Has the magic vanished? and Homestand Highlights for September 10-16, 2018

In my last blog post, I mentioned that the Cardinals should take the interim tag off of Mike Shildt.  I didn’t think they would do it the very next day!  LOL! I should probably buy some Powerball tickets.

What an August the Cardinals had!  They finished the month with 9 series wins, including sweeps of the Nationals, the Royals, and the Dodgers.  Matt Carpenter and his magical salsa led the Cardinals into playoff contention.  It was fun to watch Cardinals baseball again.

But then the calendar turned to September.  All of a sudden, the bad habits from earlier in the season began returning.  The batters had too many strikeouts and the pitchers allowed too many walks.  Yadi Molina and Kolten Wong landed on the disabled list with hamstring strains (although Kolten has been activated).  Jedd Gyorko landed on the DL with a groin strain.  He has had to return to St. Louis for reassessment.  The Cards miss Yadi and Jedd greatly.  The Cards have only won 3 of the 8 games played in September.  Did Matt Carpenter run out of the magic salsa? Matt should make a new batch when he returns to St. Louis.

Today’s game was interesting, however.  The Rally Squirrel made a return appearance and the Cards scored 5 runs in the inning after he showed up.  Matt Carpenter and Mike Shildt were both ejected from the game in the top of the 9th after a bad third strike call from the umpire.  After that, however, Carlos Martinez saved the game.  It was announced today that Mike Shildt has made Carlos the closer and I think that was a good choice.  Carlos thrives on pressure.  Let’s hope the magic returns and carries the Cards into the playoffs.

Hopefully, the win today will provide some momentum for the Cards’ return to Busch Stadium for the second to the last homestand of the season that starts tomorrow night.  Our good friend Adam Wainwright will be the starter for tomorrow night’s game, albeit without his batterymate Yadi. The last weekday game of the season is Wednesday against the Pirates.  Here are all the details on the upcoming homestand.  Will you be attending any games?

HOMESTAND HIGHLIGHTS (Monday, September 10—Sunday, September 16)

First Responders & Fiesta Cardenales Highlight Twelfth Homestand of 2018

 ST. LOUIS, Mo., September 7, 2018 – The Cardinals return to Busch Stadium on September 10th after a six-game road trip through Washington and Detroit.  The seven-game homestand kicks off with three games against the Pittsburgh Pirates (September 10-12) and concludes with a four-game series versus the Los Angeles Dodgers (September 13-16).  The twelfth homestand of the season is highlighted by 80s Night and a Mark McGwire bobblehead giveaway. 

Monday, September 10, 2018 — Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (7:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 5:45 p.m.

Law Enforcement Appreciation Theme Night: Support our brave men and women in uniform at Law Enforcement Appreciation Night presented by American Eagle Credit Union!  With the purchase of a special Theme Ticket, fans will receive an exclusive Cardinals Law Enforcement t-shirt.  A portion of each ticket sold will benefit the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.  A day game option is available on September 12.  To purchase tickets, visit cardinals.com/lawenforcement.  #CardsTheme

Tuesday, September 11, 2018 — Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (7:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 5:45 p.m.

September 11th Commemoration: The TSA Color Guard will present the colors during tonight’s pregame presentation of God Bless America and the National Anthem. Kristin Salvatore, a survivor of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, will throw a ceremonial pitch prior to tonight’s game.  We will also observe a moment of silence in remembrance of all the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Firefighters Appreciation Theme Night: Celebrate the men and women that help keep our city safe at Firefighter Appreciation Night presented by American Eagle Credit Union!  With the purchase of a special Theme Ticket, fans will receive an exclusive Cardinals Firefighter t-shirt.  A portion of each ticket sold will be donated to The Backstoppers.  A day game option is available on September 12.  To purchase tickets, visit cardinals.com/firefighters.  #CardsTheme

Autograph Night: Get free autographs from current and former Cardinals players, courtesy of Academy Sports + Outdoors.  Francisco Peña will sign 100 autographs in Budweiser Terrace for fans ages 15 and younger from 5:45-6:15.  Kids must have an autograph line ticket, which are free and are distributed in Budweiser Terrace.  Former Cardinals Greg Mathews and David Green will sign autographs for fans of all ages from 6:15-7:00.  Players subject to change.

