Post-Dispatch reporter and columnist Joe Strauss had a term for the feast or (mostly) famine attack we saw from the Cardinals last week. In today's sports archive feature we do something a little different and turn back the clock to this chat with El Diablo from August of 2010.
Game Update: Waino' zips through the first inning. The Cardinals badly need Waino' to be bueno today.
Why doesn't TLR use Aaron Miles at 3rd. I cannot believe he would be any worse than Lopez and he can hit. As far as I am concerned he cost the Cards the game tonight. Garcia would have pitched a shutout and probably for at least 7 innings instead of 6. Heck bring up the guy from AA he could field better than Lopez; and Lopez isn't hitting anyway.
Just how many games has Lopez cost us?
Are you willing to go on record about this team? Do YOU think it can do anything on post-season, ASSUMING it wins the Central--And that's a major assumption. I say no (to winning the Central) and no (obviously beyond that). Just can't see it.
Do you have the Kool Aid cup in hand?
Interestingly, the ChatMeister believes that the two teams with the biggest divison leads -- San Diego and Texas -- would likely be considered the longest shots to win the World Series.
I still believe the Cardinals emerge from the Central. But I can certainly understand the fan base's agitation over a bunch whose performance deviates so wildly day to day.
And, yes, I am swigging from a Cal Eldred autographed Kool Aid cup. ("Oh Yeah")
If a confrontation with the other team is what it takes to get the Cardinals fired up to play a hard nine, then there is something seriously wrong with the team. Even though the Cardinals are a flawed team, which you have said on several occasions, they is absolutely no sound reason for their playing down to inferior teams like the Astros, the Cubs and the Brewers. I believe that tendency falls squarely on the shoulders of the manager; but he is too busy tipping his cap to the other pitcher or to the other team to even consider that the Cardinals’ inconsistent play might have something to do with his leadership. I realize it’s too late this season, but is there any hope that the manager won’t be back in 2011?
Also, do you think John Jay is the real deal? And why would Jay be lifted for Craig, even if a lefty was pitching?
As for Jay, I'm intrigued. To anoint him an everyday major-league player at this point is premature. He at least fits within a RF platoon for '11. Healthy, he is an intriguing talent.
TLR (who was still suspended) didn't seem enamored with with the Craig-for-Jay move in Saturday's loss to the Cubs. I don't think many were.
The Cardinals appear to be stuck with continued 3B defensive miseries! Flip has slowly crumbled under the stress defensively which now has also negatively effected his hitting. Tony and Mo seem to be trying to resolve the problem, but without any in house options and no Inge or Wigginton on the horizon, it seems like the Cardinals just might be in serious trouble! Their season long lack of defensive depth at 3B (and 2B if we're honest)just might be enough to hand the Reds the NL Central title! Your thoughts, O Wise One?!
Should we be concerned about the innings that Jaimie Garcia is racking up? What do you think the difference is today with pitchers maxing out with throwing 225 innings and 35 years ago pitchers going in excess of 300 innings? Are "kinder, gentler" pitchers being developed today?
Because the Cardinals likely enjoy only one more off day this season after Thursday, TLR and pitching coach Dave Duncan are weighing a de facto 5 1/2-man rotation, whereby Waino', Carpenter, Westbrook, Lohse, Garcia and Suppan could make starts in one turn and either Lohse, Suppan or Garcia deleted in the next turn. Make no mistake: Westbrook was a significant addition due to concerns over Garcia's durability and Lohse's return from May surgery. It's what TLR and Mo' meant when they insisted July 31 that the team couldn't win if it embraced the status quo.
Joe, being a Cardinal beat reporter you're up close to the team, in the club house, press box, etc, watching them up close every night. What is your view of this team in respect to its comaraderie? The veteran, core guys seem to be agitated more and more. We saw it with Carp on Saturday. Is this team losing confidence and focus on the field? How much is the Ludwick deal playing on their minds?
1) Can you think of any team that throughout the season showed poor baserunning, poor infield defense, and poor offensive situational hitting, and then went on to playoff success? In all seriousness, is there really a point to this season? Reality bites.
