As long as the Cardinals' lineup is producing _ and it is _ there's no reason to switch it around much. We have to remember that Carpenter did not have very much spring training this year because of his back issue. Two weeks' time isn't enough to declare whether Carpenter can hit third _ or only leadoff. Let's have this discussion at the end of the month.
When Gyorko returns, Munoz probably will be sent out. Bader has shown himself to be a force, both offensively and defensively, when he's had a chance to play in the last few days.
Look at Memphis (9-2) and you know the Cardinals think they have enough depth from within. We've already seen Flaherty. Bader has been productive. Brebbia and Mayers have come up and helped. Gregerson is back soon and so will be Tuivailala, Sherriff, Cecil and later, Reyes. So they'll stay within ranks, barring major injury.
What's the rush? Is the season lasting only 16 games this year? I refuse to judge too many players until the weather warms up to anything bordering on comfort. No matter the individual stats, it's hard not to like the way the Cardinals have played lately. Yes, those last four were against Cincinnati. But that's how contending teams contend. They don't beat up on the good teams. They beat up on the bad ones. And Cincinnati is only three days from appearing on the schedule again. ,
You're welcome. Many teams these days are going with eight relievers because the analytics show that many starting pitchers no longer are effective the third time through the lineup. That means starters are going only five or six innings rather than Martinez-like seven or eight. That then means more relievers, especially in the National League when you bat for the pitcher. Would I like to see an extra bench player? Yes, especially when one of the relievers isn't used for a while.
Too early to judge the bullpen without Gregerson being in out. He has been a big part of several bullpens throughout his career. With him, Norris, Hicks and Holland, the bullpen is very deep with Leone, Lyons and Bowman also in it. Leone has been hurt by some home runs but his strikeout-walk ratio is terrific. But, no, I didn't like the bullpen as much when Hicks and Holland weren't in it.
Gibson had 251 wins, 255 complete games. We will not see that again.
With all due respect, 60 at-bats (one-tenth of the season) is a small sample size. My thought going into the season was to let this lineup go for a month. People get mad when Matheny constantly juggles the lineup. Now that he seems to have one and he has stayed with it, to a large degree, some of them still are mad. As for possible adjustments, Jose Martinez could bat third, but then who hits fifth?. Notice that with Martinez hitting behind Ozuna, the former Marlin has only one walk.
I thought that Martinez would get hurt playing first base because he is so long and the bag is so small and he doesn't much experience playing there. Surely enough, he has been jarred twice recently in mishaps at the bag. I didn't think I would take this approach, but I'm going to adopt the hockey plus-minus mentality. He drives in many more runs, so far, than he lets in, so keep him where he is. .
The owners aren't going to want to pay a 26th salary. However, I am a fan of "healthy scratches" in September when teams can expand their rosters to as many as 40 and some teams wind up with more players on a given day than their opponents. That's not fair. Twenty-five eligible players for everyone. Every game.
I love the blue hats at all times on the road. Talk to Bill DeWitt III and let him know your thoughts.
Haven't heard anything amiss about Carpenter's shoulder but, if lack of thump continues, it is something to keep an eye on.
I suspect Molina took that double somewhat for granted. Hamilton has one of the better arms in the league and made a good play.
I choose the weather in some instances. Wong has been in and out of the lineup. Hard to establish much when he's used that way.
Ozuna didn't have that much behind him in Miami. Stanton was hitting ahead of him. Plus, Ozuna is very eager to show he was worth the trade and probably is swinging at too many pitches early in the count.
Stanton probably would have sold more season tickets, but otherwise, Cardinals feel good about Ozuna.
The best way for teams to solve this dilemma _ and it is only a dilemma for a few innings of one game _ is to carry someone like Luke Voit, who actually has caught before. I'm a big fan of a third catcher who can play other positions. To have only two catchers is a little risky, especially if one or both can't run. But that philosophy is part and parcel of an eight-man bullpen. Teams have chosen to use their depth in pitching rather than position players.
My easy answer to pace of play is to cut down on strikeouts. Let's have some first-pitch activity, either a base hit or a batted ball out. The games would have a lot more pace.
I suspect Mike Matheny and Mike Maddux might have had a talk about the usage of Holland after that first-night meltdown. Hard to tell the total picture until Maddux has all his relievers healthy, which won't be for a while. Maddux may have been a champion of Hicks, though, not that Matheny wasn't.