Not our year

Sad baseballI have watched the Cardinals play this season, and I have come to the conclusion that this year is not our year.  I know what you’re thinking.  Diane, the 2011 Cardinals were 11 ½ games out and they managed to get into the playoffs and win the World Series.  But that was a different manager and a different team.  There are only 6 players from that 2011 team on the 2016 team – Adams, Holliday, Wainwright, Lance Lynn, Jaime Garcia and Molina. Molina is playing well.  Wainwright is starting to return to form, but Adams is only now starting to hit better and Holliday is showing his age.  It’s hard to tell what Jaime Garcia you’re going to get when he starts – Good Jaime or Bad Jaime.  And Lance Lynn is on the DL for the year after Tommy John surgery.  Also, the only coaches left from that 2011 team are Derek Liliquist and Jose Oquendo.

The Cards are playing this year like teams who never make the playoffs; for example, the Phillies.  The Cubs are in first in the NL Central and they’re playing like a team who wants to win. As a Cards fan, I hate to admit it, but this could finally be the Cubs’ year.

Let’s look at an overview of the Cards’ performance this season.  Lowlights – there are many.  Ruben Tejada pitching in relief may have been when the season jumped the shark. Rosenthal is experimenting with pitches while he’s trying to save a game, like at the game I was at last Saturday.  Matt Holliday’s batting average has been sinking like a rock (although he did hit a home run today), and Mike Matheny refuses to move him from the third spot in the batting order.  Jhonny Peralta’s thumb injury put a major monkey wrench in the season, but hopefully, he will be back soon.  Jose Oquendo  has really been missed in the third base box and his absence has contributed to some terrible baserunning errors.  Michael Wacha’s mechanics are seriously messed up.  He should be sent to the minor leagues for some work. Carlos Martinez started the season strong, but he has not pitched well at all in his last few starts.  And how is it that Kolten Wong can make spectacular plays seem routine but mess up routine plays?

Highlights – there are a few.  Aledmys Diaz has impressed with his bat, but he is still making rookie mistakes with his glove.  Molina’s batting average is much better this year. Stephen Piscotty has been a shining star, making us forget Jason Heyward.   Seung Hwan Oh was John Mozeliak’s best off-season pick up.  He has been lights out in relief. Unfortunately, Oh showed he really was human in today’s game when he gave up three runs and a home run. Perhaps Oh should be the closer instead of Rosenthal?

This has not been my year either.  The presidential candidate I backed dropped out of the race, and I was passed over for a job I really wanted and was recommended for, along with some other personal things going on in my life that it’s not necessary to talk about here.  Cardinals baseball is a great distraction when things go south in my personal life, but this year, the Cards are not playing well so I don’t even have that.  Can we just turn back the calendar to January 1, 2016 and have a do-over?

Cards fans have seen their team go to the playoffs for the last few years and we are spoiled.  We’ve forgotten how to handle it when our team is bad.  So if you have the opportunity to attend a Cards game this season, go to have fun hanging out with your friends and/or family.  Just don’t expect to see winning baseball.  If the Cards do win, that’s a plus.

I realize that it’s almost the end of May and there still may be time to rescue the sinking S.S. Cardinals ship.  If the Cards can resurrect this season and make the playoffs, I’ll be happy to eat my words.  Just write them in icing on a large chocolate chip cookie, please.

That’s all for now!  Hopefully, I will have a more upbeat blog post next time.  See you then!

Diane

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

extraThere was lots of news yesterday on the Cardinals front, some of it bad and some of it good. Where should I start – the bad news or the good news?  I believe it’s best to get the bad news out of the way first.

Late yesterday afternoon, the Cardinals announced that Lance Lynn had undergone Tommy John surgery and would be out for the entire 2016 season.  Perhaps this explains all the pitching trouble that Lance had during the last few weeks of the season and during the NLDS.

Without Lynn, the 2016 lineup looks like this:  Wainwright, Wacha, Lackey (if signed), Martinez, and Garcia.  But what happens if one of these pitchers is injured?   Alex Reyes would not be able to be brought up from the minors for a while, since he will be serving a 40 game suspension (10 games’ suspension will be for fall league games) in the because marijuana was detected in his drug test. Tyler Lyons showed grit and determination in his starts last season and it earned him a place on the postseason roster.  I would like to see him get another chance to pitch in the majors next season.  If any of the starting rotation pitchers are injured, Lyons should be the first one to be called up.

Fellow blogger Tom Knuppel (Cardinals GM) asked on Twitter and Facebook whether Trevor Rosenthal could be converted to a starter.  I replied that Rosey almost gives me a heart attack pitching in the ninth inning.  My poor heart couldn’t handle him being a starter.

