The perfect lineup (with 1 subtraction)

My fellow Cardinals bloggers and I complain on Twitter night after night Scan0004about manager Mike Matheny’s constant lineup changes.  The lineup is never the same from one night to the next.  Even the casual fan can see the lack of results that this constant changing produces.  But last night, it appeared that Mike spun the wheels on the lineup machine and finally hit the right jackpot.  Here was the lineup for last night’s game:

Carpenter 1B

Gyorko 2B

Moss LF

Piscotty RF

Molina C

Peralta 3B

Grichuk CF

G. Garcia SS

Martinez P

And lo and behold, Mike is using this same lineup in tonight’s game as well, with Waino pitching.  See how easy that was?   Carpenter celebrated being back in the leadoff spot last night by hitting a home run.  Stephen Piscotty and Randall Grichuk hit home runs too, and the Cardinals beat the Mets 8-1.  It was a fun game and even though I was at Bible study, I stealthily looked at my AtBat app to see how the game was going.  Yadi getting caught trying to steal third, however – no, Yadi, don’t do that anymore, or I will have to tweet at your brother Bengie to get on you about that.

I think this lineup should be on the field every night for the rest of the season, and even into the playoffs, if these Cards should get that far.  The only subtraction that I would make is when Aledmys Diaz returns from the disabled list, he would go in Garcia’s spot, and of course, the pitcher varies every game.

Garcia, Matt Adams, and Kolten Wong could come off the bench to pinch hit or spell one of the regular infielders if they need a night off or get hurt (God forbid – the disabled list has been overcrowded this season).  Matt Holliday and Jeremy Hazelbaker could do the same for the outfielders.  Tommy Pham – the jury’s still out on him.

A couple of random thoughts: Could Jaime Garcia just be released now instead of the end of the season when his option is up?  It’s bad enough that you don’t know whether you’re going to get Good Jaime or Bad Jaime when it’s his turn in the rotation.  Lately, however, only Bad Jaime has shown up to pitch.  Alex Reyes has shown that he’s more than ready to be a starter in the show.  Maybe I’m being selfish, but since my son and I will be going to the game on Sunday (which is Jaime’s next start), it would be really great to see Alex’s debut as a starter.

And why, with the exception of Martinez, are our pitchers not ready to pitch in the first inning?  It never fails that the other team starts scoring in the first inning.  The Cards have to start playing catch up already in the bottom of the first.  Are the pitchers not getting enough throwing time before the games?  Or are they getting too much throwing time?  Could the pitchers not be mentally ready to go in the first inning? That appears to be something that Derek Lilliquist needs to work on with them. This problem needs to be solved ASAP.

On Saturday, August 27,  Chris Carpenter, Joe Torre, Sam Breadon and Terry Moore will be inducted in the Cardinals Hall of Fame.  The ceremony starts at 2 PM at Fox Sports Midwest Live in Ballpark Village.  The doors open at 11 AM, so get there early to wait in line. Last year, my son and I didn’t get there until 12 noon and we had to share a table with some other folks. I told him we needed to get there earlier.  One of these days, he’ll learn to listen to me.  However, if you can’t make it, Fox Sports Midwest will show the ceremony on Sunday, August 28 at 11:30 a.m.  If you’re at the ceremony, find me and say hi – I always love to meet folks who read my blog.

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

Diane

Those banged-up Birds

Bandaged birdThere sure have been a lot of injuries with the Cardinals players in the last month.  Here is the list of the more recently banged-up Birds and their injuries, taken from the injury report on the Cardinals’ website:

Matt Holliday – right thumb fracture, undergoing surgery on 8/18/16

Aledmys Diaz – right thumb fracture

Seth Maness – torn right ulnar collateral ligament, undergoing Tommy John surgery on 8/18/16

Matt Adams – right shoulder inflammation

Michael Wacha – right shoulder inflammation

Tyler Lyons – right knee stress reactions

Trevor Rosenthal – right shoulder inflammation

And this short list doesn’t include the players on the 60 day disabled list, who won’t be cleared to play until 2017.  After looking at all the injuries, I think it’s a good thing that there’s a 40 man roster.  I half expect Adam Wainwright to be added to the disabled list  soon – he hasn’t looked right since he pitched that complete game last month. And pitchers need to stop throwing at our players too.

