Category Archives: Columns

The Post-Mortem

104 days until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training. For fans of 28 other teams, that coundown had already begun. For Cardinals’ fans, it begins now.

Last night the Red Sox did what they did all series long. Pulled a rabbit out of their hat.

The entire series they didn’t hit well. In fact, only David Ortiz had more hits than games that were played in the World Series. But they got the hits when they needed them. Something the Cardinals were unable to do.

In Game 4, it was Jonny Gomes (2-for-17) getting a home run. In Game 5, it was David Ross (3-for-16) getting a double. In Game 6, it was Shane Victorino (2-for-13) knocking a triple off the green monster with the bases loaded. Continue reading

Obstructing a win

Have you ever? No I’ve never! The was the reaction of the baseball world after last night’s game ending obstruction call in Game 3 of the World Series.

After throwing out the potential winning run in Yadier Molina at the plate for the second out of the bottom of the 9th, Boston catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia saw Allen Craig advancing to third and fired off a throw. His throw went wide as third baseman Will Middlebrooks dove, trying to snag the errant throw as Craig slid safely into third base. The still injured Craig worked his way back to his feet and tripped over a still outstretched Middlebrooks. He worked his way over Middlebrooks, continued home, and was thrown out by a couple feet at home.

Extra innings, right?

Wrong.

Third base umpire Jim Joyce had signaled obstruction on the play when Craig tripped over Middlebrooks at third. That mean that Craig was a protected runner until he reached the next base. In this case, that was home plate for the game winning run.

Was it the way you want to end a World Series game? No. Was it the right call? Yes. Continue reading

Circumstantial evidence damning for Lester

In a turn of events that has me remembering back to Game 2 of the 2006 World Series against the Detroit Tigers, Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester was spotted last night with a foreign substance on his glove. The substance was spotted and tweeted about by Cardinals minor leaguer Tyler Melling who has since spoken with the organization and deleted the tweet (probably ordered to under threat of release).

Since then, about the only defenses for Lester being mounted are an MLB statement indicating that they have no evidence of any wrong doing (which considering the lack of research they’ve done is unsurprising) and that Melling, a high A ball pitcher who didn’t have a very good season, is a horrible baseball player and as a result isn’t worth listening to.

One Boston writer proclaimed that Major League Baseball had refuted Melling’s claims with their statement this morning, which isn’t what happened. Major League Baseball’s statement said that they couldn’t draw any conclusions from the video and that nobody on the field last night complained about it. That’s not refutation, that’s just saying there wasn’t enough information in plain sight to decide one way or the other.

But is there more to this story? There definitely appears to be. Continue reading

What’s the big deal about celebrating?

There’s been a big hullabaloo lately about celebrations and whether or not baseball players celebrating what happens should be condoned or if its against the so-called unwritten rules of the game. For the Cardinals, this game to a head following Game Three when Yasiel Puig smacked a triple off the wall (that he thought was a home run when he hit it), stood and admired it, and then raised his hands in celebration.

Some of the Cardinals players didn’t approve, led by Carlos Beltran. “As a player, I just think he doesn’t know. That’s what I think. He really doesn’t know. He must think that he’s still playing somewhere else. He has a lot of passion, no doubt about that – great ability, great talent. I think with time, he’ll learn that you’ve got to act with a little bit more calm.”

Of course, after Beltran and Adam Wainwright’s comments about how they felt about the Dodgers players probably toeing the line between celebration and showing up your opponent, Deadspin (who seemingly has had a bulls eye on the Cardinals the last couple weeks), pointed out the Cardinals celebrating over the previous games after good players. Continue reading

Win or lose, Lynn was the best call

I’ve spent quite a bit of time this evening defending Mike Matheny’s decision to let Lance Lynn start this game over Shelby Miller or Joe Kelly. And I don’t usually find myself in the position of defending Matheny, either. In the end, it didn’t work out for the Cardinals as Lynn struggled through the game, allowing 5 earned runs over 4.1 innings of work. The main complaint being that Lynn can’t be relied upon because he isn’t mentally tough and he’s been killed by the Pirates all season.

While I can’t speak to the former, I can understand why it would be an issue, especially when your offense thought it was a night game. The latter is definitely true. Lance Lynn has been killed by the Pirates this season. The Pirates hit .283/.371/.505 against him this season. For a reference, that’s like if every hitter in the Pirates lineup were Matt Adams (.284/.335/.503). And well, that’s certainly not good for a pitcher.

But Miller wasn’t much better. The Pirates hit him with a line of .321/.396/.679 this season. I don’t have a good comparable to that because that slugging percentage is higher than Miguel Cabrera‘s (who led all of baseball in slugging). In fact, if that was a player he would have finished 5th in batting average, 9th in on base percentage, and 1st in slugging percentage. We’d be talking about an MVP candidate. Continue reading

Three questions for the postseason

On Sunday afternoon the St. Louis Cardinals put the finishing touches on their 2013 campaign that saw them finish with a 97-65 record, good for best in the National League. For a team that spent most of the first half of the season in that position before floundering through the midsummer, it was a happy ending.

The team, however, will enter postseason play for the tenth time in the last fourteen seasons with about as many questions as answers. Here are three important questions that the team will need to find answers to if the franchise’s 12th World Series title is in the cards.

Who will be the postseason closer?

After the preseason injury to closer Jason Motte who led the league with 42 saves in 2012, the team began looking for a new one this spring. Last year’s setup man Mitchell Boggs was unable to settle into the role which opened up the competition. Then last year’s trade deadline acquisition and seventh inning man, Edward Mujica stepped into the role and made it his own, posting a 1.72 ERA, a 0.78 WHIP, and 35 saves in 37 chances from when he took over the position until the end of August. He even got an All Star nod of his own for his work.

But some late season struggles that included being shut down for a week in September for elbow fatigue has opened the door to questions about his health and who will close for the team. Mujica struggled to the finish in 2013 with an 11.05 ERA in his 7 1/3 innings of work and the league hitting over .500 against him. Continue reading