The top 5 Cardinals stories of 2014

Top 5Believe it or not, 2014 is almost over and 2015 is right around the corner.  I’m so glad 2014 is almost over:  it was not a good year and I’m hoping that 2015 is a better year.  The United Cardinals Bloggers project for December is our choice of the Top 5 Cardinals stories of the year.  Without further ado, here are mine:

1.  The Joe Kelly-Allen Craig trade to the Red Sox. This trade shook up the team and made them realize that no player is indispensable, even if the players on the trade block are very popular with their teammates.  Kelly fell from grace during a game he started on July 29. Craig never did fully recover from the injury that kept him out of the 2013 playoffs; in fact, after the trade to the Red Sox, he reinjured his foot.  Note to husband: We must never go on vacation during the trade deadline ever again. Thank goodness for Twitter.

2.  The tragic death of Oscar Tavares. Oscar’s death at such a young age was tragic enough (which is covered in greater detail here), but when the results of the autopsy indicated that Oscar’s blood alcohol level was  .287,  his death was even more tragic.  Oscar had great potential that was wasted, and a young girl’s life was also lost due to his terrible mistake.  It bears repeating since New Year’s Eve is tomorrow night:  don’t drink and drive.

3.  The opening of Ballpark Village/Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum. Ballpark Village is a great gathering place before, during, and after a game. It’s a great place to grab a bite to eat even when there isn’t a game, with a varied selection of restaurants.  The outdoor portion of BPV that replicates Busch Stadium II has hosted movies, yoga classes and other events.  I covered the Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum in greater detail here, and it’s a great place to see Cardinals memorabilia.

4.  The anemic offense. If the Brewers hadn’t tanked in September, the Cards wouldn’t have made the playoffs at all. Amazingly, the Cards’ home runs increased dramatically during the playoffs.   Hopefully, this power shortage will be addressed in spring training.

5.  The trade for Jason Heyward. Due to the event of item #2, there was a figurative hole in right field.  Randall Grichuk is a promising player, but GM John Mozeliak felt that someone with more experience was needed to play in right field every day.  So Mo traded Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins to the Braves for Jason Hayward and RH relief pitcher Jordan Walden.

As we reach the end of another year, I’d like to thank my loyal readers for reading this blog over the years.  Here’s wishing you a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2015!

Diane

My thoughts on the trade deadline deal

I was out of town last week on vacation, but thanks to Twitter, I could follow the trade deadline deal that GM John Mozeliak made for the Cardinals and all the reactions made by others. (Note to self: Never go on vacation out of town during trade deadline week again. If by chance I am on vacation, stay home.) Now that I’ve had a few days to think about the trades that were made, here are my thoughts.

I think that it was good that Mo traded for John Lackey and Justin Masterson without giving up any good prospects. You don’t want to give up your future to get rental players. Lackey is signed for the rest of this season and he has indicated that he will pitch for the Cards next year as well. Mo was doing James Ramsey a favor by trading him to the Indians. The Cardinals have a logjam of outfield prospects.

Allen Craig was not having a good season before the trade. His RBI production was way off. I think he wasn’t fully healed from the ankle injury last year. In fact, Craig went on the DL today for a foot injury. Mo knew what he was doing here.

Joe Kelly’s pitching performance last Tuesday night was brutal. It was like he was throwing batting practice. I think it was either Kelly or Shelby Miller that was going to be traded and Kelly’s performance sealed the deal.

For those who are sad about Craig and Kelly’s departure, remember that baseball is a business. In the business world, if you don’t perform up to your employer’s standards, you are fired. In baseball, if a player doesn’t meet the team’s needs or he performs poorly, he is traded, released or sent down to the minors. If a player has made it to the major league level, he is a professional and needs to play like one. A player is judged on his performance, but he is cut some slack for a while if he is injured.

Trades like these are why I don’t get attached to too many players. I learned my lesson with Albert Pujols. I am more a fan of the team as a whole rather than any particular players, although I am fond of Yadi. If I ever had the funds to purchase a Cardinals jersey, I would only buy a Cardinals jersey with either my name and favorite number on the back or a retired player’s name and number on the back, like Stan Musial. That’s a big investment to make for a player who may not stay with the team.

Lackey’s and Masterson’s starts this weekend went pretty well, since the Cardinals won both of them. In an interesting turn of events, Miller and Kelly will start against each other Wednesday night. They were the best man in each other’s weddings, and ESPN will run with that drama.

So goodbye Allen and Joe, and thanks for the memories. Good luck with your new team. Welcome AJ, John and Justin. I’m already enjoying watching you play for the Cards and wish you well.

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading! See you next time!

Diane

The 7-10 split

In bowling, the 7-10 split is the hardest to convert to a spare.  You have to hit either the 7 or 10 pin hard enough and at just the right angle so that the pin jumps across and hits the other pin to knock it down.

The Cardinals and the Pirates have split the first two games of the NLDS.  In today’s game, the Pirates are starting their best pitcher, Francisco Liriano.  Game 3 is at PNC Park, where the Cardinals have had difficulty winning this season.  The Cards will have to work hard to overcome Liriano’s excellent pitching skills.

But the Cards counter today with pitcher Joe Kelly, who has a 10-2 record in his last 15 outings.  Kelly was the pitcher who stopped the Cards’ longest losing streak in August.  The last seven of Kelly’s wins have been after a Cardinals loss.  Kelly also has a 5-1 record on the road.  During  two appearances at PNC Park, he limited the Bucs to 7 hits, 6 walks and one earned run.  Joe will have to be the stopper again today, or the Bucs will have a 2 game lead in this series and the momentum will tip in their favor.

For the Cards to win today, Kelly will have to be dominant and the Cards’ bats will need to get hot.  The Cards will need to be patient at the plate and wait for good pitches to  hit, because Liriano will not give them much to hit.  The Cards’ defense will have to be sharp today as well.

So which pin will jump over and knock the other pin down to get the series lead, the Cards or the Bucs?  Here’s hoping the Cards looked carefully at how they lost on Friday, saw where they went wrong, and use that information to beat Pittsburgh today.  I’m looking forward to this game today, and I hope you are too.  Thanks for reading!  See you next time!

Diane