It’s interesting that three players are on the disabled list for right shoulder inflammation. Two are pitchers and the other is a position player.  That’s one of those things that make you go “hmm.” Hypothetical question – are the Cards’ strength and conditioning staff not doing their job adequately?

Another cause of injuries could be that the season may be just too darn long.  Major League Baseball has one of the most strenuous and lengthy seasons in sports. Hockey has long regular and playoff seasons as well, but hockey games aren’t scheduled every night of the week.  There are 162 regular season baseball games, and teams have few days off every month.  There is the All-Star break;  however, if a player is in the All-Star Game, they then only get a 2 day break.

Before the regular season starts, there is a month of spring training games.  And if your team is lucky enough to make the playoffs, there is a total of 19 playoff games if each series goes the maximum number of games, and an additional play-in game if your team is one of the wild card teams.

That’s a lot of baseball. Sure, we fans love watching all this baseball, but I can see where it can really take a toll on a player’s body, especially a position player that’s in the lineup every day or a pitcher with a high pitching speed.  Maybe it’s time to think about either making the season shorter or playing fewer games during the regular season.  That will probably never happen, however, since the owners enjoy all the revenue from the regular season games and the revenue from the playoff games if their team is talented enough to make the playoffs.

Major League Baseball has one of the most strenuous and lengthy seasons in sports. Hockey has long regular and playoff seasons as well, but hockey games aren’t scheduled every night of the week.  There are 162 regular season baseball games, and teams have few days off, except for the All-Star break. And if a player is in the All-Star Game, they then only get a 2 day break.

Before the regular season starts, there is a month of spring training games.  And if your team is lucky enough to make the playoffs, there is a total of 19 playoff games if each series goes the maximum number of games, and an additional play-in game if your team is one of the wild card teams.

That’s a lot of baseball. Sure, we fans love watching all this baseball, but I can see where it can really take a toll on a player’s body, especially a position player that’s in the lineup every day or a pitcher with a high pitching speed.  Maybe it’s time to think about either making the season shorter or playing fewer games during the regular season.  That will probably never happen, however, since the owners enjoy all the revenue from the regular season games and the revenue from the playoff games if their team is talented enough to make the playoffs.

Thanks for reading! See you next time!

Diane

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

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

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

NLDS ponderings and playoff game schedule

Cubs-CardsIt’s the most wonderful time of  the year!  No, not Christmas (although Christmas is great) – it’s the postseason!  Only 8 teams are good enough to compete in the postseason and the Cards, of course, are one of them.

By now, you hopefully have heard about the roster that Mike Matheny has set up for the NLDS.  If you haven’t, you can click on the link here and listen to Mike read it for yourself.  Notable players missing from the NLDS roster are Matt Adams, Peter Bourjos, Randy Choate and Steve Cishek.  The roster consists of 11 pitchers and 14 position players.  One of those position players is our favorite catcher Yadier Molina, and Cardinals fans everywhere are breathing a big sigh of relief.  You may or may not agree with Mike’s selections, but then again, they don’t pay us to be the manager.

The Cards will be playing the Cubs in the NLDS for the first time.  This is going to be a wild series.  It should make for a very electric atmosphere. Hopefully, there will be no bench brawls like the one in last night’s wild card game.  Hopefully, the fans will behave themselves (I think more the Cubs fans than the Cards fans – Cards fans have more class).  And hopefully, the Cubs will play cleanly and not try to injure any of the Cards’ players. Yours truly will be at Game 1 tomorrow evening. I am so excited, I may not be able to sleep tonight! It is the first playoff game I have ever attended in my over 40 years of being a Cardinals fan.  Since my son Phillip has a job now, he purchased our tickets – thanks, son!   I can now mark this off my Cardinals bucket list.  We will be at the pep rally prior to the game, so look me up!

Speaking of pep rallies, here are all the details about the NLDS and everything that’s going on at Busch Stadium before and after the games, along with some reminders about attending games at Busch Stadium.  There are some new food items and new postseason merchandise.

