No game to review but with the Chicago Cubs coming to town today there is still plenty to consider.
There has been no official news from the Cardinals as to whether or not Jim Edmonds will be placed on the disabled list. However, from what I can gather it still appears he will go on the list. I have given up saying anything with confidence on this topic, though, after all the confusion. We’ll know for sure soon enough I suppose.
I really hope he loses but…
The pitching match-up for the first of three games between the Cardinals and Cubs is exciting on two levels. On one level Cards’ pitcher Sidney Ponson (4-0) will be trying to maintain his perfect record and perhaps even lower is 2.92 ERA. On a whole other level the UBER good looking Sean Marshall (3-3) will be on the bump for the Cubbies. I genuinely hope his record is below .500 after tomorrow game, but I wouldn’t mind seeing him last until the late innings. Does anyone know if the Chicago bullpen needs rest? (Wink. Fun fact…Marshall has a twin brother who is also a baseball player. One more thing…if you are evaluating his, um, assets for the first time do not trust his head shot on MLB.com. It really isn’t flattering.)
I have probably just destroyed any shred of credibility I had as a knowledgeable baseball person. I think it’s worth it though. People everywhere need and deserve to know about this guy AND his brother.
Juan Encarnacion–From Normal to Decent and Back
After his recent “hot” streak that was actually more like a “decent right fielder” streak, Juan Encarnacion seems to be returning to normal. After his batting average reached a season high .250 on May 27th he has it back down to a reasonable .242. (His May batting average of .260 was actually much better than his .222 April total.) I’m being a little harsh for reasons that really have little to do with him. I am really growing frustrated with people who say, “Don’t worry…by the end of the year he’ll be right where he usually is at the end of a season. He’s been very consistent throughout this career.” (Obviously not a direct quote from anyone, but Tony LaRussa I’m looking at you for now.)
Where he usually is at the end of the season is sitting with a .266 batting average and an on-base percentage of .314. (Those numbers are actually is career averages.) An expected RBI number for him is really quite hard to pin down. Often I hear 75-80 RBI can be expected, but he really hasn’t consistently reached that level. I’ll go ahead and give him the benefit of the doubt, however, and say most expected him to end the season at .275 (AVG) and .325 (OBP) with 75 RBI. Is this really a good season for a guy getting to bat in the St. Louis Cardinal lineup behind (or in front of) the likes of Albert Pujols and Scott Rolen. I do not think so, but apparently I’m outnumbered.
I feel better with that out of my system.
I promised “First Raes” every single morning, and so far I have delivered. That being said, a feature/in-depth/not “First Raes” post is coming soon. I’m working on it…I promise!
Link of the Day! Albert’s opening a restaurant…and all of the profit is going to the Pujols Family Foundation. Once again proving that not just baseball and the Cardinals but literally the world is lucky to have him. (Dramatic sentence of the day award winner right there.)
Thoughts and things to think about for the Thursday off day, June 1st. (This is the second time I have typed this post…after the first one was deleted because my internet disconnected. I hope no one has to feel the pain I’m feeling right now.)
(1) It looks like Jim Edmonds will end up spending some time on the disabled list regardless of what is officially determined to be wrong with him. The latest word is the he has a mild to moderate abdomen strain. (Is there an actual difference between mild and moderate? Isn’t that kind of like saying a person has a large to big bruise or something?) There has yet to be a determination as to how long he’ll need to recover, and no determination seems to be on the way. In the mean time, the Cardinals can’t afford to keep playing with a short bench while he takes things day-to-day. Hopefully, like the injuries Sidney Ponson and apparently Chris Carpenter, this will prove to be a short setback in a long season.
(2) Speaking of injuries, when David Eckstein was hit on the hand by a Mike Gallo pitch in the bottom of the eleventh inning a horrific image flashed through my mind. It was the image of him somehow landing on the DL. Just think about the way the lineup and the infield would look without Eckstein. Scary. With his two hits today he is now hitting .330 for the season which is a significant 45 points above his career average. More importantly for the leadoff man, his on-base percentage is currently .402 also well above his career average of .354. (X-rays taken after the game confirmed he suffered no broken bones.)
(3) With Thursday’s extra innings 4-3 win over the Astros, the Redbirds avoided losing their first series in the New Busch Stadium. Considering June has begun, that is a significant statistic. I would also like to point out that the eleventh inning rally was started by a one out Yadier Molina double. Just saying.
