Sunday Afternoon Dose

Throw another round in the chamber and here we go….unfiltered and blunt as usual.  Sunday afternoons with a little rain and shine can’t hide what I need to say so on with it.

Random Fire Style-
  • Chris Carpenter is the most honest athlete you will ever meet.  He’s hard on himself and gives the media the blunt truth so we get it straight.  Joe Strauss talked to Carp after his bad outing on Saturday and the future suddenly isn’t so bright for a Carp comeback.  Last night, his pitches look sloppy and were punished.  His fastball didn’t fly and his curve rolled.  Carp hated his work and thus gave a rough analysis of the future.  He meets with John Mozelaik and Mike Matheny tomorrow and will throw next on Thursday and then make another start right at the trade deadline.  It’s hard to tell what will happen.  Carp’s fastball hit 95 mph this weekend but his stuff looked flat and didn’t improve from Monday’s performance.  Getting lit up by AAA pitching doesn’t bode well for major league sluggers, but I have to step in here and add.  This is his second start of 2013.  He is being hard on himself but for good reason.  If he can’t come back, that puts more food on Mo’s plate to dice up and chew.  If he comes back, there isn’t a HUGE need for a starting pitcher.  Carpenter is truly an X-Factor in the deadline arms race.  
  • Furthermore, the important thing to point out again is that the Cards DON’T HAVE to make a move but they can certainly help themselves with an addition.  For me, it has to be right.  Don’t add a salary for no reason.   First, assess what you have.  Carpenter gets two more starts at least in AAA and in my mind should take them.  He has thrown less than 10 innings this season and is still in spring training mode for facing hitters.  I love his candor and honesty but think his bluntness is getting used too sharply here.  He will throw again before the break and that is a big day for him and the team.  Carp is being straight here and that is because the deadline is approaching and it will be decision time soon for his bosses.  This has nothing to do with money or glory but being able to help his team.  Carpenter isn’t going to climb that mound at Busch if he can’t fool a minor league hitter with his curveball.  Simple as that.  As much as I want to see him scream, roar and dominate ONE more time, he won’t do it if he isn’t ready.  
  • In my mind, Lance Lynn is trade bait because the guy is becoming Jekyll and Hyde for this team.  If Mo has a trade piece, it’s Lynn, who has a proven track record of success and may need a fresh start.  Granted, he has a ton of wins as a starter and I am not pushing him out the door but you have a ton of Memphis heat waiting in the wings and we are entering Lynn’s dog days.  He is slowly putting pounds back on his frame and losing to less than stellar talent.  He got beat last weekend by the Cubs and fell to the Padres this weekend.  We don’t need that kind of performance right now.  If you are going to place an asset on the trade block, Lynn may be it.  Also, Lynn is showing too many young boy whining session on the mound.   I don’t see that shit from Miller, Rosenthal, Kelly or Carlos Martinez.  Lynn randomly loses his cool on the mound and doesn’t have his father figure, Carp, to keep him in line.  He acts like a child at times.
  • Jake Westbrook has fired off three solid starts in a row after Friday night’s gem against San Diego.  He collected 3 hits and spread a few hits over 6.1 innings.  Westbrook has calmed my fears about his post elbow strain performance.   He is joining Waino as a reliable asset in the rotation.  An expected veteran lift.  
  • Joe Kelly is also trade bait simply for the fact that he is a floating piece of pitching strength.  If Carp comes back, Kelly goes back into the pen.  If Carp doesn’t come back but Lynn is moved, Kelly stays.  Kelly has proven his worth and has decent value.  He has 19 starts in the majors and over half are quality turns.  He can be a long relief guy and closer type.  He is a guy the Cards can hold onto and utilize in the last two months or move.  Use him or move him.
  • The 5th spot in the rotation comes into full use again on July 27th.  From there on out, the full rotation goes back into motion because the off days are few and far between.  
The Options For the Cards and the 5th spot are simple yet carry a small amount of complexity.  
*Carpenter comes back and fills a manageable durable 5th spot.  This means don’t expect the vintage Carp here.  That man is gone and never to return.  If he can give 5-6 innings of decent work, he gets the 5th spot.  
*Carp derails completely and Joe Kelly keeps the fifth spot.  Kelly will give you the decent results from a 5th starter quite easily.  He’s done it whenever he gets the ball, even after weeks of barely seeing the mound.
*Kelly/Lynn are moved, Carp comes back and Carlos Martinez steps into the rotation.  I like Carlos being used a starter and have no clue why he is in the bullpen right now being underused.   He was sent back to Memphis in June to be stretched out as a starter but got called back last week as a reliever.  What is the team doing with this kid?  Don’t mess with him.  Treat him like Shelby and make him a starter all year or give him the Waino treatment and let him work in the pen.  Don’t mix it up.   Choose one.  He is too important.  
Whatever happens, we will know in 10 days.  
  • David Freese is hitting his way out of STL.  He is hitting cleanup today in Matheny’s latest “start the backups, jumpstart a slumping vet” tactic.   He made a horrible error(ruled a hit bc its at Busch) and grounded out in the bottom half.   I wonder if Freese will ever recover from being crowned a hero in Game 6 of the World Series in 2011.  He had a decent 2012 season but has regressed in 2013 to the point of being moved all around the order.  Freese is coming up on the last years of team controlled free agency, so there could be a move and he is a trade option.  With Kolten Wong tearing up Memphis and Matt Carpenter becoming the revelation of 2013 at second base, Freese is finding his spot and future on this team in danger.   That’s baseball for you.