2015 NLDS at BUSCH STADIUM

St. Louis Cardinals – Chicago Cubs 

How fans can enjoy the historic Division Series matchup and rally support for the Cardinals         

ST. LOUIS, October 08, 2015 – For the third consecutive year, the Cardinals clinched a Central Division championship and punched a ticket back to the National League Division Series. With the best record in baseball, the Cardinals hold home-field advantage for the best-of-five series against the division rival Chicago Cubs. The 11-time World Champion Cardinals are making their fifth consecutive postseason appearance and the 28th postseason appearance in franchise history (#12inSTL). This is the first time in history the Cardinals and Cubs will face each other in the postseason. While there are currently no remaining tickets available for the Division Series games at Busch, fans are encouraged to check back at cardinals.com/postseason or visit our partner site, StubHub.com. Here are details on how fans can enjoy postseason baseball in St. Louis.

GAME SCHEDULE & HIGHLIGHTS

NLDS Game 1 – Friday, October 9, 2015 – Busch Stadium – 5:45 p.m. CT (TBS)

  • 1:45 – 4:15 p.m. Official Cardinals Pep Rally in Ballpark Village Lot, located at Clark and Eighth Street
    • Music by DJ Todd Thomas, entertainment, prizes, and more
    • Appearances by Fredbird, Team Fredbird, a former Cardinal and the FOX Sports Midwest broadcasters
  • Gates open 2 ½ hours prior to first pitch at 3:15 p.m.
  • 40,000 fans receive a Cardinals rally towel courtesy of Mercy, the official healthcare provider of the Cardinals
  • Pregame Ceremony starts at 5:10 p.m., approximately 30 minutes prior to first pitch
    • Budweiser Clydesdales will parade the warning track
    • Introduction of both teams on field
    • National Anthem by 4-Digit Chord, an acapella vocal group of Civilian, Active Duty, and Retired Military volunteers employed at Department of Defense agencies in the St. Louis Metro-East area
    • Colors and flag presented by soldiers from Ft. Leonard Wood
    • Former Cardinals outfielder (2004-2005) Reggie Sanders will throw the ceremonial first pitch. This year marks the 10th anniversary of Sanders’ 2005 NLDS heroics.

 NLDS Game 2 – Saturday, October 10, 2015 – Busch Stadium – 4:37 p.m. CT (TBS)

  • 12:30 – 3 p.m. Official Cardinals Pep Rally in Ballpark Village Lot, located at Clark and Eighth Street
    • Music by DJ Todd Thomas, entertainment, prizes, and more
    • Appearances by Fredbird, Team Fredbird, a former Cardinal player and the FOX Sports Midwest broadcasters
  • Gates open at 2 p.m., approximately 2 ½ hours prior to first pitch
  • 40,000 fans receive a Cardinals rally towel courtesy of Edward Jones
  • Pregame Ceremony starts approximately 30 minutes prior to first pitch at 4 p.m.
    • Budweiser Clydesdales will parade the warning track
    • National Anthem by retired Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Generald Wilson
    • Colors presented by The United States Marines with Recruiting Station St. Louis
    • 2015 Cardinals Hall of Fame Inductee Ted Simmons will throw the ceremonial first pitch

 NLDS Game 3 – Monday, October 12, 2015 – Wrigley Field – Game Time TBD (TBS)

 NLDS Game 4 – Tuesday, October 13, 2015 – Wrigley Field – Game Time TBD (TBS)*(If necessary)

 NLDS Game 5 – Thursday, October 15, 2015 – Busch Stadium – Game Time TBD (TBS) *(If necessary)

  • Official Cardinals Pep Rally in Ballpark Village Lot, located at Clark and Eighth Street; begins approximately 4 hours prior to first pitch and lasts 2 ½ hours
    • Music by DJ Todd Thomas, entertainment, prizes, and more
    • Appearances by Fredbird, Team Fredbird, a former Cardinal player and the FOX Sports Midwest broadcasters
  • Gates will open approximately 2 ½ hours prior to first pitch
  • 40,000 fans receive a Cardinals rally towel courtesy of Phillips 66
  • More info to come

 Watching On TV

Fans can watch the Cardinals’ National League Division Series games on TBS. For channel information, check your local listings. FOX Sports Midwest, the TV home of the Cardinals, will produce postgame shows after all postseason games. Pat Parris will anchor from the network’s Ballpark Village studio, with a rotation of analysts that includes Al Hrabosky, Rick Horton, Jim Edmonds and Brad Thompson.

