Tuesday, August 30, 2005

What's Goin' On?

Albert, Albert,
There's too many left on base
Pujols, Pujols, Pujols,
Where you swing there's nothing but space
I know you don't have protection
But, see, we now expect perfection

Pujols, Pujols,
You don't need to try so hard
You see, reaching's not the answer,
Only that can keep you in the yard
I know you don't have protection
But, see, we now expect perfection

Weak ground outs and infield flies
This month looks to be a season low
Take a day, cause we don't know
Oh, what's going on
What's going on
Yeah, what's going on
Ah, what's going on
In the mean time
Let's go, Albert
Let's go
Let's go

Albert, Albert,
Time to show us that we're wrong
Oh, but who are we to judge you
We're just part of the faceless throng
Oh, we know that you will find a way
As long as you stop pressing, dear Jose

Weak ground outs and infield flies
This month looks to be a season low
Take a day, cause we don't know
What's going on
Yeah, what's going on
Tell us what's going on
Please tell us what's going on - Oh
Let's go, Albert
Let's go, Albert

-with sincerest apologies to Marvin Gaye

Sunday, August 28, 2005

I Still Don't Understand

Two double steals? One including a steal of home? I adore Yadier Molina, but the kid is beyond slow. It takes some kind of moxie to call for one double steal using him, let alone two. He did say he'll win a bet with his brothers.

We know the bullpen is good. Not as good as last year probably, but they shutout the Nationals (yeah, not really hard these days) for the second shutout in a row.

Wayne brought up an interesting point (!) during the broadcast, and lboros has touched on this as well: how much fun must Tony be having managing this year? Suicide squeezes, hit and runs with the pitcher on base, replacing All-Stars with rookies and life-long bench players. It's like this is his Ph.D. orals. He has to call upon everything he's ever learned, every situation he's ever seen, think on his feet, and show a thorough understanding of the subject material. It's certainly not the same team as 2004 - no Rolen, iffy Walker, Sanders out, Jimmy having a down year, no protection for Pujols. The starting pitching is the saving grace, of course, but the team still needs to score. And so far, even with a completely different looking offense, they have. It's pretty amazing what this team can do.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Opposite Day

What is going on? Jason Marquis throws a two-hit complete game shutout? David Eckstein hits a home run in RFK?

I don't understand.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

We're The Cardinals, And You're Not

I don't really have much to say about this game. Jimmy and Albert went back-to-back in the first inning. Matty did fine. Yadi hit clean up?!? Eh, it worked. Edmonds did ground into a double play for the first time this season. Is that exciting? I guess not very. Lots of hits, some walks (10 left on, which annoys somewhat), only Edmonds had more than one RBI, so lots of people got in on the fun. The Cardinals did not issue a single walk. I like that a lot. So now we know. When you pitching coach is sucker punched by an opposing coach, just go out and kick their butts two nights in a row. Thank you, Gerald Perry.

It was very fitting that Morris was the pitcher on the night La Russa passed Anderson. Tony would appreciate the win no matter who was on the mound, but he's had Matty his whole career.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

To Disagree In PNC

Ok, so it's not quite "The Thrilla In Manila," but nothing rhymes with "Pittsburgh."

You. Don't. Mess. With. Dave. Duncan. If you try, it will end badly for you.

I'd like to see better video than the clips showed on Baseball Tonight. Why in the hell would Perry punch Dunc in the face? Dave doesn't strike me as the most...tactful guy, but come on - it appeared Perry's hit kind of came out of nowhere. He wasn't even in the conversation. Either Duncan questioned someone's mother's virtue (entirely possible) or someone said something about a Cardinal (also entirely possible).

Now, there's no way Tony would risk getting Carp suspended by having him throw at a Pirate, so I didn't worry about retaliation from the Cardinals' side. But Lloyd McClendon is, excuse the language, crazier than a shit-house rat. Who knew what to expect from the Pirates? There were some meetings before the game to settle things down, so I guess his games will have to wait. Why do the Pirates always have something going with the Cardinals? I think La Russa is so far inside McClendon's head, he can't see straight and takes his ire out on the other team rather than channeling his frustration into something productive - cause he's never going to out-manage Tony.

Oh, yeah, the actual game. The Birds won their 80th game, Larry got his 1,300th RBI, Carpenter his 18th win, and La Russa his 2,194th win as a manager to tie Sparky Anderson at third on the all-time list. Taguchi came in as a defensive replacement, so his hand's alright. If it's any solace, the Pirates' starter was even worse than Marquis. Wells gave up five runs and didn't get out of the first inning. (I know, doesn't help much, does it?)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

New Addition

I've added something to the sidebar. I've been debating over if or when to do this, but after the travesty tonight, we need some cheering up.