Cardinals Care Stadium Auction: Auction tables will be located at Gates 1 and 3, inside the Cardinals Club, UMB Champions Club and Redbird Club for fans and collectors to obtain specialty Cardinals items while helping support the programs that Cardinals Care provides to youth in the community.  #CardsCare

Player Ticket Program: A player will host a group from a local charitable organization for tonight’s game as part of the club’s Player Ticket Program.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018 — Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (12:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 10:45 a.m.

Law Enforcement & Firefighter Appreciation Theme Day: Support or brave men and women in uniform at Law Enforcement & Firefighter Appreciation Day presented by American Eagle Credit Union!  With the purchase of a special Theme Ticket, fans will receive an exclusive Cardinals Law Enforcement or Firefighter t-shirt.  To purchase tickets, visit cardinals.com/theme.  #CardsTheme

Career Day Theme Event: Students and educators can enjoy a special pregame Q&A/panel discussion with executives focusing on careers in sports and media, followed by an exclusive College Fair with representatives from colleges and universities around the Midwest.  The $15 Career Day Theme Ticket also includes a ticket to the game plus a jumbo hot dog, soda & chips.  To purchase tickets, visit cardinals.com/careerday.  #CardsTheme

Thursday, September 13, 2018 — Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (6:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 4:45 p.m.

T-Shirt of the Month Giveaway: The Redbirds are hot! What can we attribute this spicy streak to?  It’s Gotta Be The Salsa!  20,000 fans, ages 16 and older, will take home a t-shirt commemorating the team’s salsa craze, designed by Fresh Brewed Tees.  #CardsPromo

Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day Theme Night: Join us for Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day presented by the St. Louis Metropolitan St. Patrick’s Day Parade at Busch Stadium.  Fans who purchase a special Theme Ticket will receive an exclusive green lightweight hooded pullover.  To purchase tickets, visit cardinals.com/theme.  #CardsTheme

Player Ticket Program: Adam Wainwright will host a group from Lift for Life Gym for tonight’s game as part of the club’s Player Ticket Program.

MLBPAA Auction: The MLB Players Alumni Association will conduct a silent auction by Gate 1, Gate 3 and inside the Cardinals Club through the fifth inning.  All proceeds will benefit Cardinals Care and the MLBPAA.

Friday, September 14, 2018 — Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (7:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 5:15 p.m.

Replica 1928 Jersey Giveaway: 30,000 fans ages 16 and older, can help honor the 90-year anniversary of the 1928 season by taking home a one-of-a-kind 1928 replica jersey, featuring pinstripes and a throwback Cardinals logo.  Presented by Old Dominion Freight Line. #CardsPromo 

80s Theme Night: Go Crazy Folks, Go Crazy!  We’re going back in time to celebrate 80s Night at Busch Stadium.  With the purchase of a special Theme Ticket, fans will receive an exclusive 80s-themed Cardinals dugout jacket.  Come early for a rad pregame concert by That 80’s Band in Budweiser Terrace.  In honor of a favorite 80s movie, Back to the Future, a portion of each ticket sold will be donated to Team Gateway To A Cure, benefiting the Michael J. Fox Foundation and Caregivers Support Groups.  To purchase tickets, visit cardinals.com/80s.  #CardsTheme

Cardinals en Español: Tonight’s game will be broadcast over the radio in Spanish by Polo Ascencio and Bengie Molina.  The Spanish broadcast will air locally on WIJR 880 AM and be streamed via cardinals.com & the MLB.com At Bat mobile app.  #STLCardenales or #SomosSTL

Artifact Spotlight: Before every Friday home game, the Cardinals Museum highlights artifacts in the collection not currently on display during a pregame presentation inside the Museum at 3:00 & 3:30.  Today’s featured item relates to Hall of Fame first baseman and 1928 MVP, Jim Bottomley. To purchase museum tickets, visit cardinals.com/museum.  #CardsMuseum

