Berkman to the DL again

For the third time this season Lance Berkman is headed to the disabled list. The move was made this afternoon as the team recalled outfielder Shane Robinson from Memphis to take his spot on the roster.

Berkman, 36, had just returned from the disabled list two weeks ago after having knee surgery. He was continuing to have inflammation in the knee that gave him trouble in the game last night. On July 24th against Los Angeles, Berkman took a line drive off his knee near where the cut was, which may or may not be related. He had hit .182/.341/.333 since his return from the disabled list.

In his place, Shane Robinson gets the call. Robinson started the season with the Cardinals and in 64 games is hitting .256/.304/.344 with 2 home runs. He was optioned to Memphis in July to make room for Berkman. He has hit .300/.388/.414 in 18 games for the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate.

There were also some injury concerns around Rafael Furcal and Yadier Molina who were examined by team doctors today. However, both are still in the lineup for tonight’s game against the Brewers.

Cards add RHP Mujica at the deadline

On a Tuesday afternoon where it seemed the like the St. Louis Cardinals were going to quietly let the deadline pass them by without doing anything to shore up the team, they didn’t. The Cardinals announced that they acquired RHP Edward Mujica for minor league 3B Zack Cox.

My knee-jerk reaction to the trade was “Is that all they could get for Cox?” After all, I saw a Mujica who had a 4.38 ERA in nearly 40 innings this season.

However, when I dug into Mujica’s numbers further, I found a pitcher that has me thinking this could really be the trade that solidifies that bullpen and helps stabilize this team going forward. Something to realize is that the new Marlins Ballpark in Miami is quite the hitter’s park. According to Baseball References’ Park Factor, Marlins Ballpark scores a 106 for hitters and a 107 for pitchers this year. Over 100 favors the hitter. Meanwhile, Mujica will move into a Busch Stadium that has multi-year Park Factors of 99 for hitters and 98 for pitchers. A far more neutral stadium. That should help greatly. Continue reading

The Monday Musial – July 30th

Here the Cardinals’ sit today, 7.5 games back in the NL Central with a 54-48 record after 102 games. After 102 games last year they were tied for the division lead with a 54-48 record.

Over the last 10 years, a team has needed 90 wins to get a Wild Card in the National League. That means over the last 60 games of the season that start Tuesday against Colorado, the team needs to go 36-24, that’s .600 baseball. Still doable without going on some crazy run.

When you look at the schedule and Home/Road splits for teams, we don’t play a team with a winning record where we’re playing them until we go to Cincinnati and then to Pittsburgh starting August 24th. That means the next 24 days are absolutely crucial for the Cardinals if they intend to make the playoffs.

If the Cardinals and the other teams continue to play at the same winning %s, the Cardinals will likely go 32-28 the rest of the way. But ladies and gentlemen, that’s why we call it baseball. From August 24th to September 2nd we have a 10 game road trip where we play Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Washington. That will be the season.

Something that’s also fun to think about is that the Cardinals host the Reds in the final series of the season in Busch Stadium. How epic would it be to rob them of the division on the final day of the season? Continue reading

Chuckie Fick claimed by Astros

Chuckie Fick was placed on waivers two days ago when the team called up Brian Fuentes, and now he has been claimed by the Houston Astros.

Fick, 26, made his major league debut for the Cardinals’ this year. He made his debut on May 26th against Philadelphia where he allowed 1 hit over an inning. He made his second appearance a day later, throwing 2/3rds of an inning where he allowed two hits, a walk, and an earned run. That would be his final appearance for the Cards as he was optioned back to Memphis on the 31st.

Last year in Memphis, Fick had a banner year, posting a 2.30 ERA in 54 appearances and 70 1/3 innings out of the bullpen. However, he struggled to find the same success in 2012, with a 4.68 ERA in 42 1/3 innings before being placed on waivers to remove him from the 40 man roster.

Jeff Luhnow, who was the team’s Director of Scouting and Player Development when the Cardinals’ drafted Luhnow in the 15th round of the 2007 draft, claimed Fick to bring him to Houston. He looks like he will be placed in the Astros bullpen.

Fick probably isn’t a huge loss for the team, but I would have liked to see him get a longer look in the majors. He had some success, but for some reason was struggling mightily this year. In the end, he was expendable for the Cardinals especially if they felt that Fuentes could play a key role in the bullpen down the stretch.

Fuentes gets the call

The Cardinals announced today that Brian Fuentes would be making the trip to St. Louis ahead of schedule, skipping his intended appearance tonight for the Double-A Springfield Cardinals. Fuentes, 36, was signed by the Cardinals on July 15th with the hopes that he can be the pitcher he was when he was one of the top closer candidates on the free agent market in years’ past.

Fuentes was downright horrible this season with Oakland. He had a 6.84 ERA in 25 innings along with a 1.60 WHIP. He was Designated For Assignment (DFA) by the Athletics on July 3rd and received his release on July 11th.

He signed a minor league deal just four days later. He pitched two appearances for the Cardinals’ Gulf Coast League Rookie level team, going two innings while allowing a hit and striking out one. He then pitched an inning for Springfield, striking out two. The team was under a deadline to move him to the majors as he could opt out of the contract on July 31st if he wasn’t with the big league club. Continue reading

The Monday Musial – July 9th

For some reason the post didn’t post as scheduled on Monday. However, here it is! Read everything like it happened on Monday.

Yeah, it’s been awhile. A little over a month since the last post here. I’ll be honest. Life gets busy and there’s just not enough time to watch Cardinals’ games as I would like. Especially since I found a job and writing for Redbird Dugout cannot be considered my full-time job anymore. So what’s this “Monday Musial” thing? It’s something inspired (read stolen) from ESPN’s NASCAR writer Marty Smith.

He does a column entitled “The Six” every week where he talks about items of interest to people who message him. While I may not have the time to write nearly daily as I have in the past, I need to make an effort to keep the blog alive or let it die a quiet death. So I decided that this is a format that I like, so I gave it a little Cardinals’ flavor, and hopefully once a week I’ll opine about what’s going on in Cardinals’ Nation that interests me and makes me want to share my opinion. Continue reading