A Few Pointers From Last Night’s Painful Loss-
Disclaimer-I didn’t any of it. I was at a fireworks carnival in Webster Groves and only had updates on the phone. I did read up, watch highlights and gave it a few minutes to suck it all in. Simple blown save had some legs to it. By the way, it’s not cool forgetting where you park at a festival and coming back to your car later to see your side mirror smashed and pulled off. Someone just hit my car and ran. One of those times where you get a serious homicidal rage flowing your bones. Anyway…
*Adam Wainwright pitched a helluva game. He pitched into the 9th inning, and was given a chance to finish it. Albert Pujols saved his one hit of the series for a good time and flared a single for a rally starter. Matheny pulled Waino and inserted the extremely rusty Edward Mujica. At 104 pitches and looking sharp(12 of last 14 retired and hitting 92mph), Waino was good to go. He had a two run lead and could have continued. I understand Matheny wanting to go to his bullpen to a certain degree, but agree with other sources that Randy Choate was an option. Yes, yes, I know its a save situation and I usual sit in the party of closer first because he is your last line of defense. Well, Choate is on this team to get out lefties and Josh Hamilton is pitiful against lefties with a good slider. In my mind, if you are ever going to do the multiple reliever shuffle, that is the time. See what Choate can do with Hamilton and bring in Mujica for the rest. It may not have worked that way but that is the better plan if you pull Waino. Just a thought. Adam is your ace and wanted to finish it. Matheny pulled Waino 10 days ago against the Rangers in a close game and the bullpen burned a lead. With better luck, Waino could easily be 13-5. That’s baseball.
*Mike Matheny has made great moves this year. Inserting Mujica as the closer. Putting Matt Carpenter Jr. in at the leadoff spot. Going to the Memphis well many times for internal solutions. He has also had some bumps. Staying with Mitchell Boggs too long. Staying with starters in games too long or pulling them too quick. Managing is a tough gig but who ever said it was going to be any different. It’s the big leagues and not the California Penal League. His managing skills will be tested in close games. At least we didn’t see Holliday or Freese double switched out of the game in the 7th inning but the AL park saved them here.
*Be easy on Mujica. This was his first blown save in 22 tries. Read that again. 22 chances and only 1 blown game. That’s a 95 percent conversion rate for the people who don’t have calculators. I didn’t think the guy would have an 80 percent rate when he started, so this blown save was simply bad timing but expected. We can’t expect a journeyman reliever to be aces all season long. That’s crazy mang. He hasn’t closed since June 19th. LONG layoff. That’s the Cards recent struggles mixed in with a few blowout victories. He threw a meaningless inning on Tuesday but climbing the mound for a save is a different beast. Closers need to close or work in close ballgames to stay fresh. We’ve seen it with a number of pitchers. Rust is real.
***Movie Recommendation break-Speaking of rust, the beautifully powerful drama Rust and Bone is now on cable on Starz. It’s a movie full of fantastic performances and a real gut punching end. It’s got a pair of French actors and they are great. Give it a look. A quiet indie gem and one of my top 10 from 2012.
*We face the Marlins tonight and I seriously hope the bats stay alive and the pitching is there because I want this team to improve at home. We are 22-16 at Busch, and that’s just not good enough. I don’t care if Miami is 13-6 since they took a series from us. I want us to beat this team or at least win the series and get back on track. We haven’t won a series since we took 3 of 4 from the Cubs at Busch 8 days ago. We split with the Astros, and lost 2 of 3 to Oakland and LA. Two of those clubs are average to bad teams. No way. We face the phenom Jose Fernandez on Sunday so I suggest taking the first two but they won’t be easy. We face a young lefthander Nathan Eovaldi tomorrow. The Marlins are not in contention but they can be the irritating bunch that nags good teams. Let’s take care of business. That starts with keeping the starting pitching primed and the bats moving.
*Daniel Descalso getting more starts at SS is a good plan. He is hot right now at the plate and plays solid defense even at short. Pete Kozma needs a break to take his mind off his struggles and can come off the bench. DD is a streaky bat and you have to ride that horse when it’s going.
*I am in favor of a save chance for Chief tonight. Let Eddie Mujica clear the cobwebs from his arm and take the weight off his shoulders quick and get back in the saddle. The worst time to blow a save is on the last day of a road trip where you have the whole plan ride to think about it. I hope Eddie got some good food down today, did a shot of whiskey at noon, and cleared his head. Tonight, he can make amends.
*Jake Westbrook starts tonight and it’s huge. Since returning from elbow soreness, Jake has been cold and rough. After being sharp in April and May before going down, Westbrook hasn’t pitched well or deep into games at all lately. Tonight is huge because if he struggles you have to reconsider the fact that his elbow isn’t 100 percent and you may have to call Memphis again. There’s no time to waste.
*Where is the Chris Carpenter update? Is he rehabbing in Siberia? Nothing on twitter or STLToday.
*Carlos Beltran may stay put next year in STL and you may see Jon Jay get bumped in a trade or relegated to the 4th OF spot. Oscar Taveras is coming up next year and Jay is hitting .246 right now and hanging around that mark. His defense is down and his bat isn’t .300 sharp anymore. If Beltran wants to play another year in the NL(still a long shot because he could easily get a 3 year deal at DH in the AL). Just something think about.
*Overall consensus. Pete Kozma and Jon Jay need to platoon and Shane Robinson and Ty Wiggington aren’t scaring anybody. The bench needs a boost at the deadline and I wouldn’t rule out Mo making a stab in center field(on a 2013 loan only) or at shortstop. When it comes to this crafty Cards front office, anything is possible, even insanity.
*Albert Pujols went 1-11 in the series with a walk. Barely a dent from the one legged slugger but he made his one hit count. He started a 3 run ninth inning rally last night that let his team win the series. Reminded me of his Game 6 2011 WS leadoff single in the 9th before Freese made history. Only this time…well..for the other team. The guy looks hurt and hopefully gets a little down time soon. That probably won’t happen since the team is hot right now. I just think Pujols’ right leg is going to completely snap off soon. However, that’s not our problem anymore.
That’s it. Hope to see a good start from Westbrook and some decent offense against the St. Louis kid Jacob Turner tonight. Some action from Super Smoke Tank(aka Rosenthal) and Chief.
Later tonight, as I watch the Cards, I will blog about the Blues and then the Rams and the Convention Center’s decision to not put forth the 700 million needed to renovate the Ed Dome for the Rams and what that means.(Still don’t think they are leaving but we’ll see as I try to breakdown Kroneke’s poker face.
Thanks for taking this in and hopefully you return later.