I hear ya! I haven't been this excited for Mizzou basketball since tip-off against Norfolk State! And obviously the Michael Porter Jr. signing is the greatest get, maybe, in Mizzou history (he's the No. 1 player in his class -- well, No. 2, now that Marvin Bagley Jr. reclassified and went to be the next Jayson Tatum at Duke -- and he's been like the Pied Piper for recruits). But I'm also excited about those other recruits, notably the two big men, because, presumably, Jontay Porter and Jeremiah Tilmon will be here for a couple years (and you can say the ol' "if they go pro, it means the team probably did well"). And coach Martin's teams traditionally play defense at such a high level. That's an important coaching quality for a guy who has corralled an All-Star team of talent.
Well, I like Machado a looooot more than Donaldson. Of course, Donaldson is a talented ballplayer, but on Dec. 8, he turns 32! Machado just turned 25 this summer. I think we can all agree that the Cards need the big bat(s) you mentioned. It's funny, when you name off the Cardinals individually -- Wong, Pham, Carp, Dex, Yadi, DeJong -- you're like, "Dang! That's a lot of offense!" But the reality is -- with some of those fellas, the offense is only in the past couple months (which got us to this point) and then its the other fellows, often hitting fourth or sixth, who strike out a lot and don't mash. So I think everyone is on the same page -- fans and management -- by Opening Day of 2018 (or, dare I, 2019), the Cards will have a big-name bat in the lineup, and they'll have to give up more than they've EVER given up before, be it in a trade or with money in free agency. And that's the nature of it all. Yes, a lot of people say if Oscar didn't tragically pass away, he would be that big bat. Maybe yes. Maybe no, too. Nothing in this world is guaranteed. So here we are. And the big thing is -- they gotta do somethin'.
Come on Patrick! I'm doing my best!
It's funny how it all changes so fast, right? Before the trade deadline, the narrative was -- "trade Lance Lynn, get as much as you can for him, since surely the Cards aren't going to re-sign him." Then, Leake strings together like 37 awful starts, Waino goes to the DL and Wacha shows some signs of vulnerability. Now it's like "GIVE LANCE ANYTHING HE WANTS! Redesign the Arch to be shaped in an L!" ... The reality is this -- next year, the Cards will have 1. Carlos (who, by the way, ace or not, I'm totally cool with as a top of the rotation dude for years to come). 2. Waino 3. Leake 4. Wacha 5. Alex Reyes 6. Luke Weaver ... but if they're cool with spending, why not lock in Lynn, knowing that, really, he's never had a bad year! And Reyes and Weaver can't guarantee you 200 innings each.
Stress is an interesting topic, because it's not a stat, yet it affects performance. I think it's fair to bring up stress in a discussion of a player, but make sure it's just one of numerous avenues of dissecting his play (because stress is anecdotal, meaning we can't fully know how stressed every player is, but we can fully know every players OPS). The reality is, Piscotty was not himself this spring and then is dealing with something few of us can relate to -- his mother having ALS. And from a baseball standpoint, Piscotty has had a miserable season. He was seemingly rejuvenated in Triple-A -- and he rewarded Matheny with that controversial start in the Williamsport game by playing really well -- but since then, Piscotty has been pretty bad. Since his return, he's has had 39 at-bats. One third of them have been strikeouts (13). As for the veterans and military -- yeah, that's a totally different world. They do admirable things at such a high level. I hear ya about how they might "scoff," to use your description. But the reality is, mental health is a real thing in any line of work.
You say that Pinkel wasn't doing much for recruiting -- imagine if he HADN'T backed his players during the boycott??? What message would that have sent to future recruits? "Come to Mizzou, where your coach doesn't have your back." As I sift through your words, there are two things on the table here. One is the recruiting, and yes, he didn't have his best class in that final year, but that class did include a big-time QB recruit (who enters this season with the most starts of any SEC QB) and arguably the best defensive player in the nation, Terry Beckner Jr. As for the player backing, that was a bizarre time, but I think it was the right call. It was a pivotal moment in campus history. The players were passionate. They wanted to change history, change the culture. We can make a zillion arguments back and forth, but the reality was -- numerous football players risked forfeiting a game to make their campus culture better for then and the future. That's big-time stuff. Pinkel needed to back them. He couldn't not. So I don't think it's revisionist history. And -- by the way, say what you want about the guy, but he's one of the most important people in the history of Mizzou athletics. So -- buy his book! I hear it's extremely well-written.
Ha! And we're loving every minute of it here! Hopefully that stadium will be ready for the dang Olympics!
