As my Dad told me last night, “I was expecting a Wild Card Game, not a wild Cards’ game.” Major League Baseball’s first Wild Card Game, certainly lived up to the wild factor. The 94 win Atlanta Braves were facing off against the 88 game St. Louis Cardinals at Turner Field on Friday evening with a National League Divisional Series berth on the line.
Facing off for the game was the Braves’ Kris Medlen (10-1, 1.57) and the Cardinals’ Kyle Lohse (16-3, 2.86).
Medlen was the starter of note, because the Braves had won 23 consecutive games that Medlen had started, dating back to May 29, 2010. The streak was interrupted by Tommy John surgery and he started this season in the bullpen for the Braves.
Lohse was the quieter of the pair, despite being one of the top pitchers in the National League all season. He led the Cardinals’ rotation in ERA this year. A rotation that was the fourth best in baseball. He had also never won a playoff start going into this game, having a career postseason ERA of 5.12 in 31 2/3 innings. Last year during the Cardinals’ playoff run, he allowed 11 runs in 12 2/3 innings.
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Early Wednesday morning the San Francisco Giants defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers. In doing so, the knocked the Dodgers out of the playoffs and clinched the second Wild Card for the St. Louis Cardinals. What that meant is that tonight’s game because the first meaningless game that the Cardinals have played since the 2010 season finale.
Adam Wainwright was supposed to start this game, however, with it being a meaningless game he was held out. Instead, he is penciled in to start Game 1 of the National League Divisional Series against the Washington Nationals.
In his place, the organization’s #1 prospect Shelby Miller got the nod and the opportunity to make an impact out of the rotation.
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September’s UCB Project, after all the requisite UCB Weekend related postings, was the annual top-7 prospects. We don’t have to do it like that, and in the end Daniel leaves it to us to figure out what makes a prospect and what doesn’t.
Last year, I did an All-Prospect Team, pointing out my favorite players at each position in the organization. This year, I’m going to do the same. However, this year, the list takes a more distant look. Most of the players I deemed as my favorites last year spent enough time to take away that tag, was traded, or injured.
As far as what is and what isn’t a prospect, I’ll go with the definition of anyone under the age of 25 who will maintain their MLB rookie status. For those who don’t know, that’s 130 at bats, 50 innings, or 45 days of service before expanded rosters. Those 45 days is why Lance Lynn was no longer a rookie this season, though I’d have to think he’d be on the shortlist for Rookie of the Year if he had been.
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And then it was Sunday. The official blogger’s day at the ballpark. Around 11:15 we began our walk towards Busch Stadium. After deciding to take the shortcut around the other side of the stadium, we learned that you can’t walk all the way around the outside. So we got to go the other way.
We entered at the administration offices and went up the elevator. We rode up on the elevator with Matt Whitener, unbeknownst to us at the time. We arrived and it was a room full of people that I knew from their pictures on their Twitter pages, Facebook pages, or blogs.
The first person to recognize me was Bob Netherton (yet another reason why he’s one of my favorite Cardinal Bloggers). I went over and signed in with Lindsey Weber, the Cardinals’ Public Relations Specialist. We got our tickets to the party suite and were buzzed through the door into the office area where we found ourselves in an area with plenty of other bloggers. [click to continue…]
On Major League Baseball’s Facebook page yesterday there was a picture posted that featured images of R.A. Dickey, Gio Gonzalez, Johnny Cueto, and Craig Kimbrell and asked who is this year’s NL Cy Young Award winner. Cardinals’ fans immediately noticing that Kyle Lohse is missing from the list of contenders, bumped from the image by two guys who have higher ERAs and a reliever.
The question you now have to ask yourself, is does Kyle Lohse belong in the conversation? I think you can certainly answer that question with a yes. His 2.71 ERA is currently third in the National League. His 15-3 record leaves many desiring more wins, something the Cardinals have had trouble earning him while their offense has struggled with consistency.
With Gio Gonzalez and R.A. Dickey within shouting distance of 20 wins, the magical number, they are automatically viewed as the favorites. But the common complaint with wins is that they don’t really tell you how good the pitcher was, but rather how good their team was. Which is definitely true. Which is why I prefer to look at the loss. [click to continue…]