Flashback Friday: Before every Friday home game at 4:00 p.m., the Cardinals Museum will host a presentation about Cardinals history or a museum-related topic from one of the Museum’s staff members, a former player or a visiting author.  Today’s presentation will be led by former Cardinals pitcher Woody Williams.  To purchase museum tickets, visit cardinals.com/museum.  #CardsMuseum

Cardinals Care 50/50 Raffle: One lucky fan will receive 50% of the gross proceeds from tonight’s raffle ticket donations.  The other half will benefit Cardinals Care.  For more info and past winning raffle numbers, visit cardinals.com/5050.  #CardsCare5050

Cardinals Care Stadium Auction: Auction tables will be located at Gates 1 and 3, inside the Cardinals Club, UMB Champions Club and Redbird Club for fans and collectors to obtain specialty Cardinals items while helping support the programs that Cardinals Care provides to youth in the community.  #CardsCare

MLBPAA Auction: The MLB Players Alumni Association will conduct a silent auction by Gate 1, Gate 3 and inside the Cardinals Club through the fifth inning.  All proceeds will benefit Cardinals Care and the MLBPAA.

Saturday, September 15, 2018 — Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (12:05 p.m.)

Gates open at 10:05 a.m.

Replica 2013 Mystery NL Championship Ring Giveaway: 30,000 fans ages 16 and older, will receive a replica 2013 National League Champion mystery player ring, courtesy of Edward Jones.  The individual player rings will celebrate a few of the top layers from the 2013 team including Yadier Molina, Matt Holliday, Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha Matt Carpenter.  #CardsPromo

Saturday Signings at the Museum: Former Cardinals pitcher Woody Williams will sign autographs at the Cardinals Museum from 9:00-11:00 a.m.  Visit cardinals.com/museum for more information.  #CardsMuseum

Cardinals en Español: Today’s game will be broadcast over the radio in Spanish by Polo Ascencio and Bengie Molina.  The Spanish broadcast will air locally on WIJR 880 AM and be streamed via cardinals.com & the MLB.com At Bat mobile app.  #STLCardenales or #SomosSTL

Cardinals Care 50/50 Raffle: One lucky fan will receive 50% of the gross proceeds from today’s raffle ticket donations.  The other half will benefit Cardinals Care.  For more info and past winning raffle numbers, visit cardinals.com/5050.  #CardsCare5050

MLBPAA Auction: The MLB Players Alumni Association will conduct a silent auction by Gate 1, Gate 3 and inside the Cardinals Club through the fifth inning.  All proceeds will benefit Cardinals Care and the MLBPAA.

#Join4Joe Bone Marrow Donor Drive: This marks the 3rd year of the #Join4Joe Bone Marrow Donor Drive, which is held each year in remembrance of Cardinals beat writer, Joe Strauss. Representatives from Be the Match will be in Ford Plaza and Budweiser Terrace to help fans sign up to receive a Bone Marrow Donor Kit. For more info visit cardinals.com/join4joe.

Sunday, September 16, 2018 — Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (7:05 p.m.)

Gates open at 5:05 p.m.

Mark McGwire Bobblehead Giveaway: 30,000 fans ages 16 and older, will take home their very own Mark McGwire bobblehead commemorating the 20-year anniversary of Big Mac’s record-breaking 62nd home run, courtesy of Coca-Cola and Dierbergs. #CardsPromo

Prairie Farms Ice Cream Sunday: Starting two hours prior to the game, bring the entire family to Ford Plaza for games, prizes and free North Star frozen treats (while supplies last).