That's a great question. We zoom through the season so fast, right? That's a very fair question, because even though they rattled off the eight-game win streak (which was exciting and all that but was against Cincy, KC and Atlanta), the team has had many holes in it. In the past eight games, St. Louis has averaged only 3.9 runs per game (though, optimistically, they have a great road per game scoring average, and theyre on the road for the next 10). But to be honest, I don't know if there's a still an issue in the culture. There's an issue in the production. So, to spin it forward, this road trip will tell us a lot about the culture of the Cards -- September comes, still in the mix, away from home for 10 days... whatcha got guys?
What a dramatic turn-of-events this could be. Earlier this summer, it was reported that the Cards wouldn't want to take on Stanton's $$. Now, national guys are reporting that the Cards and Stanton could be a fit. First off, I like where your head is at. At some point, they're going to have to make the big, uncomfortable play for a superstar. And you make a good point -- waiting doesn't guarantee anything. If this modern-day Maris or Mantle from Miami is available, and you've got this crazy-large prospect pull (including enticing dudes like Jack Flaherty and Dakota Hudson and Maggie Sierra and like 73 other outfielders), why not consider this move? I'm sure they look at it from numerous angles. One to consider -- what's the worst that happens? Can one contract sink the St. Louis Cardinals? I wouldn't think so -- but, to use another boat analogy, this is uncharted waters.
Shake up, sure. But is your definition of shake up different than mine? Or someone else's? Clearly, unless this Cards go on some crazy, historic run, the team will miss the playoffs for the second year in a row -- that hasn't happened since 07 and 08 (where have you gone, Troy Glaus?). So yes, I think there will be some sort of a shake up, but I think that the biggest names -- Mo, Girsch and Matheny -- will be back. I'd imagine some coaches get canned, because that could change the culture a little bit around the club. And of course Alex Reyes will be back. And you'd think they'd make a play for a big bat. And you'd think that one of the key outfielders this year (Grichuk-Piscotty-Fowler-Pham) won't be back next year. And you'd think that they'd flip some of their minor league outfielders for MLB help. So yeah, I think there will be plenty of new faces in Jupiter in February. But I'm not sure that's the shakeup you had in mind? Or maybe it is.
The long-term numbers are the numbers, that is true. But lets also look at these numbers. After the July 3 debacle against Miami, Waino had five starts BEFORE the start that put him on the DL, and his ERA in those was 2.89. But -- he only had one amazing start, and that was his 7 2/3 innings against the Cubs (a brilliant effort, even though they lost, at a crucial time of the season). I'm fine with letting Waino have at least one more start upon his return, to see if he's returned to where he needs to be. But if that one doesn't work, then, yes, let's talk pen for the rest of the year and ride Weaver. As for Jack Flaherty, it's not as easy as just calling him up -- if they do that, it'll knock a dude off the 40 man roster, and possibly have the Cards lose a talented youngster in the Rule 5 draft. So that's something to consider as we consider Flaherty.
Good points indeed. I think the fair go-to in this situation is -- since the turn-of-the-century, the Cardinals themselves have made it clear that they want to contend annually, that they want to reward their fans. So two years is indeed a loooong time to be average. I also think that in this bubble of St. Louis -- and even in the bubble of social-media/instantaneous everything -- we're more emotionally invested than ever before, and we know more than ever before. The what-have-you-done-for-me-lately aspect has never been stronger. It's harder to say -- "OK, we've been spoiled, so I'm cool with this 2-6 in the last eight"... it's -- GET IT TOGETHER RIGHT NOW!!!!!
Come on man, Fowler has responded quite well in the cleanup spot -- he's slashing .383/.500/.617 in 62 plate appearances there. So let's consider the now.
That's a great question. I still think Mizzou will have a more "successful" season -- I think they'll be in the top-25 and a top-five seed in the NCAA tournament. SLU will probably be pretty good too though, and I'm truly excited to see all these new faces out there. So here's thinking both will have "successful" seasons for their definition of success -- but Mizzou's will be even grander amid that definition.
"amid." Do people use that word or just me?
Um, I thought Yadi was always supposed to bat fifth???? But I like it.
Missouri State W
South Carolina W
They'll lose one they're supposed to win (Purdue), and they'll win one they're supposed to lose (Florida). A revenge win by Arkansas will make a hot Mizzou team cool off, but the Tigers will end the regular season with seven wins.
OK I gotta go downtown and film "2 Bens!" I think I get disproportionately excited about the 2 Bens videos. Anyway, so much fan chatting and playing GM with you all -- let's do it again next Tues.