A Good Old-Fashioned Ass-Kicking

Marquis' head is so screwed up right now, he's of virtually no use. He was out of the game by the time I got home, and I don't know if I want to watch the train wreck on my TiVo. Would skipping a start or two mess him up further (if that's possible at this point)? Can La Russa stomach essentially conceding a game every fifth day? Marquis did not respond well when Atlanta sent him to the bullpen. However, he's so ineffective the pen's not really an option now. Something has to be done, I just can't see how any of the possible solutions will help Jason and/or the Cardinals.

Who is going to want a guy that Leo Mazzone and Dave Duncan couldn't get through to?

Of course, it wouldn't matter if Jason had given up one run in nine innings. The Cardinals, outside of the sixth and ninth innings when they left the bases loaded, couldn't do anything offensively. Or maybe it was all offensive. Cal certainly didn't help.

And if that guy broke Taguchi's hand, I'm going to be so pissed.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Can We Get a Bulk Rate on Bubble Wrap?

In the radio broadcast Shannon announced that Rolen has decided to undergo season-ending surgery (see The Birdwatch for pre-decision quotes, etc.). I can't say I'm surprised, given his comments about not being able to help, only hurt, the team. Think he'll have that knee surgery as well?

Also, Grudzielanek is apparently in the hospital for an infected knee per Talk With Tony. This was the first I'd heard about it:
...Grudzielanek is experiencing increased difficulty with an infected left knee that is being treated with antibiotics. Grudzielanek left the park Saturday to be examined, admitting that pain in the knee may sideline him for a handful of games. "We need to get a handle on it," he said.
I can't find a real news link, but according to a transcript (about 2/3 of the way down), if they can clear up the infection, he'll just miss the next series. If not, well.... [Update: here's the P-D story]

Reggie's now saying September 1st is a little optimistic for his return.

Remember Mike Lincoln?

Thoughts to Cardinal Dads.

Bottom of the 5th, 3-0 Giants. The Cardinals have four errors and Jimmy's been tossed. Maybe the other split-squad is doing better in their game.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

He's Still Our Man

I really should have said something about Molina last night. So a belated I Heart Yadi for his 3-run home run in his second game back from the DL. I actually expected it the night before.

Larry was back in the line up today, which is very nice to see. Albert had an un-Pujolsian day, striking out twice and getting caught stealing (for the first time all year), but he did drive in yet another run for 95 RBIs. I found it odd that Morris was pulled after the sixth with only 79 pitches, but Tony hasn't been doing the same type of thing with Marquis. Whatever, I'm going to take Dan's mother's advice. But, I hope that Morris was just a little tired and La Russa a little over protective rather than Matty having some owie. And Izzy's inevitable dramatics aside, Morris got his 100th career win.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Jimmy Is Fantastic

Jimmy is fantastic.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

TO: Tony La Russa

FROM: bellyscratcher

RE: Jason Marquis

Dear Mr. La Russa:

May I suggest that the next time you want to send Mr. Marquis out to pitch the 8th inning you don't actually do it? I understand you want to get the guy a win, and with an 12 game lead the team is afforded certain luxuries. However, by allowing Mr. Marquis to continually pitch when even we television viewers can tell he's done does both him and the team a disservice. Tonight may not be the best example, but we all know he has a delicate head. When he didn't get the third strike call-the meltdown was coming. You knew it, Mr. Marquis knew it, we all knew it.

Everyone has been frustrated by Mr. Marquis for a while now. But my frustration is turning into sympathy. No matter how well he pitches, Mr. Marquis cannot get a win. I know that Mr. Dave Duncan and yourself have also been frustrated with Mr. Marquis' seeming bull-headedness. Getting away from the game plan may be a symptom of a larger issue. For some reason he hasn't wanted to throw his best pitch when he should. Which, in turn, has lead to the current downward spiral. Something you have excelled at is putting your players in a position to succeed. I don't know if that is the case any longer with Mr. Marquis. I am afraid your eagerness to have him win a game, any game, is compromising that instinct.

You have a boatload of wins as a manager, so you probably aren't going to be taking advice from a girl with a blog. Even the Reds don't listen to me. I'm confident you have Mr. Marquis' best interests at heart, but perhaps, for his next couple of starts, Mr. Marquis only pitches six innings no matter how well he's doing. He might be happier giving up three runs in six rather than six in eight, win or not. Just something you might want to think about.



Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Short N Sweet


Nice game all around.

Rising Sun

"We've secretly replaced Jeff Suppan with a strikeout pitcher...let's see who notices."

Nice job, Jeff. Seven strikeouts, no walks, just the two-run home run allowed. Remember when I said Matty was "Suppanesque"? Yeah, please be more like Suppan, Morris.

I'm watching the White Sox and Twins game to see if the Sox can lose; the Cards are 75-44, the Sox sit at 74-42. I've been watching for a while; it's going into the 15th. Nick Punto reminds me a little of Eckstein. And the Sox lose. Cards stand alone at 75 wins (still one more loss than Chicago).

Speaking of those nickname-stealers, how about the original Gooch? Well, he's hitting .351/.384/.532 in 29 games since the All-Star break, with two of his seven home runs (one more that his previous career total). I don't know if he could be a regular starter for the Cardinals (though at 36, he fits one of the criteria), but on some teams, certainly.

Considering the Diamondbacks are the ones who broke Molina, I don't know if they really want to start something with the Birds. Hopefully, Eldred hitting Glaus finished it, although I bet Albert's still pissed.

Yadi's almost back! Yay!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Move Along; Nothing To See Here

As I said to RHM, at least Dusty isn't getting fired soon. Thank goodness for the extra Family Guy episode tonight. Note to Mom: the Molina shirt didn't work.

Off day game: Given his start on Sunday, name the date of Anthony Reyes' next big league start.


I have persuaded RHM to join me for tonight's game. Since she doesn't have much of an interest in these teams, though as of this writing the Reds are only 1.5 games behind the Cubs, we'll see how this works. I think most of our ire will be directed not at the teams, but rather at Joe Morgan because he is truly awful.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Ode on the Bench Player

Thou journeyman part time baseball player,
Thou unexpected mid-season call up,
From the bench, you're never the team mayor,
When the coach points, you must nod and say, "Yup":
A bunt, a steal, or to rest a starter.

Thou have returned and are a super-sub,
In right or at either corner infield.
What man can also catch? Art thou the hub?
What mad pursuit of line drives! And pop fouls!
What a lefty threat! What a comeback sealed!

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft hands, play on;
We had no clue you'd be so good at third.
You barehand the ball from off of the lawn:
Thou can hit to the gaps, thou canst not leave

You didn't want to go, you loved it here;
And now thou hast pop along with leather,
We wish you'd bow during thy curtain calls;
Unlikely hero in Wrigley; whether
Remembered or not, it was without peer!

Ah, backup, backup catcher! that can't hit.
You bunt, in front of even the pitcher;
But thou knowst you're only here for thy mitt,
Your time will make Memphis more the richer;
More backup hits! more backup, backup hits!

Forever warm and still to be enjoy'd,
Forever jogging, and forever young;
One momentous hit against your old team,
The crowd is happy, the old scout destroy'd,
With the walk-offs this home run is among.

Who on Earth is that out there in left field?
To what green altar has this phenom prayed?
You nicknamed yourself, but thy bat does yield
Many hits. With all the drives you have made-
I can now see thou can't run the bases.

You knew you were playing second fiddle
To a kid. And now thou art the starter?
Maybe you can't pick a guy off of third,
But thou can catch a ball down the middle.
Being on this team will make you smarter.

O the elder statesman! O third base coach!
The signals, windmills, and ignored stop signs,
Your utility is beyond reproach;
We all know what you did between the lines:
You really must be the next manager!

When old age shall those superstars waste,
Thou shalt remain, not in pursuit of dough,
We shall sit as fans, rapt, to whom thou say'st,
'Baseball is truth, truth baseball, —that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'

-Apologies to John Keats, who is dead

Thursday, August 11, 2005

You Think You're Soooo Smart

Take these quizzes. I feel pretty dumb.


You don't want to read about it and I don't want to write about it. Marquis tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The Cardinals Are Very Mean

Eckstein, SS
Rodriguez, LF
Taguchi, RF
Edmonds, CF
Luna, 2B
Nunez, 3B
Seabol, 1B
Diaz, C
Suppan, P

Final score: Cardinals 3, Brewers 0

It's just not fair. Are there some guys we can call up from AA for the weekend series with the Cubs? (Watch, we'll get swept now.)

Rational Exuberance

I don't want to peg myself as irrational after one start for the young man. But. He did a whale of a job in his Major League debut. I got home just in time to see Hall stare at his home run and toss his bat. That'll get you one in the ribs someday, Hall, showing up a brand new pitcher. Reyes didn't lose his cool, though-no one else reached until the sixth inning. I don't know how accurate FSN North's radar gun is, but I saw 95 mph once and 94 several times. He allowed only two hits and one walk and had five strike outs. For his first game in the bigs, I think he did very well indeed. I'm looking forward to seeing him again.