Lynn’s surgery really throws a monkey wrench in the Cards’ offseason plans. Any hopes of letting Lackey go or trading Garcia are out of the question now.  I would like to see the Cards resign Lackey at the very least, even if only for a one year contract.

In other bad news, fan favorite Lou Brock had surgery yesterday to amputate his leg below the knee due to complications from an infection related to diabetes.  How ironic that the Cards’ best base stealer ever had to have part of one of his legs amputated.  I wish you Godspeed and quick healing, Lou, and I hope we will see you walk on the Busch Stadium infield with the rest of the Hall of Fame members on Opening Day 2016. Lan

Now for the good news – yes, there is some.  Yesterday evening, both Yadier Molina and Jason Heyward won Gold Gloves.  It was Yadi’s eighth Gold Glove in a row and Jason’s second. Both players are well deserving of their awards.  But the Cards should have negotiated to resign Heyward before the Gold Gloves were given out – Heyward’s asking price has just gone up.

Cards manager Mike Matheny was nominated for the Manager of the Year award yesterday.  In other years, Mike would be a shoo-in for this award for leading the team to 100 wins with all the injuries and the Oscar Tavares tragedy.  However, the other nominees are Joe Maddon and Terry Collins.  Maddon led the Cubs to their first NLCS since 2003 and Collins led the Mets to the World Series for the first time since 2000.  I predict Maddon will win the MOY award.

If you are interested in learning more about the Cardinals’ farm system and you’re in the St. Louis area, visit the Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum for a special exhibit on the history of the Cardinals’ farm system.  Here’s some more information:

On Saturday, November 21, the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum will open a new exhibit entitled “Farming the Business of Cardinals Baseball” which celebrates the rich history of the franchise’s minor league system. This display, which replaces last year’s special exhibition “Stan Musial: ‘The Man’ Off the Field,” will be previewed Friday, November 20, during an exclusive ticketed event with General Manager John Mozeliak.

The Cardinals developed baseball’s first successful farm system based on Branch Rickey’s concept in the early 1920s and few ideas have had a more dramatic impact on the game,” said Bill DeWitt III, President of the St. Louis Cardinals. “We take great pride in our farm system and the impact our homegrown players have had on our franchise history; we’re looking forward to sharing those stories with our fans.”   

“Farming the Business of Cardinals Baseball” features over 100 artifacts which bring to life the rich history of the franchise’s farm system from the 1920s through today. Exhibit highlights include Branch Rickey’s 1919 road jersey worn while managing the Cardinals; George Kissell’s hand-written pocket-sized coaching manual – the genesis for the club’s organizational guidelines that are still in use today (on loan from the Kissell family); a game-worn barnstorming jersey from Jim Bottomley, the first superstar from the farm system; Dave Duncan’s pitching chart of rookie hurler Bud Smith’s no-hitter in 2001; top prospect Oscar Taveras’ Carlos Martinez-model bat used during the 2014 season; an original eight-foot-by-five-foot banner featuring the Hamilton, Ontario, Canada farm team that flew over Sportsman’s Park circa 1954; and much more.

A limited number of tickets remain for the exclusive exhibit preview on Friday, November 20. With the purchase of a $60 ticket ($50 for museum members), fans receive a private, after-hours first look at the exhibit with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the Cardinals Museum, a farm-to-table dinner buffet and drinks in the Hall of Fame Club at Cardinals Nation, and an after-dinner Q&A session with General Manager John Mozeliak and broadcaster Dan McLaughlin. For more information or to purchase event tickets, fans can visit cardinals.com/museum.

The Cardinals Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the offseason. The special exhibit, which is open to the public from November 21, through the conclusion of the 2016 baseball season, is free with the cost of museum admission. To purchase Cardinals Museum tickets or learn more about museum membership, visit cardinals.com/museum.    

Thanks for reading and see you next time!

Diane

The infirmary is getting full

Infirmary1The Cards certainly have had their share of injuries this season, haven’t they?  Waino tore his Achilles tendon and Matt Adams suffered a Grade 4 tear of his right quad, effectively ending their seasons. Reliever Jordan Walden is also on the DL. Matt Holliday went on the disabled list earlier this week with a Grade 2 tear of his right quad. Lance Lynn reported discomfort in his right forearm, so he was evaluated and he has been put on the 15 day DL.  Even with all these injuries, however, the Cards have kept on battling and they still have the best record in baseball.  A lesser team would crumble under all this adversity, but not our Cards. Let’s hope that Lynn and Holliday recover soon and that there be no more injuries to our guys this season.