2) In the early years of the decade TLR (and the rest of us) struggled to understand what made a certain LH hitting OF from the South tick. Eventually he left in a trade, albeit one that has paid huge dividends for StL. Flash forward...again, TLR seems to have difficulty with a sensitive young LH hitting OF from the South. These guys are quiet, and the fire is within, not without. Now, JD may get hurt a lot, but the kid has had a nice career for many winning teams. I fear Colby will be dealt since Tony doesn't know what to do with a personality like his. Mo is smarter than that, eh? To deal a cost controlled VERY young player like that? Right?
As for the comparisions between JD and Colby, it's true that TLR had frustrations with both. Drew was involved in arguably a deal that transformed the franchise for the next several years, perhaps more, as it hinged on Atlanta Braves pitching prospect Adam Wainwright being included in the package. My information is that Colby was especially uncomfortable playing under TLR earlier this season. Indeed, that may have even been communicated to the front office. However, Rasmus also enjoyed a highly productive first half. Many players have chafed at times under TLR, Rolen and Jim Edmonds among them. Yes, Ryan Ludwick found it difficult to comprehend TLR's daily lineup machinations. Those players who endure trust the manager's judgment and style. Brendan Ryan admitted during spring training that can be a very difficult thing for a young player left at the bottom of TLR's caste system. But it's reality.
I can only guess that since no official statement has been made, you won't be able to comment on this, but I'm going to dare to ask anyway...why has Mike Shannon been missing so much time this season? Should those who would be so inclined pray about his health?
Is this a sign that he might be deeply contemplating retirement or semi-retirement (home series only and/or limited road trips like Ron Santo)?
Has he been attending the Blago trial?
On a completely different topic, last night is a prime example of why I believe ERA is a more accurate reflection of a pitcher's performance than W/L when voting on the Cy Young. If it were possible to assign the loss to a fielder, Felipe Lopez certainly deserved it last night. I'm not advocating giving the Cy Young on one statistic only, as I think lots of pitching statistics need to be evaluated, but I just felt a need to throw that out there on behalf of those of us who thought Carpenter and Lincecum had a narrow lead over Wainwright in 2009 (not so in 2010).
As Waino' is learning today, run support is also a central element. I'm still convinced Wainwright deserved last year's Cy Young Award. Nothing that has happened since would cause me to change my mind.
Kyle Lohse's first victory since May 17 occurs at the Pujols Family Foundation 5-man scramble. Can you confirm that his contributions were limited to the first 7 or 8 holes before sitting out the rest of the round?
Personally I like door number two. What say you?
There's an undercurrent within this organization that the club is more flawed than what is admitted publicly. There are several possible explanations for that.
This team requires adjustments after the season. More on that later.
Do you get the feeling that TLR's message is getting stale in the locker room, and if so, is this TLR's last year managing here?
As much as I'd like to see Waino win the Cy Young, it already seems like he's being hosed by the national media. On a Rob Neyer chat, someone rattled off the list of categories in which Wainwright is leading the league, and Neyer countered that Roy Halladay has the edge in park effects and K/BB. Park effects, really? I know that it's fashionable to say a Cy Young shouldn't be decided on a stat like wins, but park effects? Give me a break. Like Bernie said, there's a good chance Waino will be the best pitcher in the league for 2 years running, and have no Cy Youngs to show for it.
Speaking of awards where the Cardinals will get jobbed, any chance Ryan wins a Gold Glove this year?
I'm not sure Ryan will receive serious consideration given his offensive struggles (don't underestimate), his midseason fielding funk and his service time. Managers and coaches vote on Gold Gloves, so all bets are off.
As an aside, a correspondent for a "third-party publication" ranked Matt Carpenter as the system's No. 2 third baseman last spring but did not list him among the Cardinals' top 30 prospects. (Carpenter hit .219 in the Florida State League after blasting his way through Batavia and Quad Cities. He was the highest-advancing member of the '09 draft class.) So there. That may be damning with faint praise but now you know.
If the Cardinals didn't believe they would make it to the postseason without bolstering their rotation last month, they surely recognize the need for offensive help now. Pujols and Holliday appear stranded on an island. Pujols may get pitches to hit early in games or in blowouts but teams are not going to challenge him in game-changing situations.
The Cardinals have now lost four straight home games for the first time this season. They retreated to two games over .500 since May 3, a span of 3 1/2 months. Like it or not, the Cardinals appear to be playing the role of chaser for at least the next week.