UCB Weekend: Saturday

Just a week ago, my Dad and I were getting back from a weekend in St. Louis. If you follow the United Cardinal Bloggers at all, you know that it was the UCB Weekend (#ucbweekend). The St. Louis Cardinals, in all of their graciousness, see it fit to invite us to a game on them and give us some facetime by way of a Q&A session with Bill DeWitt III, the team’s President, and John Mozeliak, the team’s General Manager.

Last year, I was unable to go. This year, thanks to my wonderful wife who was willing to forgo a weekend at the beach we’d been discussing, I was able to. I decided that I wanted to invite my Dad along with me because it was something that he would completely appreciate and enjoy.

We planned our trip to arrive on Saturday morning and leave on Monday morning. After talking about it, we decided to skip the UCB dinner on the Saturday night at the former Pujols5, and get tickets to the game instead. After all, neither of us had been in St. Louis since 2005 as we made the trip to catch the final season in the old Busch Stadium.  Continue reading

Kozma up, Furcal to DL

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that Rafael Furcal will be placed on the 15-day disabled list and in his place they will activate infielder Pete Kozma. Furcal was sent back to St. Louis after last night’s game feeling a pop in his elbow. The team is calling it a “right elbow strain,” however pops are not good. There is rumbling that he may require Tommy John surgery, which could have him missing the beginning of next season. But that is still just speculation as the team hasn’t announced the results of his examination today yet.

Pete Kozma was recalled from Triple-A Memphis last night and activated today. He will start at shortstop tonight against the Washington Nationals for his third career Major League start.

Kozma, 24, was drafted in the first round of the 2007 MLB Amateur Draft. He had a short stint in St. Louis last season where he hit .176/.333/.235 with 1 RBI in 22 plate appearances over 16 games. He logged just 15 innings at short stop, spending 29 innings at second base and 1 inning at third base.  Continue reading

Red Sox/Dodgers trade unfair?

This morning an interesting commentary piece by Rob Rains stumbled through my Twitter timeline. In the post, Mr. Rains argues that the Red Sox-Dodgers trade that was consummated this last weekend is unfair and illustrates what is wrong with the game. Mr. Rains states that Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig should have blocked the trade with his super duper commissioner powers.

Let me start: I wholeheartedly disagree.

According to Rains, Selig didn’t block the trade because he loves his money and this is a way for baseball to become richer. Because he doesn’t care about competitive balance or the “integrity” of the game. Continue reading

The Monday Musial – August 26th

The St. Louis Cardinals just completed their series victory against the Cincinnati Reds with a 8-2 drubbing behind Adam Wainwright. Wainwright, it’s fun to realize, has a 1.73 ERA and is 6-1 in 8 starts since the All Star Break. He has once again emerged as the Cardinals’ ace and regaining his market value along with it. He’s also on pace to surpass 200 innings something he’s done in every full season he’s spent as a starting pitcher.

If you’ll remember back to the last Monday Musial I wrote on July 30th, I talked about how the 22 game stretch from July 31st to August 23rd was going to be a critical run for the Cardinals’ up into this 10 game stretch against the Reds, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Washington Nationals. The Cardinals went 14-8 over this stretch, which is great until you realize how easily they could have been 18-4 and how that would have changed everything.

I still firmly believe that 90 wins is the golden ticket to the playoffs. Currently, the Atlanta Braves are the only team in the Wild Card hunt on pace for 90 wins. Their .567 winning percentage translates to 92 wins. For the Cardinals, their .551 translates to just shy of 90 wins (.555 is 90 wins). Continue reading

Westbrook signs new deal

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have signed Jake Westbrook to a new deal. The deal is essentially a 1 year deal that gives Westbrook $250,000 more than he would have made on his 2013 option and gives both parties a mutual option worth $9.5 million for 2014.

Westbrook, 34, said earlier this month that he intended to exercise his half of his $8.5 million option for 2013 but admitted he wasn’t sure what the team was going to do. He got his answer.

He is certainly pitching worth it right now too. With a 12-9 record and a 3.50 ERA in 24 starts, he is enjoying the second best season of his career by ERA+. His best was 2004 where he got his only career All Star nod and finished at 14-9 with a 3.38 ERA. Continue reading

Descalso or Schumaker, that is the question

Last night Mike Matheny was left with a choice. Do you leave in Daniel Descalso to face Pittsburgh Pirates’ closer Joel Hanrahan? Or do you pinch hit using Skip Schumaker.

We all know the outcome. With Carlos Beltran on first with two outs, Matheny elected to leave Descalso out there and he hit a line drive to center field to end the Cardinals’ 21st loss in 1-run games.

Normally things like this may not make much news. However, when you have Skip Schumaker on the bench, hitting .314 on the season and finally playing slightly plus defense at second base, why aren’t you playing him? Why is Descalso out there? There are many reasons why Schumaker would have been the better choice over Descalso. Continue reading