Tyler Lyons has been called up from Memphis to replace Lynn and he will take Lynn’s scheduled start tomorrow evening.  Here’s all the details on that:

CARDINALS PITCHER LANCE LYNN PLACED ON 15-DAY D.L.;

LEFTY TYLER LYONS RECALLED FROM MEMPHIS (AAA) & WILL START TOMORROW

ST. LOUIS, Mo., June 12, 2015 – The St. Louis Cardinals announced prior to tonight’s game that they have placed right-handed pitcher Lance Lynn (right forearm strain) on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to June 8, and have recalled left-handed pitcher Tyler Lyons from Memphis (AAA).

Manager Mike Matheny has tabbed Lyons to start tomorrow afternoon’s game against Kansas City.

Lyons, 27, will be making his second appearance of the season with the Cardinals, after having made three starts (13.0 IP/17 strikeouts) from May 5-16.  

Following his option to Memphis on May 16, Lyons has been one of the top pitchers in the Pacific Coast League, going 3-1 with a 2.36 ERA (26.2 IP/7 ER) his last four starts at Triple-A.   Lyons’ overall mark at Memphis is 5-2 with a 2.61 ERA (7th in PCL) in eight starts, striking out 56 (6th) while walking only nine in his 48.1 innings of work.

The 6-4, 200-pound Lyons was named Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week for the week ending June7 after going 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA (13.0 IP) in two starts last week.   It was the third such honor during his career, the most ever by a Memphis Redbirds pitcher.

Lyons overall mark in the majors stands at 2-8 with a 4.73 ERA in 26 games (15 starts).  He faced the Royals in his 2nd career start on May 28, 2013 in a 4-1 win at Kauffman Stadium, allowing just one run on two hits in 7.0 IP.

Lyons wears uniform no. 70.

Lynn joins Adam Wainwright, Jordan Walden, Matt Adams and Matt Holliday among Cardinals currently on the disabled list.

Thanks for reading! See you next time!

Diane

Random thoughts and observations on the 6/2/15 game

M-STLI was fortunate enough to have attended last night’s game. It was quite an entertaining game.  We had great seats in section 248, which are the best seats I’ve ever had in Busch Stadium III.  They were behind home plate, the next level up from the field box seats in the Home Redbird Club. You could hear the ball hit the catcher’s mitt and the ball crack the bat.  If Joe West had made his calls any louder, we could have heard them too.

Speaking of Joe West, if his strike zone had been any bigger, you could have driven a Mack truck through it.  Matt Holliday was right to argue the called strike 3 and the Gameday graphic of his at bat backs him up.  Mike Matheny came out to back up Holliday (and hopefully cool him down), but sadly, both of them were ejected.  It was also Holliday’s last at-bat, so his on-base streak of 45 games ended with the botched call.

One of the benefits of baseball’s slow pace is that you can check Twitter and Facebook on your smartphone between batters.  There were various Joe West memes flooding Twitter and Facebook last night. One of my favorite memes consisted of 2 of the same photos of West ejecting Matheny side by side and in the second photo West’s head is replaced by Grumpy Cat’s head.  I think Grumpy Cat would object to that, however, and it might even be copyright infringement. Joe West needs retire for good.  There needs to be a definite retirement age for umpires, if there isn’t one already.

There was an amusing play in the fourth inning when three of the Brewers, who were chasing a foul ball hit by Matt Carpenter, and two of them (Segura and Ramirez) tumbled into the third base field box seats.  It reminded me of a Cubs play.

Yadi has lost too much weight, I think; he almost looks anorexic.  I wonder if the weight loss has affected his hitting.  The weight loss is good for his knees, but not for his hitting.  His timing is off at the plate.  He is swinging at the first pitch too much, although he did a little better today.

And speaking of hitting, where is the offense?  Grichuk went 2 for 3.  The Cards hit into 3 double plays, and didn’t have a runner in scoring position after the second inning. It would have been nice to have some of those runs from today’s game last night.

Lance Lynn did a masterful job pitching with only 1 run in support, and the BFIB cheered loudly when Matheny took him out and put Kevin Siegrist in.  Lynn acknowledged the fans’ love by tipping his hat to us.  He certainly is a class act.

Trevor Rosenthal did his usual job of making me a nervous wreck when he pitches.  In the bottom of the ninth, there were runners on first and third and only one out.  Thankfully, Kolten Wong and Kevin Reynolds turned an excellent double play and the fireworks went off.

Since the son and I took the Metrolink, we didn’t get home until almost 11 PM  But we had a good time, even though I was dragging at work today.  We had a great time.

Thanks for reading! See you next time!

Diane