Since we just completed a series against Houston and since everyone else is talking about it, I’ll say that Roger Clemens return to the Astros is fine by me. I have honestly believed since the start of the season this would be the eventual outcome. Of course I don’t look forward to facing him, but I will take any team’s best shot. (Easy for me to say…I don’t have to step into the batter’s box against him.) The most surprising thing about the whole process was how joylessly Clemens seemed to go through the motions at today’s press extravaganza. Regarding his return to baseball he said, “I don’t need to or want to, but I’m committed.” Ok, then…I guess that’s all he needs.
(4) Jeff Suppan provided another quality start today–pitching six innings while allowing three runs. The bullpen then took over and returned to form by pitching five scoreless innings. Adam Wainwright and Jason Isringhausen threw two innings a piece while Braden Looper backed up yesterday’s impressive performance by pitching a perfect eleventh. He also picked up the win.
(5) Because nothing is better than premature baseball banter…
It is hard to imagine the rest of Adam Wainwright’s career going as smoothly as the first two months, but his success has got me thinking out of the box nonetheless. Wainwright’s minor league numbers exclusively as a starter, while promising, were not exactly the numbers of a prolific prospect. Still, his early season success and his 2.03 and shrinking ERA have many people penciling into next year’s starting rotation. I’m am certainly not against that line of thought, but I think there is another option to consider.
Apparently his pitches have been of a higher quality during the short outings he enjoys as a reliever, and if the pressure is getting to him he has yet to show it. (However, it should be pointed out that each of his outings, according the Cards’ broadcasters, have begun along with an inning. He has yet to enter a game mid-inning, therefore he hasn’t inherited any runners or outs for that matter.) Still, if the Cards are able to retain or obtain five quality starters over the winter I wouldn’t have a problem with him remaining a weapon in the late innings. I am in absolutely no hurry to replace Jason Isringhausen despite his ability to regularly cause my blood pressure to rise, but right now it’s not hard to envision Wainwright as a power closer down the road. Or maybe I’m crazy. Time will tell.
Link of the Day! A column discussing how Houston signing Clemens could and should affect St. Louis management.
Thoughts and Link of the Day for Wednesday morning, May 31st.
(1) My comments during my liveblogging escapade regarding Jim Edmonds were inaccurate. Although the results to his MRI are still not known (at least not to us), doctors do not believe he has a sports hernia. That doesn’t really clear up the issue, but it does relieve some of my worries. As I said, I read that sports hernias often requires surgery (a la Donovan McNabb) so ruling that out for the most part is a wonderful feeling.
(2) Scott Rolen is finding his power stroke. His second home run in three games on Tuesday sailed out of the park after a smooth, easy swing by Rolen. He went 3 for 4 in the game with a RBI and two runs scored. He is now hitting an impressive .327 on the season. Considering his off season shoulder surgery and his lengthy bout with super-bronchitis, Rolen’s success this season is amazing and is taken for granted by way too many people…including myself.
(3) It’s not hard to find the silver lining of the Cards 6-3 loss to the Astros. (Not that said silver lining actually makes me feel better, but it is there nonetheless.) Before and after pitcher Josh Hancock’s seventh inning meltdown, Anthony Reyes and Braden Looper were impressive.
Reyes can’t really be this good all the time can he? Although he didn’t pick up his third win in three career starts he easily could have, pitching 6.1 innings while only allowing five hits. He struck out seven and walked just one. His strike out to walk ratio has been fantastic this season in his minor league starts, but it is a whole other level of impressive for him maintain his control in his first ever start in front of the St. Louis home crowd. In the end, he was charged with 3 earned runs although two crossed the plate after he was removed from the game.
Looper, meanwhile, pitched a scoreless and perfect eighth and ninth. It wasn’t exactly a pressure packed situation, but it’s good to see him be successful. Plus, it was important for him to keep the lead at three runs to preserve the possibility of a comeback.
(4) Today, in a noon-ish start, Jeff Suppan will face one of the Astros rookie starters, Taylor Buchholz. I wish I had some insight to share about Buchholz, but I simply do not. I will say that I hope Suppan has his bad outing out of his system for a while after his last start.
Link of the Day!–Alright, I’m confused this story posted just after Tuesday turned to Wednesday suggests Edmonds could indeed have a sports hernia after all. Here is a link to one of the stories that said in part, “Edmonds underwent an MRI earlier Tuesday and was awaiting results, but believed doctors had ruled out a sports hernia.” Apparently that position changed a few hours later. The only thing that seems certain here is that absolutely no one, including Edmonds, knows what ailment is affecting his abdomen.