Radio Coverage

Fans can tune into the flagship station KMOX (1120 AM) and the 140 Cardinals Radio Network stations to hear Mike Shannon & John Rooney call the games. Mike Claiborne will also provide interviews throughout the series. The Cardinals Radio Network pre-game and post-game shows will be hosted by KMOX’s Chris Hrabe from Cardinals Nation in Ballpark Village.  The national broadcast of the NLDS games can also be heard on ESPN Radio (101.1 FM) or SiriusXM Radio.

Social Media

Fans participating in the postseason action on social media can follow the Cardinals at Facebook.com/Cardinals, on Twitter (@Cardinals), on Instagram (@Cardinals) and more. Join the social conversation using #12inSTL.

The Cardinals have also launched a unique #12inStL Fan Video Rally encouraging fans of all ages to rally behind the team during the 2015 Postseason by sharing videos demonstrating their spirit, enthusiasm and support for the team’s quest for a 12th World Series Championship. The first five hundred fans who share a video with the team this postseason will be sent two complimentary official #12inStL Cardinals Rally Bands. For more info visit cardinals.com/fanflix.

Online Or On The Go

Fans can follow every Cardinals Postseason game for free on cardinals.com on their computers and laptops using MLB.com Gameday. The MLB.com At Bat mobile application is the most popular way to follow live Cardinals games on-the-go with scores, stats, schedules, news and analysis. During this year’s Postseason games in the National League, a subscription to At Bat Premium offers fans live radio broadcasts, replay reviews, Statcast, Postseason.TV, video highlights and more. Cardinals fans can download MLB.com At Bat on their favorite smartphones or tablets by visiting the app store or MLB.com.

Driving To The Games

MoDOT has limited roadwork when the Cardinals are at home during the National League Division Playoffs. Currently, fans can expect no significant traffic impacts due to construction on Missouri interstates heading into Busch Stadium or heading home.

Alternative Transportation

MetroLink is a convenient alternative to driving, allowing fans to avoid the cost of parking and game day traffic. Fans can park at any one of 21 free Metro Park-Ride lots in Missouri and Illinois and ride the train to the Stadium MetroLink Station, right across the street from the ballpark. Check the Metro website MetroStLouis.org for schedules and to find the Park-Ride lot nearest you. There are also plenty of buses in Missouri and Illinois that will get fans to Busch Stadium, including the Redbird Express that departs from the Water Tower at St. Clair Square in Fairview Heights, Illinois.  The first Redbird Express leaves 2 1/2 hours before the game and runs approximately every 5 minutes.

 New Concession Items

  • Popcorn Shrimp & Sweet Potato Tater Tots topped with white queso cheese, Sauce Louis, diced green onions and a lemon wedge (Sections, 161, 446 and inside the Redbird Club)

ShrimpSweetPotatoTots2

  • Chicharrones: house-fried pork rinds topped with your selection of nacho cheese, taco beef or BBQ pork, salsa, jalapenos, sour cream, banana peppers and/or diced red and green onions. (Sections 151, 131, 450 and at the Redbird Club Nacho Bar)

PorkRindNachos1

  • The Hill Slugger: 24” DiGregorio local Italian Sausage wrapped in hand-stretched  pizza dough, topped with melted butter and Parmesan, and served with a side of marinara (Section 152 and Redbird Club pizza stand)

HillSlugger3

Postseason Merchandise

  • Busch Stadium Team Store: The Team Store will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.  In addition to standard merchandise, the store will also carry exclusive postseason and Central Division Champions merchandise including hats, t-shirts, pennants, pins and more. A variety of items are also available in ladies and youth sizes. Fans can also buy official t-shirts and hoodies, just like the players wear (#BuschStadiumTeamStore).