Fiesta Cardenales Theme Event: The Cardinals welcome all members of the Latino and Hispanic community for a cultural celebration during Hispanic Heritage Month.  With the purchase of a special Theme Ticket, fans will receive a one-of-a-kind Cardenales cap.  A portion of each ticket sold will benefit the Hispanic Education Cultural & Scholarship Foundation.  Come early for a pregame event featuring current Cardinals players and music in Budweiser Terrace.  To purchase tickets, visit cardinals.com/fiesta.  #CardsTheme

Cardinals en Español: Today’s game will be broadcast over the radio in Spanish by Polo Ascencio and Bengie Molina.  The Spanish broadcast will air locally on WIJR 880 AM and be streamed via cardinals.com & the MLB.com At Bat mobile app.  #STLCardenales or #SomosSTL

Cardinals Care 50/50 Raffle: One lucky fan will receive 50% of the gross proceeds from today’s raffle ticket donations.  The other half will benefit Cardinals Care.  For more info and past winning raffle numbers, visit cardinals.com/5050.  #CardsCare5050

MLBPAA Auction: The MLB Players Alumni Association will conduct a silent auction by Gate 1, Gate 3 and inside the Cardinals Club through the fifth inning.  All proceeds will benefit Cardinals Care and the MLBPAA.

That’s all for now!  Thanks as always for reading and see you next time!

Diane

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Trade deadline thoughts

DeadlineSorry I haven’t posted more.  It’s really discouraging watching the Cards play.  I’m a glass-half-filled kind of gal, so it’s hard to find something to write about when your team is playing badly.  One can only complain so much before it gets tiresome, and I love my loyal readers too much to subject them to too much negativity.

As you probably know, the trade deadline is August 1 (since July 31st is a Sunday), which is exciting yet scary at the same time. So are the Cards are sellers or buyers at the trade deadline?  Despite playing badly, the Cards are currently in line for the second wild card slot and are also in second place in the N.L. Central.  A Cubs collapse/Cards surge could mean another division title.  A key acquisition or two could make all the difference to get to the playoffs.

So if the Cards are buyers, what do they have to offer in a trade?  The Cards have an option on Jaime Garcia.  When Jaime starts, you never know if you’re going to get Good Jaime or Bad Jaime.  When Jaime is good, he’s very, very good, but when Jaime is bad, he’s awful.  Jaime should be some other team’s problem.

Kolten Wong is another player who may be better off with a change of venue.  There is a lot of pressure here for him to succeed, and Kolten appears to not handle pressure well.  The only negative about trading Kolten is the 5 year contract he signed earlier this year. It was meant to give Kolten a vote of confidence, but it doesn’t appear to have worked out that way. If Kolten is traded, the Cards may have to eat some of Kolten’s contract for the deal to work. Jedd Gyorko and/or Greg Garcia can take Kolten’s place at second, or there is another alternative, which I’ll discuss below.

Matt Adams’ shortcoming is that he only plays one position.  He would be a great DH for an American League team.  If the Cards could trade Adams to an AL team for a good player, I would be all over that trade.  Brandon Moss could move to left field and Matt Holliday could play first, which could possibly extend his career beyond this season.

The Cards do not need two center fielders.  If you melded Randall Grichuk and Tommy Pham into one person, you’d likely have a great center fielder.  However, since we can’t, one of these guys needs to leave, and I think it should be Tommy Pham.  Tommy is older and is injury prone.  If you need a second outfielder in case of injury, Stephen Piscotty can play center and Jeremy Hazelbaker can play right field.  There are a lot of fans who would like to see Carlos Gonzales patrol right field (and Piscotty would then become the CF), but he would probably bring a very high price tag.

One player whose name has been bandied about as trade bait is prospect Alex Reyes. I really don’t think the team should give him up.  A team should not give up an exciting prospect pitcher  The Cards should, however, call Reyes up in September when rosters expand to gear up for the playoffs, and get him some major league experience.

So what do the Cardinals need in order to get to the playoffs?  They need a good set-up pitcher.  Jerome Williams, who the Cards recently brought up from Memphis, is not the answer.

I have heard that Aledmys Diaz’ natural position is second base, so if Wong is traded, Diaz could move to second. Not all of Diaz’ errant throws can be blamed on rookie mistakes, perhaps. Peralta could then go back to shortstop, or a good shortstop could be acquired.  This could also help with the defense problems in the Cards’ infield.

