Hello, and welcome to the penultimate chat of the Cardinals regular season. Anything happen over the weekend? Cardinals had their lead in the division cleaved down to two games. The Pirates did their best not to help at all. The Cardinals have the rockiest schedule of the three teams jockeying for the NL Central crown, and the Brewers have the skate -- after taking two of three from the Cardinals this past weekend. The ninth was a mess Sunday. I imagine there will be some turbulence ahead. I've been up since 4 a.m., so consider yourself warned.
Same way Houston did for more than 400 consecutive games.
The math remains on the Cardinals side, however, because they are the one team of the three in control of their destiny. Brewers need help. Cubs need to beat the Cardinals. Cardinals just need to win. Some reality: If they play at their current winning percentage they will win seven of the final 13 games. That puts them at 90-72 to finish the season. The Cubs must go 9-3 to tie and 10-2 to surpass the Cardinals. It's even more daunting for the Brewers. Here's the best part of being in the lead: The Cardinals are not only helped by a win or a Cubs loss, they are helped by a day draining off the calendar. However this series against Washington goes, they'll reach Wrigley with the ability to decide the division. If they can win there, that is.
This is well put. The team with the 22nd-highest OPS in all the land will now go up against a team that has made the pitching moves that the Cardinals have not, preferring to stick with their quantity of homegrown players and playing the odds a Jack Flaherty or Dakota Hudson will emerge and have staying power.
Probably not. But it's the best deadline deal in this division -- and this chat has maintained that the division could be decided by a deadline deal. So here we are.
Just looked this up for fun. Nick Castellanos has a 1.070 OPS for the Cubs since the trade. Anyone want to take a moment and guess what Matt Holliday's was in 2009 after the trade to the Cardinals? (Insert Jeopardy theme music here.) It was 1.023. He had 13 homers, 31 extra-base hits, and 55 RBIs for the Cardinals down the stretch. Castellanos has 32 extra-base hits, 33 RBIs, and he's got a whopper of a .343 average. However, Holliday got on base more often after the trade with a .419 OBP and made fewer outs than Castellanos has.
I would be surprised, yes. Roster churn and opportunities are going get Wacha a better shot and a better offer from another team. Ozuna isn't a given either way. He wants to stay. Cardinals haven't made a move on keeping him. That appears to be a November conversation -- with the Cardinals making a qualifying offer and then seeing where that goes.
Brebbia had pitched in three of the four previous games. He was untouchable. If we're going to litigate this we're going to discuss Ponce de Leon and Mayers or Leone before we get to Brebbia, who was hands off because of the workload.
OK. Even if the Cardinals offer Wacha a deal, the Astros might offer one better.
Color me intrigued by the team that gets the Twins in the five-game series. That could be volatile and invite chaos.
Success. We have all agreed on math. This is a big step for the chat!
A starter. Not based on who moved around. A starter based on what they had and what they could get. A starting pitcher -- and yes they would have had to overpay, but they could -- would have changed this race, would have changed how the bullpen looks, would have strengthened the area that is the Cardinals' strongest: run prevention. Period.
I appreciated the candor. He responded the questions with respect for the questions and a professionalism and even humor that is always appreciative. He wasn't putting on a show to look cool. He was being genuine.
That would have helped, yes. They didn't. Find another way.
You mean like Tommy Edman, the everyday third baseman who has replaced a guy who finished top 10 in the National League MVP voting? Like that guy?
(Aside: Every team is going to side with the players who project to be their best until proven wrong over and over and over again. That is true with struggling stars throughout baseball. The Cardinals are going to struggle if Ozuna struggles. To be their best, they need contributions from him. That's how a big-league roster works. It's resting on the players paid to be the best players.)
My pet phrases? Interesting. I thought that was a pretty common phrase, but I'll take it if you're going to give it to me. In effect, Shildt did do this -- but freed from the save notion he did what so many people want him to do -- best pitcher at the best time in the highest leverage. Take a look at that game again, and it had Gallegos against the best of the Brewers' hitters, Miller against the run of lefties, and then Gant set to face THE BOTTOM OF THE ORDER. Yes, pinch-hitters came up. Add their batting averages together and you barely get .400. One of them has a sub-.575 OPS and has been back and forth from the minors. This was the matchup that Shildt set up so that the ninth would be less dicey than the previous two innings. It's exactly what the Cardinals advertised as their approach and that many fans have clamored for. So here we are. Gant walks those two gimme putts and trouble ensues.
He's going to come to spring training as a starter. And a Gant-like transition would not be a shock. That seems to be where and how this is headed. However, that will depend on moves made all around him. If they don't have the depth of starting they need/want then it opens the way for him to have to be a part of the rotation if ready. There is internal discussion going about whether his longterm future is as a starter or late-inning reliever. The 2020 season is not going to be the definitive answer on that just like the 2018 season wasn't for Hudson. Need will dictate as well as performance.