         

  •  Cardinals Authentics: Cardinals Authentics is the only place to get official, game-used, limited edition and autographed Cardinals memorabilia directly from the team. Featured items include game-used baseballs, bases, bats and jerseys from the 2015 season, 11X World Series Champions themed items, and exclusive autographed memorabilia. Known as the store where every piece tells a story, Cardinals Authentics has a variety of items to fit every budget. The Cardinals Authentics Store located inside Busch Stadium at Ford Plaza is open 2 hours before game time and a half hour after the game ends. The Cardinals Authentics Shop located inside Cardinals Nation at Ballpark Village is open 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. (or one hour after the game ends) every day of the week. To take home a piece of the game, follow them on Twitter at @CardsAuthentics (#CardsAuthentics) and shop online at cardinalsauthentics.com to take home a piece of the game.
  •  Cardinals Magazine and Cardinals Yearbook:  Celebrate the Cardinals’ return to the postseason by purchasing three keepsake items at Busch Stadium during the Division Series. The new Cardinals Magazine features Yadier Molina, whose work behind the plate guiding baseball’s best starting staff in the regular season garnered praise from teammates, coaches and opponents who all shared insights into baseball’s best defensive catcher. The 2015 Cardinals Yearbook celebrates the history of Cards’ uniform numbers and the legends who made them famous. This 224-page keepsake also includes action and studio portraits of the 2015 Cardinals. Fans can also still pick up the 2015 Scorecard featuring beautiful retro cover art on the cover, team rosters inside and detailed instructions on how to score the “Cardinal Way.” The magazine ($5), yearbook ($15) and scorecard ($2.50) are available at the newly refurbished Cardinals Publications vendor carts inside each stadium gate, at cardinals.com/publications, or 314.345.9000. The magazine and yearbook are also on sale at the team store, Cardinals Authentics, and area retailers like Schnucks, Dierbergs, QT, Walgreens and Cardinals Clubhouse (#CardsMag, #CardsYearbook).

          

Support Cardinals Care

Throughout the postseason, fans will have multiple opportunities to support Cardinals Care, the charitable arm of the team and organization.

Cardinals Care 50/50 Raffle: Fans, ages 18 and older, may play the Cardinals Care 50/50 Raffle by going to any of the seven ticket kiosk locations throughout the stadium from the time gates open until the middle of the 7th inning. One lucky fan will receive 50 percent of the gross proceeds from the game’s raffle ticket donations, and the other half will benefit Cardinals Care, the team’s charitable foundation that helps children. For more info and kiosk locations, visit cardinals.com/5050. (#Raffle4Kids)

Cardinals Care Stadium Auction: Fans have the unique opportunity to bid on exclusive autographed Cardinals memorabilia at every postseason home game. The auction is a great way for fans and collectors alike to obtain specialty Cardinals items while helping support the programs that Cardinals Care provides to youth in the community. The auction tables will be located at Gate 3, Gate 1, Cardinals Club, UMB Champions Club, and in the Redbird Club.

Cardinals Nation Restaurant & Bar

Cardinals Nation, the team’s two-story restaurant in Ballpark Village, rolled out a variety of new menu items and specials just in time for the 2015 postseason (#CardsNation).

  • Tuna Wontons
  • Meatball Sliders
  • BBQ Hawaiian Pizza
  • Meat Lovers Pizza
  • Steakhouse Salad
  • Jerk Chicken Sandwich
  • Buffalo Chicken Wrap
  • Turkey Wrap
  • Ribeye Steak
  • Two Birds on a Plate
  • Porterhouse Pork Chop
  • Spaghetti & Meatballs
  • Octoberfest Burger (back by popular demand for the month of October)

20 oz. Souvenir Cardinals Nation Postseason 2015 Cup: Keep your cup with every game day draft beer purchase.

cards nation cup

G&W Grill: The fan-favorite G&W Grill will be outside Cardinals Nation every home game serving up St. Louis’ favorite G&W Bratwursts and hot dogs. There will also be a satellite location inside the Pep Rally.

Live Music: Stick around after every postseason home game for free live music in the Hall of Fame Club, on the 2nd floor of Cardinals Nation.

  • Friday, October 9 – Borderline
  • Saturday, October 10 – Carrie and the Catapults
  • Thursday, October 15 – Borderline (if game is played)

 Giveaways: On home game days, Cardinals Nation will have postseason rally towels and koozies for fans.

 Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum

Before every postseason game, the Cardinals Hall of Fame will host an Artifact Spotlight giving Museum visitors the chance to see postseason-themed artifacts in the collection not currently on display. On Friday, the presentation is scheduled from 3-3:30 p.m. Saturday’s presentation is scheduled from 1:45 – 2:15 p.m. Thursday is TBD. These programs are free with paid admission to the museum. For more information or to purchase tickets to the museum, visit cardinals.com/museum (#CardsMuseum).

