Please send any Qs about Cards, Blues, MIZ, etc
OK let's break this down....
Right away, it's soooooooooo early. Like, imagine if the ball didn't get stuck to Yadi's chest protector, or Matt Adams' robbed home run went seven inches farther, and Jim Edmonds Jr. did catch it in center? What if those two little things happened and the Cards SWEPT the Cubs? I feel better saying that. Now the real stuff -- the bullpen is infuriating. I was fine with keeping Oh in during the opening game, but since then, there's been a lot to criticize about bullpen usage and bullpen production. At least Rosenthal is coming back. As for the offense, yes, there are plenty of batting averages under the Mendoza Line (or, as they coulda called it at Clayton High in the late 1990s, the Ben-doza Line). Those guys will start hitting, notably Carp and Dex. And then, as for fan-favorite Waino, it's tough to watch him. This is getting fearful, dating back to spring training.
Yes. If Mizzou gets Knox AND Tilmon, holy moly, that's the No. 1 player (per ESPN.com), the No. 7 player and the No. 41 player)... and Harris the No. 99 player? I mean, this is kind of like a Kentucky recruiting class at that point. So yeah, if BOTH those guys come to MIZ, than yes, this team can compete for the SEC title, which is crazy to even think about, considering that last season, Mizzou's fourth-best player was Ben Frederickson.
I see what you're saying. Yes, a lot of the fun feelings of spring work or "play well" because the team's real record is 0-0. But I also think that Dex has done a lot for this club off the field, and I also think Dex will have a strong year, finding ways to get on base. It's just too early to say someone is a bust or not. As for Matheny, this will be a FASCINATING storyline as the season goes. He's taken strides to loosen up and be a player manager, but I would've thought that Jose Martinez would've gotten a start by now. Yes, yes, I wrote, after that first Cubs game, that Adams could play some LF this season. But the key to that was some (any!) offensive production. We haven't seen much from Matt. And Martinez made the club because he was playing so well in spring. So... let's talk next week, and the week after -- same time, same place, and see how this season unfolds.
I'm going with the St. Louis Blues. Jake Allen has been playing top-notch hockey for much of the past couple months. I see the Blues stealing a game in Minnesota (btw, I'll be up there in St. Paul, along with JR and Tomm Timm, covering the Bluenotes for stltoday.com/sports). I've been rather impressed by the Blues defensive play in recent months, notably the captain and even Bow. A huge question -- one we don't have the answer to just yet -- is how coach Mike Yeo will handle the Tarasenko line. He'll likely keep Schwartz on there (Jaden has also been fantastic recently), but will he have the rookie as the center? Or will he go back to Jori? Or the Sobotka curveball, since 71 can win faceoffs? My guess is, he'll start with Ivan, but be cool with shaking the line up midgame.
I loved Zip! To me as a kid in STL, the Zippos were my Oscars. But Mike Bush was The Man. He was the quarterback of St. Louis TV sports. and Sports Plus? ("Sports Pluuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuus")... That was like the Mad Men of sports shows.
A fair question -- I say at least a few weeks. It's weird to think a human just can't do the same thing at the bat if different dudes are batting around him. I know there's a mentality to batting leadoff and all that. But Carp is a strong-minded and strong-willed baseball man... you'd think a hitter is a hitter is a hitter. So I'll give it a couple weeks before I say there's a huge issue. But it's weird, right? I'm with ya.
I agree! Over at Protzel's or Kaldi's, I've been heard saying that Greg Garcia is underrated -- here's a guy who just does things pretty well all the time. His glove is pretty sturdy and last season, in his 200-plus ABs, he had a .393 on-base percentage. If that number looks familiar, it's because it's the oft-cited OBP of Dexter Fowler for the '16 Cubs. Pretty impressive. And he hit .294 with a .339 OBP in Jupiter this spring. So yeah, I think he's underrated. And I think he could maybe even start for a lesser team (the question is, at what point in '17 do the Cards themselves classify as a lesser team??)
Good question Art. Well, right away, I don't think this is going to be a Schwarber situation, where a guy makes a huge impact showing up, suddenly, for the most-important games. But let's break this down. He's been playing hockey, so he's in game shape. And he's pretty good at winning faceoffs. And he's got that adrenaline we see in players who first join a team, be it back from injury or a trade (or in a neverending saga involving a KHL contract.). But the reality is, this guy hasn't been playing against NHL competition. And none of the Blues have been playing NHL competition at a playoff intensity. So it'll be a large adjusting gap for 71.