  • Trade block assets are Lynn, Kelly, Freese and Jon Jay.   I wouldn’t be surprised if either of them are moved.  
  • The Cards are in a dogfight and can’t afford to be sentimental.   If Freese has to go, he will never lose those memories and neither will we.  
  • The story of recently called up power bat Brock Petersen is worth telling.  I will give the short version.   A year ago, Petersen was looking at the end of his long minor league career while playing for an independent league team.  No minor league affiliated team.  Independent league.  Petersen was getting set to register for online courses for the University of Phoenix when the Cards called and sent him to Memphis.  This season, he has become a true force and earned a call up.   He put together a .306 BA, 22 HR, and 66 RBI down in the AAA circuit and resurrected his once dead baseball career.  He put together a 9 pitch at bat in his MLB debut last night, collecting an RBI groundout.  He is at the plate now, hitting 6th in the starting lineup.  Two days later, Brock is starting in left field for the St. Louis Cardinals.  Fantastic story.   An older guy given a shot late in his career to be a MLB player.  It doesn’t get better than that because it’s 100 % real.
  • Batman and Banshee.  Switching gears, unless you hate comics and movies, you heard yesterday that Batman and Superman will join forces in a movie in 2015.  Man of Steel helmer Zach Snyder will return and DC comics is taking its big chance.  For me, it may or may not work.  Depends on the script, casting of the Bat and the director.  If Snyder wants to go all action bombast crazy like he did at the end of Man of Steel, I can’t say it will work a second time.  If he tones down the action and gives plenty of story, it may work.   Who would I cast as the bat?  I give 6 options in this piece on Film-Addict.  My dark horse option.  Banshee’s Antony Starr.
  • I will be writing a column on Showtime’s Ray Donovan for Film-Addict.  My TV spotlight goes on this fine drama because it packs a wallop, has a great cast, plenty of story and got renewed for season 2 last week.   Bring it on.  
  • The real question is what series do I tackle in the downtime of the summer?  I am out of work and there aren’t many new shows on right now?  FX’s The Bridge looks interesting but I may wait until it’s first season concludes so I don’t get left on the hook each week.  It’s a one season story line and a remake that follow a Mexican cop and American cop’s investigation of a body found right across the border of Mexico and the US.  Other options include AMC’s Hell of Wheels with Anson Mount.  A western revenge tale.  You also have the recently wrapped cop drama, Southland(from the creator of Ray Donovan).  There is Cinemax’s Strikeforce, which looks like a combination of stupid action, tense terrorist drama and buddy camaraderie.  Decisions all around. 
  • You know you are a proud loser/stay at home dad when you spend Friday and Saturday night at the gym.  When the kid goes down, I go to work.
  • The Rams begin camp soon and if there is one hope I have for this team that has a new found toy chest of offensive toys, I want the 2012 points per game of 18.6 to go up.  If we have any chance of beating the Seahawks and 49ers in the division or putting together a sneaky run at the playoffs, the Rams need to score more points.  More touchdowns.  Less field goals.  With inbound weapons like TE Jared Cook and multiple asset Tavon Austin, I hope we can light teams up this year.  I have high expectations for Fisher ball in 2013.  
  • The Blues signed enigmatic forward Chris Stewart to a 2 year, 8.3 million dollar deal.   This deal is good and bad.  Stewie is a decent producing winger but disappears for long stretches.  He can score 5 goals in a week and then none for 2 weeks.  He is dangeorusly streaky.  The David Freese of the Blues.  Stewart is an aggressive player and can hold his own in a fight but you don’t pay a thug with a scoring touch 4 million to drop his gloves and protect.  We have Barrett Jackman for that.  Stewart has to earn this deal.  
  • Yadi Molina has come back to life and is hitting .335 on the season.  Over his past 15 games, he has only gone hitless twice.  He isn’t slowing down.  Just wondering if his right knee is affecting him at all.  
  • Good headphones are everything to a runner/weight lifter/laptop junkie.  I prefer the pods that come with Apple products.  I have worn every kind of head equipment for listening to tunes and movies.  It doesn’t get better than Apple ear pods.  So when your son chews on your two pairs, what do you do?  Head to Walmart, buy a new pair for 30 bucks.  Money doesn’t matter if you use the product enough and would be wasting money on a lesser quality brand.  
  • Twitter Urges Are Real.   The logical thing for a writer seeking exposure for his own writing and website would just keep on tweeting and plugging away.  Let the followers and feedback come.   It’s harder than it seems.  You see interactions with followers go to great places, and how that effects your craft and you just want more.  That’s life and the human flaw.  WANTING more.  I want more and nearing 200 followers(I once sat at 45), I just want more followers to interact with and spread my craft.  I don’t want fame only.  I want an audience.  It’s in my blood.  Part of my system.  Something I can’t control.  If you are on twitter, connect with me and let’s have some fun with 140 characters.
That’s it.  All I got.  List of topics is finished.  Cards have a 3-1 lead.  Allen Craig hits RBI hits as often as water comes out of a tap and what do you know Freese gets a 2 run double.  The day is in front of me and I am going to get away from my desk and get busy living.  Thanks for reading.  If unemployment has taught me anything, it’s take advantage of the time with your kid while you get it.  
Until next time,
Dan L. Buffa

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