Ballpark Village

Ballpark Village is the home of the official Cardinals Postseason Away Game Watch Parties replicating the game-day excitement of Busch Stadium for fans while the team is on the road. Fans will enjoy pep rally entertainment, complete with celebrity emcee, games and limited appearances by Fredbird and Team Fredbird. Giveaways include cowbells, thundersticks and megaphones. Learn more here.

  • Bob Gibson Book Signing: Cardinals Hall of Famer Bob Gibson is coming to Ballpark Village to share and sign his new book PITCH BY PITCH: My View of One Unforgettable Game at the Budwesier Brew House Sunday, October 11, from 2- 5:30 p.m. Don’t miss the FREE live on-stage interview by sports broadcaster Dan McLaughlin followed by a ticketed book signing. Learn more here.

For more information, visit stlballparkvillage.com (#BallparkVillage).

BUSCH STADIUM – POLICY REMINDER 

Bag Inspections And Guest Screening Policy

Standard game-day bag inspection policies for Busch Stadium are in effect. Bags will be allowed that meet Major League Baseball’s standard size restriction (16” x 16”x 8”), and all bags will be inspected prior to entry.

As a reminder, the Cardinals and Major League Baseball have implemented the use of walk through metal detectors at all entrances to Busch Stadium to ensure the safety of all guests. As part of the process, guests will have to remove cell phones, cameras and other large metal objects before passing through the detectors. Guests in wheelchairs and those with medical devices that may set off the detector are subject to alternative screening methods. Guests will still be required to have their bags inspected prior to entering the stadium.

Guests will be permitted to bring small personal cameras as long as they do not obstruct other guest’s view and will be subject to inspection.  No professional-sized photography equipment, including tripods and monopods, will be allowed except for members of the media with proper MLB Postseason credentials.

Non-alcoholic beverages such as water & soda in open cups or in clear plastic bottles no larger than 2 liters are allowed.

Alcohol, bottles, cans, thermoses, hard-sided coolers; hard plastic cups/mugs are not permitted.

Small banners and signs are allowed. Banners may be displayed as long as they do not hinder or interfere with a ball in play or distract or interfere with the view of another guest. Banners may not be displayed in fair territory, be obscene or in poor taste, attract abuse or cause a disturbance among other guests. They should be baseball-oriented and not commercial in nature.

Please minimize items you bring into the stadium to speed up the inspection process. 

Expect long lines upon entry and allow yourself plenty of time to go through the inspection process. 

Exit/Re-entry Policy

Exit/re-entry will only be allowed starting at game time and extending through the end of the 7th inning. Guests wishing to leave the stadium, but planning to return during the same game must have their hand and ticket stamped at Gate 4 only as they exit the stadium. Guests will also receive a re-entry card which they must show with their stamped ticket and stamped hand upon re-entry. Inspection and Guest Screening policy will also be enforced.

No Smoking Policy

Standard Busch Stadium Smoking Policy is in effect.  Busch Stadium is a smoke-free facility. Exit/re-Entry turnstiles will be set up at Gate 4 to allow fans access in and out of the stadium if they wish to smoke. Guests must have their hand and ticket stamped at Gate 4 as they exit the stadium. Guests will also receive a re-entry card which they must show with their stamped ticket and stamped hand upon re-entry. Inspection and Guest Screening policy will also be enforced.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE 2015 SEASON

