning every game, known on the Internet as the “Lynning,” which is not a good thing. Jaime Garcia is beginning to show promise, but he’s only had 3 starts since coming off of the DL. Kelly has been out for over a month with a hamstring strain. Does it really take that long to heal a hamstring strain, or is there something else going on?
As for the bullpen, Martinez needs to be sent back down to Memphis to get his head straightened out. You can’t have a pitcher that can’t get lefties out. Choate and Maness are a mess. Jason Motte has just gotten off the DL Neshek and Rosenthal have been the bright spots in the bullpen.
You guys are professional baseball players and you’ve spoiled us. We expect the Cards to be in the playoffs every year. So get it together, boys, and play and act like a team. Until next time (and hopefully, there won’t be a next time this year) –