A very fair question. I myself ruined my fiancee's family's Easter -- they had to reschedule the big 2 pm Easter meal for 10:30, so the one NON-Christian in the group could actually attended. Hopefully your family will be able to accommodate the Bunny and the Blues. Clearly, Easter is an important holiday and in many families, the reality is, that takes precedence over any game. But if you're stuck, come on over to my fiancee's fam, I'm sure they wouldn't mind!!
I meant my Friendster page!
It's not necessarily about MM being an entertainer, it's about him being a manager that controls the vibe of his clubhouse and is considered to be treating his player's fairly. But with Kolten, he was supposed to be the starter at second, and now because of a bad spring training, he's platooning. And Piscotty started the season batting low, presumably because of a bad spring (though 55 himself admitted that his spring was emotionally affected by the contract talks). And they say defense is a priority, but then why does the one guy who was awesome in spring -- Jose "Mr. March" Martinez -- never play, but a first baseman does play in left field?
An interesting question indeed. The reality is, the fellas from the fraternities seemed to welcome the players nicely -- cool banners at the houses showed a personal touch. And the chants for the players were cool too. And then the sorority picture floating around -- of the women and the recruits by the columns -- was classy and cool, too. I'll just say this. If I'm Kevin Knox, and I got to Duke or Kentucky, I'm just the "next" guy, the most-recent star to sign at the school, ho-hum. But if I come to Mizzou, the fans are waaaay more excited about my arrival because it's new to them and it's a rarity. And I get to play with Michael Porter Jr. And Cullen VanLeer!
True, but all I'll say is -- some of the championship Cards teams started out badly.
A very interesting question. The reason the Birds have Carp batting third is, in part, is to get the the lefty Cardinal in the mix for the later innings. If you go Dex then Carp, that's a switch hitter and then the left, and then like 37 righties after it. But right now, in later innings of a close game, the other team would have to face 1. switch hitter (Dex) 2. righty (Diaz) 3. lefty (Carp) 4. righty (basically anyone they'd have hitting fourth). But yeah, if it keeps up, why not try your suggestion -- because if he can't hit at the three spot, they won't even be in close games.
Man what do I look like, Albert Einstein. NICE try.
A good point! There was talk about Diaz improving his range, playing looser... but we haven't seen it much in '17. And most people know my frustration about Jhonny.
Hope things are going well in Stillwater (my favorite Oklahoma city and my favorite 1970s band). The Adams experiment was worth it for his bat, but right now, he's not hitting well (or walking often). But also, let's not forget, we're less than 10 games into the season, and the MAJORITY of the games will have Randal-Dexter-Stephen in the outfield. But right now, because of the Pisco injury, our sample size is all we have to analyze.
Hard to gauge. Some of the older players read more than the younger players. I know that Yadier reads stltoday.com at times, because he once pointed out a column to me. In a Twitter world though, I think the guys see the headlines/Tweets more than read the whole stories, especially if a story is particularly long-winded or a complicated read.
Guys to keep an eye on to be Cards at some point this season: Harrison Bader, Paul DeJong, Carson Kelly, Luke Weaver (if he gets healthy -- he has a hand injury) and maybe even Alcantara from double-A.
I've noticed a similar effect regarding BenFred's hair. When it's more controlled, the team looks good (such as when BenFred was in Jupiter), but lately it's all Eddie Redmayne-y, fluffy and wavy in the front, and I think it's distracting the players and affecting their focus.
The reality is, some research shows us that the No. 2 spot is actually the most-important run production spot in the lineup. And Trout has hit there often. But the question, like you suggested, is who would hit where if Aledmys Diaz is fourth? That's why you wish a player like Kolten could improve as a hitter. I dunno, maybe Piscotty second? He has a high OBP for his career.
Whatup! One of my best friends from Mizzou lives in MPLS, so we're gonna get the famed burger with the cheese in the middle. I appreciate the invite though! Will you be at the games? To quote my friend Tony X, it's surely going to be rather lit.
OK -- BenFred and I are off to record our first episode of a new season of 2 Bens.... 2 Bens in a BENZ, thanks to Mercedes Benz West in O'Fallon. It'll be awesome.
Also, if you're on twitter, I am too -- www.twitter.com/hochman