Greetings, chatters. Plenty to discuss today. Let's go.
It could end poorly. Or, it could end like last night, where it looks bad for a bit but turns out looking survivable when it's all said and done. Expectations for Wainwright should be lowered by now. Some seem to want him to return to All-Star form. That's not happening. He has to be as good as the other fifth starter options, nothing more, to hold a place. Compare him to Luke Weaver and Daniel Poncedeleon, not Mikolas, for example. I imagine Wainwright is going to give you better starts than Weaver at this point. I'm not sure if he's going to give you better starts than Ponce, or even Tyson Ross, but if it's anywhere close, the Cardinals are going to go with Wainwright -- no shocker there. Unless, of course, he proves to be un-startable. He didn't do that last night. He looked good at the beginning, got smacked around for an inning, then recovered and finished relatively strong. Another thing to keep in mind? We can all agree Wainwright has been in decline, and marred by health problems, since 2016, right? Well, since then he is 15-7 with a 3.38 ERA in starts at Busch Stadium. The Cardinals are 20-10 in the 30 home games he has started since 2016.
Don't make the mistake of assuming the coach you see in front of the TV camera during interviews is the coach prospects and their parents see on the couch. Different settings. Different messages. Coach Odom is actually pretty funny, very self-deprecating and very likable -- when he wants to be. Other times, he can come across as standoffish, particularly if he's fired up about something. In other words, he's a football coach. I think he has made more of an effort as of late with the media, and I appreciate that. He and I had a misunderstanding at one point earlier this offseason where he declined an interview at an event in St. Louis. It was no big deal, but word got out about it, and it became a message-board thing. I regretted that, and told him so, because if I thought it was news I would have written it myself. He appreciated the explanation. We had a good talk about it during fall camp. For a while, I think Mizzou thought it could play the sour-grapes card when it comes to STL recruits. As in, if can't get you, we can win without you. Maybe, but there are too many talented players here for that approach. Odom has worked to strengthen relationships, and as the team has played better, so has the recruiting in this area.
The velocity did drop. He hit 92.4 mph in the first inning, and didn't come close to that in his final two innings. One pitch hit 90 in the final two frames. He said after the game that he scaled it back as the game went on, because he was reminded to make pitches and not throw max effort for velocity's sake. In some ways, him trying to fire it probably hurts him, because it becomes a low 90s meatball that is ripe for a ride. His final two innings were two of his best innings. It's not just about velocity. He has to pitch, not throw, to be effective, if that makes sense. I was not encouraged. I was also not convinced he doesn't deserve another start. This one screamed redo.
I wouldn't think so, no. Unless the Blues are going to surprise us with an all-prospects team this year. Robert Thomas and Jordan Kyrou have played well.
Ah, the annual Chicago thinks it's good for a half game? I'm out. You don't have to be! But I'm not going to pretend to say I watched, or cared.
For a starter like Ross, no. Because the big question about him was if he could stay healthy over the course of a season. The contract paid him the bonus for starts 20-29, rewarding him for his health. The Cardinals inherited that deal. They didn't give it to him.
Fair question. And the answer should stir some fear, because if the Cardinals do go with Wainwright over Mikolas against the Dodgers, then it suggests they are trying to create a breather for Mikolas to rest his arm and ease his innings count. That's the state of the current rotation. Lots of guys are close to uncharted territory, or have been in it for a while. And, don't forget, Michael Wacha ain't walking through that door.
Shildt considered it. I imagine the chat would have been lovely today if he stayed in and gave up another homer.
He is the backup quarterback. Always beloved in the chat. Intriguing? Sure. But he was available for pickup for a reason.
Errors happen. DeJong's defense has been, for the most part, really good this season. I looked it up last night, as the calls for a defense-first shortstop cried out on Twitter, and saw he is +13 in Fielding Bible's Runs Saved this season. That's 4th in MLB shortstops. He was even last year. That's a heck of a jump. DeJong might wind up playing third before his career ends, but I don't think he gets enough praise for the strides he has made, mostly on the fly, at shortstop in a short amount of time.
Did anyone start it? Let me know if so.
There's no sense in trying to pretty up the rut Adams was in. And Daniel Murphy tearing the cover off the ball didn't help; though no one seems to be asking why he hasn't saved the Cubs from their most recent stumble. Maybe Adams' struggle ends with that huge homer last night? What I hoped to see was a toggle between Adams (at first) and Gyorko (at third) depending on opposing starter. Gyorko's injury scrambled that hope.
I'd be more confident betting on a Gold Glove.