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). [click to continue…]

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. [click to continue…]

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. [click to continue…]

Jackson to get the call

It was first reported, I believe, by Joe Strauss last night on Twitter. The Cardinals plan to call up short stop Ryan Jackson from Memphis to replace Tyler Greene on the active roster.

Jackson, 24, was drafted by the Cardinals in the 5th round of the 2009 MLB Draft out of the University of Miami. Jackson has shown a good glove in his time in the minor leagues. He currently has a .971 fielding percentage, pretty similar to the one that Rafael Furcal has put up in St. Louis.

So far in Memphis he’s been the every day short stop and is hitting .269/.331/.398 with 10 HR and 45 RBI in 113 games. He’s played 100+ games at the minor league level every complete season he’s had in the minors, so playing a lot of games isn’t new to him. But that also brings a concern on how he will do without the same amount of regular playing time. [click to continue…]

Happy trails, Tyler Greene

At first I thought it was a joke. Something I never thought would happen. Let alone in the middle of a season when he’s our only right-handed infielder who doesn’t already have a locked in starting job. A little more research confirmed the tweet I saw: Tyler Greene was traded to Houston.

After the struggling Greene lashed out at Cardinals’ fans following a 15-0 loss to the Giants where he went 0-for-3 and made a costly error in the 6th inning that led to the Giants posting a crooked number, it was only a matter of time. Likely frustrated at both his own inability to perform, the mistake he made being so costly, and the fans reaction, he responded to a question about it with, “Then don’t come to the game. Just cheer for your team. That’s all I can say about that.”

Word came this morning that the Astros claimed Greene off of waivers. Jeff Luhnow, the Astros’ General Manager, was the Cardinals’ Vice President of Player Development when the team drafted Greene in the first round of the 2005 draft. They worked out a deal for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Prompted at least one person on Twitter to wonder out loud if it was like the Victor Marte deal where the Cardinals got him last April from Kansas City for $1 worth of cash considerations. [click to continue…]