  • The Cardinals completed their 124th season of play in the National League with an 100-62 mark, the top mark in the majors. The team won the N.L. Central for the 11th time and for the 3rd consecutive season, as they qualified for the postseason for a 5th consecutive season – the 1st  time in franchise history to have done so.
  • The Cardinals are meeting the Chicago Cubs for the first time ever in postseason play. The Cardinals were 11-8 against the Cubs this season, going 7-3 at Busch Stadium & 4-5 at Wrigley Field. The Cards trail their all-time series with the Cubs, 1,147-1,197. St. Louis is 53-36 (.596) at home against the Cubs since 2006 when Busch Stadium III opened; they are 446-512-2 (.466) all-time at Wrigley Field.
  •  The Cardinals won a Busch Stadium III record 55 home games, tying the L.A. Dodgers for the top home mark in the majors. The Cardinals have won an N.L.-best 491 home games since moving into Busch Stadium III in 2006.
  •  The Cardinals put together the 75th winning season (+.500) in franchise history. The Cardinals have now compiled eight consecutive winning seasons, doing so for only the 2nd time in franchise history.
  •  The Cardinals were the first team in the majors to clinch a spot in the postseason, doing so for a franchise-record fifth consecutive season and in each of the four seasons that Manager Mike Matheny has been at the helm.
  •  With 100 wins this season, the Cardinals are just the ninth team in franchise history to reach the century mark in wins (1942 – 106; 1943, 1944, & 2004 – 105; 1931, 1967, 1985 – 101; 2005 & 2015 – 100). They are the major’s first 100-win team since Philadelphia in 2011 (102).
  •  The Cardinals were 32-23 in one-run games, 15-15 in shutouts, and 8-8 in extra-inning games.
  •  The Cardinals had a N.L. best +121 runs scored differential (647-525), second only to the Toronto Blue Jays (+222).
  •  The Cardinals allowed the 2nd fewest home runs (123) in the majors, with Pittsburgh allowing the fewest (110).
  •  The Cardinals’ 70 postseason wins since 1996 are 2nd in the majors (NY Yankees, 97).
  •  Mike Matheny is the first manager in Major League history to take his team to the postseason in each of his first four full seasons. The Cardinals are 375-273 under Matheny, owning the majors’ top winning percentage (.579) in that four-season span (2012-15) and they have also appeared in a Major League-high 39 postseason games.

That’s all for now!   Go Cards!

Diane

Resilience despite adversity

ResilienceI wrote a blog post earlier this season about how the infirmary was getting full of Cardinals players.   Maybe that was bad luck –  who knows?  The Cardinals have endured more than their share of injuries this season.  I’ll list them so we can see the magnitude of the injuries:

Jordan Walden – shoulder
Adam Wainwright – torn Achilles tendon
Matt Adams – torn right quadriceps muscle, Grade 4
Matt Holliday – torn right quadriceps muscle, Grade 2
Matt Belisle –forearm tenderness
Jason Heyward – hamstring strain
Randal Grichuk – muscle strain lifting weight, elbow strain
Jon Jay – recovery from off-season wrist surgery
Yadier Molina – slight tear of left thumb ligament
Carlos Martinez – strained shoulder
Stephen Piscotty – outfield collision with Peter Bourjos

(If there is anyone I missed, or if I goofed up on the injuries, please let me know in the comments section below.)

Yet despite all these injuries (and with some great pickups and call ups by Mo), the Cardinals are in first place in the NL Central with the best record in baseball.  The magic number to clinch the NL Central is 2, and if the Cards win tomorrow at Pittsburgh, it will be zero.  This will be the Cardinals’ first 100 win season since 2005.

The Cardinals have shown amazing resilience this season. A lesser team would crumble under the weight of all these injuries. But the Cardinals have not crumbled, thanks to the managing of Mike Matheny.  Mike is the glue that has held this team together through all the injuries and all the other craziness this season (hacking? What hacking?).

Now we Cards fans and bloggers may not agree with every move Mike makes, but you can’t argue with results. This is Mike’s fourth year managing the Cardinals (heck, managing a major league team, period) and the team has gone to the postseason every year for the last four years.  How many managers can claim that honor during their first four years of managing?  If you want to get some insight as to how Mike manages a team, I highly suggest you pick up and read his book The Matheny Manifesto (click on the title to find it on Amazon).

Mike deserves the NL Manager of the Year award for the way he has handled the Cardinals during this season of adversity.  However, we Cards fans all know that the NL MOY award will go to Joe Maddon, since he turned those loveable losers the Cubs into playoff contenders, and Chicago is a larger market than St. Louis too.

The Cards’ game tonight was postponed until tomorrow due to rain.  It will be made up tomorrow with a day-night doubleheader.  Game time for the first game is 12:35 PM CST.  I will be listening to the game on KMOX at my desk. I will be hoping and praying for no more injuries, and that the Cards will clinch the division.  Last night’s game made my stomach upset; I’m hoping for an uneventful win tomorrow.