The Cardinals hit into four double plays. Yikes.

I'd really like to watch the game again, but those Brewers' announcers just crush my will to live. At least they stopped talking about the balk after the sixth inning.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Welcome to 30 Games Over .500

Those Brewers sure are pesky. Wouldn't it be insane if they made an honest run at the Wild Card? I would not be surprised if they did next year. Their announcers are terrible, though. Ned Yost should pull a Dusty and get them fired. Good thing Milwaukee native Mark Grudzielanek is on our side: home run, double, stolen base, five RBIs for the man. Shame about Pujols' error-I wonder if he was thinking about his non-running on Edmonds' hit in the top of the fourth-could have cost Matty the win. Though, that's ok, might drive down his price at bit. Morris again wasn't in first-half form, but only allowed two earned runs (he gave up six hits-all singles with a couple of bloops, three walks, and got four strike outs). I think it's because he let his beard grow out a little.

Get your TiVos, VCRs, whatever you got, ready. The Cards are going outside their starting five for the first time all season tomorrow as they call up Anthony Reyes* for a spot start.

*Count how many times he's referred to as "Former-Teammate-of-Mark-Prior." I think he's hyphenated his name by now.

Speaking of the Cubs, what happened to them? They've lost their last six and are 2-8 in their last 10 games. I really don't want them to fire Baker. He's one of the best things that ever happened to the Cardinals.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Number 22 In Your Programs...

1st inning: Furcal: K. Braves announcers talking about baseballs having more "irregularities" this year. Damn, home run. After a pop up, Jones walks. That's the third three-ball count from Chris. Ok, fly to left. Eck walks. Johnny singles to right. Albert pops up right behind the plate. Arugh. Diving stop by Giles gets Jimmy, runners advance. Crap, Grudz flies to left, strands two.

2nd inning: Lead off home run from Francoeur. Let's stop that, Carpenter. Pop up to Nunez. Single over Grudzielanek. Sosa pops a bunt to Pujols. (It's so weird to have a non-Sammy Sosa.) Furcal bounces back to Carp. Nunez flies to right. So doubles down the left field line. Mahoney can't advance Taguchi as he flies to left and hits Oquendo with part of his broken bat. Furcal makes a nice play to get Carp on a ball up the middle. 2-0 Braves.

This is where I decided liveblogging was clearly bad luck. Good thing, too. After the eighth inning I was thinking, "Well, one run to tie is easier than two." Then Izzy gave up a run. Annoying, but that Francoeur kid is a monster. In the end, it didn't matter.

Going in to the bottom of the ninth with Nunez, Taguchi, and Luna (which scared me a little; I was wondering about Mabry)-three singles. Albert taking Rodriguez's bat away when Luna was batting is maybe one of the coolest things I've seen. The whole inning he was cheering and clapping and so excited. Sutton said that there was a good chance Eckstein wouldn't "...hit the ball over anybody's head." Maybe, in fact on most days, probably. But not this afternoon.

Lil' Davey had himself quite a day. Two walks, a stolen base, a double, and a walk-off grand slam. The only time he wasn't on base was ahead of Pujols' home run. It's too bad they couldn't get Carpenter the win, but the team win is more important.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Domo Arigato, Mr. Taguchi

I really have to figure out a better way of getting the score in my car; rush hour traffic is not good for pressing lots of cell phone buttons. And it was not on Extra Innings when I got home. Ah well, that's why I also have mlb.radio. Morris gave up nine hits, including a home run, two walks, for four ER. But So decided that Morris couldn't lose three in a row for the first time in his career. Looking at the box score, Morris (7 innings) and Beckett (6 1/3 innings) both threw 101 pitches, Matt had 64 strikes, Beckett 63, each issued two walks. The difference is Beckett had five strike outs (to Morris' two) and only four hits. Ok, so he also gave up a home run to Lil' Davey Eckstein. But I wonder if Trader Jack is rethinking that call to the bullpen...I mean, goodness, that home run was a no-doubter. I think I'll call Morris' outing Suppanesque. Nothing spectacular, but he kept it reasonably close.

You know, Chris Carpenter is pretty good.

Stupid Stupid Stupid

Channel 5 in St. Louis is reporting that the Cardinals are leaving KMOX. Bernie confirms.


Here's the P-D story.

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