Good morning to all. Cardinals' biggest trip of the season. I say two wins is good enough, three is good, anything more excellent. Anything less than two potentially disastrous. Chime in with whatever you think. Here we go. . .
Bader looks as if he is running faster, but Drew had a longer stride. Home to first, no contest, because Drew was a lefthanded hitter. When Drew was healthy, he was as fast as anyone I've ever seen. He wasn't often healthy.
I am thinking Wong can play tonight although with two lefthanders going for Dodgers next two days, he might not play both games, especially with Munoz due to come off the DL tomorrow. I haven't noticed any more Maddux visits to the mound, to be honest, but he and Shildt seem compatible. I do not know that Matheny and Maddux weren't compatible, too.
I don't recall three rookie pitchers working a series this late in the season, and before the Sept. 1 call-ups. Chances are, though, that all three won't get decisions because Shildt is not likely to go too long, especially with Poncedeleon, who is a few weeks removed from starting.
I do not see anybody playing chess anymore. It seemed to be more of a unifier although it was sneered at by some players.
If Martinez is activated tomorrow, I would think Weaver would be vulnerable. If it is Wednesday, either Weaver or Poncedeleon, depending on how the latter does, could go down. Neither would be down for more than a couple of weeks or so. Somehow, I don't see Leone coming back before Sept. 1, even if he is ready. There isn't room. Wainwright and Wacha are post Sept. 1 callups.
I always say that you don't talk playoff spots without having 90 wins. That would necessitate a 22-15 finish, which is not impossible.
Edmonds had the rare ability to rise above the wall to make catches. I haven't seen Bader have to do much of that yet, but he shows the same closing speed and strong arm of Edmonds. I would like to see Bader for a whole season before I would compare too much more.
No one is invincible in the National League. Only Boston comes close in the major leagues to being that. I have a hard time believing the Cubs are the best team in the league but their record says they are, so I guess they are. The potential loss of Darvish prevents them from having three outstanding starters for the postsason, though. .
I choose to believe it is because they are pitching better and playing better defense, which, in essence, means they are not beating themselves. If Mr. DeWitt feels that is part of the preparation, I won't argue. But my theory on managers is not to grade them when the team is doing well but when the team is going poorly, how does the manager react and how does his team react?
This week will tell us a lot about whether they can retain their momentum. Los Angeles and Colorado both are playing very well. The Rockies are very much a sleeper in all of this. Closer Wade Davis is pitching better and their rotation is better than people think, although shy an ace.
But the Dodgers still have to come here for four games and Colorado, Los Angeles and Arizona still have plenty of games with one another. The Rockies also close out their season with four games against Philadelphia and three with Washington, which still could be dangerous if the Nats are interested.
I would like to see him get that shot next year, if he is still around. Donaldson might be the better glove man but Wisdom already has shown here that he doesn't scare.
Bascially, your 25-man roster on Aug. 31 is the one you would use for the playoffs. Exceptions are players brought off the disabled list after Sept. 1, which could be several. So, there will be plenty of eligible players. Also, anybody in the organization before Sept. 1 would be eligible for the postseason roster as a replacement for somebody on the 60-day disabled list and the Cardinals have two such spots available in Gregerson and Reyes. However, there really aren't too many in the organization who would quality because most of the prospects already have been here. That could apply, however, to a Weaver, if he was sent out and not brought back until after Sept. 1. It will be fun to see how Mike Shildt handles his pitching, especially a bullpen replete with a half dozen power arms, down the stretch.
O'Neill has some Grichuk in him but I think he'll hit for a higher average than Grichuk, whose ceiling is about .240. But can O'Neill stay healthy enough to gain the playing time to hit 25 homers and hit .260? We don't know yet. He won't be hitting third anymore when Martinez returns and that could be tonight.
Molina will only get a day off, it appears, if he asks for it. Carpenter is hitting more balls harder than Molina and his position isn't as demanding, so he really isn't that tired, relatively speaking. I don't know that Wisdom will get that chance unless it is tonight because I expect Munoz to be activated either tomorrow or Wednesday, at the latest, and Wisdom to be sent out unless somebody gets hurt. . .
Shildt has deserved all the accolades but the more prudent decision is to wait until at least the last week of the season to see where the club is and where it might be going before announcing anything.
I have asked this question of Mike Maddux and he suggested strongly that Hudson has been so good where he is, they're going to leave him there for the rest of the season. With Hicks a little uneven lately, that seems to be a good move. Also, Hudson has been removed from starting for a while and it would take time to build him back up for throwing 90 pitches rather than 20.
One of the big differences is that the players from Memphis have brought talent _ and energy. They play with that energy and some of the veterans may have needed that kick in the butt, too.
Unless something unusual takes place, Carpenter will hit first for the rest of the year. Shildt is not going to mess around too much with a lineup that has produced a 14-4 record this month. Next spring is the time for the rest of this.