After a 14th inning appearance where he walked two and allowed a hit that put the Diamondbacks on top for the eventual win, Victor Marte is on his way back to Memphis. Since his recall on May 27th, Marte has made four appearances allowing four hits and three walks. Not a recipe for success. Kevin Reynolds (@deckacards) and I had some fun at his expense last night on Twitter.
Kevin: This game has Marte throwing error written all over it.
Jon: That’s not a throwing error, that’s just how he pitches.
Kevin: I was waiting for that… it’s like I set it on a tee for you.
Jon: Also something Marte does well.
Marte had a time last season where he provided some valuable innings for Mike Matheny in the bullpen. Unfortunately, the league caught up and figured him out while he had some trouble finding the strike zone. Continue reading
Chuckie Fick will get his first taste of big league action. Reported last night that he was on his way to join the major league squad, the news of who would be making the return trip came out later. The 26-year-old Fick is on his way up while Fernando Salas will be heading back to Memphis.
Fick was a 15th round pick of the 2007 MLB Draft for the Cardinals. He had a stellar year in Memphis in 2011, posting a 2.30 ERA over 70 1/3 innings. This year he has been markedly worse, but still capable with his 3.86 ERA in 21 innings so far in the young season. However, the Cardinals’ bullpen has been hit hard by injury and ineffectiveness that has resulted in the need to call up some of their minor league pitchers.
Fick joins Eduardo Sanchez and Brandon Dickson as callups from Memphis for the St. Louis bullpen so far this season. He was already a member of the 40 man roster for the Cardinals, so there were no changes to the 40 man roster to make room for him. Continue reading
The Cardinals are expected to place Kyle McClellan and Allen Craig on the disabled list tomorrow before they open play against the Los Angeles Dodgers, that according to Joe Strauss of the Post-Dispatch.
McClellan, 27, has a 4.42 ERA in 15 appearances out of the bullpen this season, but has allowed 4 runs in his last 4 innings on the mound over his last 3 appearances. He left in the seventh inning of today’s game against the Giants with right elbow pain. His is expected to be a longer stint.
Craig, also 27, has a .373 batting average with 5 HR and 19 RBI in the 13 games he’s played since coming off the disabled list on May 1st. He apparently injured his left hamstring during Wednesday night’s game against the Giants. According to Strauss, the team has sent him back to St. Louis for further examination. Craig, though, seemed confident that it would be just a couple days to recover. Continue reading
Yesterday I tackled my April Grades for the Cardinals’ position players and today I will tackle the grades for the Cardinals’ pitching staff and the manager. Chris Carpenter is still out and we’ve kind of forgotten that he even exists with how great the staff has been so far in 2012.
Manager Mike Matheny – Matheny was my #1 choice to take over for Tony La Russa after he announced his retirement. We’ve long heard about his potential as a manager. However, I didn’t really like that he had zero managerial experience. It’s something I held heavily against Jose Oquendo. But I felt that Matheny always had the ability to be a good manager, and so far he has been.
It’s hard to take over for a probable future Hall of Fame manager, but he has and he’s done it by making it into his own team. Over the last few years, I felt that the Cardinals had strayed from that “Play Like a Cardinal” ideal and become flat with their on field play. This year, I see some excitement. I see some of that baseball that I recall seeing earlier in La Russa’s tenure coming back. It’s a fun time to be a Cardinals’ fan. Grade: A.
The Cards newest member to the Organization is their 2nd Round Pick Charlie Tilson who signed at the deadline on August 15th for well over two times the recommended slot. He is one of the more exciting picks we made in the 2011 Draft. Welcome to the Cards Organization young man!
As the Minor League seasons are coming down the home stretch for 2011 Cards fans have to be very pleased with our system overall. We have had a very few major disappointments and so many guys that have taken a huge step forward. For the ranking nerds it is highly likely that the Cards system will be a Top 10 system going into 2012 which is a huge jump forward. Let’s highlight a few of the guys on both ends of the spectrum.
1) Seth Blair – RHP – The biggest disappointment in the 2011 season has to be Seth Blair and his inability to show any level of control of his pitches. As a high draft pick you are have some many eyes on you at all times. Blair has just over 74IP and a astounding 61BB, 11WP and 14HBP to go along with his over 5 ERA. If you want to have a glass is half full approach then you will look at his 67K’s and convince yourself that with all the BB, WP and HBP it is remarkable he only has a 5 ERA. Reality is he has had a TERRIBLE year.
2) Adam Reifer – RHP – Reifer had a breakthrough 2010 campaign and showing why so many Cards prospect nerds were so high on his stuff. Unfortunately he only had the opportunity to pitch 6+ innings in 2011 before injuring his knee and having season ending surgery. In a year our bullpen REALLY needed some help it would have been great to have him as an option mid-year.
3) Deryk Hooker – RHP – After a dynamite 2010 where Hooker had an ERA of just under 3 and over a K/IP he follows that up with a terrible 2011 season. He has given up way too many hits and given up too many free passes. That combine has lead to just under a 5.50 ERA and only 1 win. To his credit injuries have played a part in his bad season. I had him as being right behind Shelby Miller in the predictions of the Cards Minor League Pitcher of the Year award for 2011…DOH!
I don’t like playing armchair manager the next morning after a game and saying how I would have done things differently in order to bring my team to victory. Though, I’m sure we’ve all done it at some point. However, there are times where the manager makes decisions that the statistics dispute and should you really be surprised when it goes bad?
I’d say that over the last year, I have been heavily critical of Tony LaRussa. Last year, I felt that he spent a lot of time managing the Cardinals out of games while he tried to make something happen. However, praise is definitely in order for the job he did in the first half of the season as we balanced injuries and underperforming players and pitchers who just lost their ability to pitch. Then we came back from the All Star Break.
Fans have been quick to call out Fernando Salas for his blown save and his two losses over the last few games, the one in Cincinnati and the one last night. I don’t think the entire blame needs to be put on Salas, because it never should have been a tie game or a one-run lead in the first place. I read one Cardinals’ writer who claims that LaRussa doesn’t have faith in his left handed relievers. But can you have faith in their handling after seeing how he has handled them over the last few days?
Let’s take a look at the situations.
Against Cincinnati, LaRussa brought in Raul Valdes to face Joey Votto in a lefty-lefty matchup in the 6th inning. Votto would single off of Valdes and was standing on third base when P.J. Walters got out of a bases loaded jam. The next time Votto came up to the plate, LaRussa brought in Trever Miller to face him. Votto would rip a ball for a ground-rule double and plate the go-ahead run of the inning. Continue reading