The Cards could also use Mother Nature to cooperate and not force rain outs. Today’s doubleheader is the second in two weeks. Last week’s doubleheader was a day-night double, which gives the players a break between games; however, today’s doubleheader is a true doubleheader. The doubleheaders and game delays wreak havoc with a pitching rotation.  Calling Mike Mayers up from the minors as a fill-in ended up as a major humiliation in front of a national audience.  I sure hope he can recover from it.

That’s all for now! Thanks as always for reading and I’ll see you next time!

Diane

The good and bad of spring training 2016

ST2016I looked at the calendar today and was amazed to discover that the regular season starts in less than two weeks!  I’ve been really busy at work the last few weeks, so the time has flown.  I’ve had a little time to reflect on what has happened to the Cardinals during spring training this year.  Here are my thoughts:

The good:

Seung Hwan Oh. This has been one of Mo’s better off-season pickups.  Not only does Oh have a surname worthy of many catchy tweets, but he is a wicked pitcher as well.  He has only given up 1 hit and 1 run in spring training.  He is well deserving of the nickname The Final Boss.  Oh has asked Cards fans to think up a new nickname for him.  I can only think of one – O-o-o-o-o-h Baby! I am looking forward to seeing him pitch in the regular season.

Brayan Peña.  Peña is another one of Mo’s great off-season pickups.  He will be a better than average back up for Yadi when he needs a day off, or if Yadi can’t start the regular season.  Peña’s lively personality is contagious and will be a great addition to the team. He’s a fan favorite no matter what team he’s playing for, as you can see if you follow Peña on Twitter.  If you  haven’t yet read Peña’s story about how he defected from Cuba, check it out here.

Jedd Gyorko.  The Cards needed a good backup infield player after Pete Kozma was released.  Jon Jay was traded to the Padres for Gyorko, and this was a really good deal. The Cards had an overload of outfielders, so Jay was expendable.  Gyorko can play a variety of infield positions, which came in handy after Jhonny Peralta got hurt (see below).

Matt Holliday at first base.  I admit to being skeptical about this at first (pun intended).  Holliday has been patrolling left field for years now.  But it’s not like it hasn’t been done before.  As Mark Tomasik wrote about last week on his Retrosimba blog, none other than Stan the Man himself was converted from an outfielder to a first baseman.  And don’t forget about Albert Pujols’ conversion from left field to first base.  Brandon Moss and Matt Adams are still battling for the first base position, so any time that Holliday would be playing at first would probably be minimal. However, playing first would be a great way for Holliday to extend his career – that is, unless and until the DH finally comes to the National League.

The bad:

The spring training standings.  The Cards have lost the last 8 spring training games in a row.  There are three ways to look at spring training standings:  1.  These games don’t count anyway, so I’m not worried about it; 2.  The team is not playing well during spring training, and that will carry over to the regular season; or 3.  The team is playing really well and that bodes well for the regular season.  I am starting to get a little concerned about the spring training standings.  It’s pretty sad that a bracket-type contest to determine the best Cardinals blogger Twitter account is getting more attention than the Cards’ spring training season itself.

The offense.  Second verse, same as the first.  The Cards appear to be in the same offensive funk that ended their playoff run last season. One wonders how long it will take before someone figures out that John Mabry is the reason for the team’s offense problems.  This is Baseball 101 – you can’t win games unless you score runs.  Mike Matheny has stated that he wants to see more stolen bases this year and more aggressiveness on the base paths.  Gee, that sounds familiar – oh wait, that’s Whiteyball.  Home runs are nice, but I enjoy watching small ball as well.

Jhonny Peralta.  It always seems like the Cards have at least one player get injured during spring training, and this year is no exception.  On March 5  in a game against the Marlins, Peralta injured his thumb while fielding a ball. It’s the same injury that Yadi had with his thumb. Hopefully, Jhonny won’t have to have 2 surgeries like Yadi had.  Jhonny’s injury led to Mo signing Ruben Tejada, recently released by the Mets, to compete for the shortstop position.

The Cards didn’t have a game scheduled for today, and they have no more days off for the rest of spring training.  Hopefully, the team will start winning and get the momentum they need to start the regular season on a good note.

Thanks for reading! See you next time!

Diane