Thanks as always for reading! See you next time!

Diane

Second half thoughts and ponderings

The Cardinals really needed the All-Star break; they looked extremely tired and disoriented in this past weekend’s games.  The Cardinals start the second half of the season in first place by just 2 ½ games.  A 3-5 road trip, culminating with 2 ugly losses to the Pirates right before the All-Star break, contributed to the narrowing of the gap in the standings between the Cards and the Pirates.  There’s plenty of baseball left to play, however, so here are my thoughts about the second half of the season.

Matt Holliday returns to the lineup on Friday.  This will create quite a traffic jam in the outfield.  There are 3 outfield positions, and there are 6 outfielders on the roster.  Even using “new” math (or Common Core math), that doesn’t compute.  Adjustments will have to be made.

Holliday is signed through 2016 with an option year for 2017. Heyward is signed through the end of the year, at which time he will become a free agent.  Jon Jay is currently on the disabled list. Per the Cardinals’ website, his date of return is to be determined. So that leaves 3 players competing for the center field position.

The Cards can’t keep all the extra outfield players on the roster.  There have been folks clamoring that Jay be released or traded. Bourjos, despite his occasional flubs, has proven he can be an everyday player.  I would trade or release Jay, start Bourjos in at CF, then keep Grichuk and Pham on the bench to spell the starting outfielders in case of injury or a needed day off.  Grichuk could also be a good pinch hitter.  If Heyward doesn’t sign with the Cards next season, I would then put Grichuk in RF.

Trevor Rosenthal didn’t pitch in the All-Star Game due to arm soreness.  He did not look very good on the mound in Sunday’s game.  I would not be surprised if he landed on the DL.  Should the break help his arm feel better and if I were Mike, I would only use Rosey in a true save situation and not pitch him if the game isn’t on the line. The Cards will need Rosey fresh come September and (hopefully) October.

I am really starting to like scrappy Mark Reynolds, but he is not an everyday 1B and he wasn’t signed to be the everyday 1B.  Xavier Scruggs wasn’t the answer to the Cards’ first base woes; he is already back in Memphis.  Dan Johnson isn’t the answer either.  Stephen Piscotty is touted as the next first baseman; however, he is still learning the position at Memphis.  Since Adams isn’t due to be off the DL until the season is almost over, Mo may have to pick up or trade for a 1B player, even if it is just a rental until after the season is over.

I have really missed Cardinals baseball and I’m glad that it starts up again tomorrow night.  Today is the 70th anniversary of Red Schoendiest’s debut in baseball.  The Cardinals have encouraged fans to post a congratulatory video on social media.  I posted it on Twitter, and in case you missed it, here it is:

Thanks as always for reading! 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

A love letter to the St. Louis Cardinals players

Dear boys,

I call you boys affectionately because you are all much younger than me. I am writing to express my love and devotion, and my excitement that once again you all are on the brink of winning another National League pennant.

However, this is not a blind love.  I hope you will be open to some loving and constructive criticism.  Let’s start with hitting.

Please be patient at the plate.  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 (yes, Matt Adams, I’m talking to you).  This is all fundamental stuff you should have learned a long time ago and shouldn’t have to be reminded about. Allen Craig is unable at the present time to pick up the slack. You should be thankful that during the first two games of the NLCS that the pitching was lights out; otherwise, I wouldn’t even be writing this letter.  To summarize, you boys need to hit 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.  Don’t get hung up between bases!

As for defense, I don’t have too many complaints about the infield.  The infielders are doing a good job throwing runners out at first, and there have been some timely double plays.  As for the outfielders, however (yes, I’m talking to you, Jon Jay), your communication skills need work. If you think you’ll be able to catch the ball then call the other players off.  Be alert and try and figure out where the ball will go then move your body there to catch the ball, preferably with both hands.

You boys are great baseball players, otherwise, you wouldn’t be playing in the NLCS right now – you’d be home watching on TV or playing golf.  There are a lot of NL teams that would love to be where you are right now.

So please boys, please get this pennant won tonight.  My heart can’t stand much more drama. I have to have some time to recover before the next round of drama hopefully starts next week.  Thank you!

Love always,

Diane

 

P.S.:  Thanks for reading!  See you next time!  Go Cards!