As I noted earlier, the broader coaches challenge that covers most missed calls -- like pucks off the mesh, or too many men -- could fix that. And I believe as gambling becomes a bigger deal (and it will, even in hockey) the league will expand replay that way to protect the integrity of officiating.
As I wrote last week, we've seen three months of sub-.500 play from this team dating back to last season. Adding Goldschmidt was one good step but more are needed. This team is short 3 or 4 quality pitchers right and Mike Shildt can't find a batting order that is consistently productive. There are good free-agent pitchers just waiting to be signed and we'll see teams like San Francisco forced into fire sales this season. Opportunities to add pitching and offense should arise and the Cardinals must act on them.
Like I said earlier, that Krug hit is charging during the regular season. Most referees would have called that. Charging penalties are routinely called for hits half that big. Then again, remember all the times Brayden Schenn left his skates to make hits earlier in the playoffs? All of those would have been charging penalties too. And believe me, we're going to see a lot more questionable hits in this series. If the referees try to calm things now, we could see a LOT of power plays and that would be bad for the Blues.
I am as big a Kolten Wong supporter as you will find in the media. But these last two months have been hard to watch. After all this time in the big league he still has a giant hole in his swing -- on breaking pitches down and in on him -- so I have to concede that I don't see him becoming the .280 hitter with gap power that I expected.
Yes, lower in the order Carpenter might see less dramatic shifting. And his power could be more useful there. But for Bader to be the guy at the top of the order, he must figure out how to hit righties more consistently. If he can't take that step, then he will continue moving in and out of the lineup.
For a while there, it looked like the Cubs were going to win 100-plus games. And I urged the Cardinals to see 100 victories are their annual season target -- given what Chicago has in its core hitting group. But like you saw, even getting to 91 victories looks like a heavy lift for this team. The advantage we all expected them to have, pitching up and down the rotation and the bullpen, evaporated. They are scuffling there like the Cubs are scuffling. And the Cubs have lots more offense.
Second base will be an interesting position to watch. Prospect Tommy Edman got an earlier mention in the chat. He has enjoyed a DeJong-like rise in the organization. He doesn't have Wong's crazy fielding tool set, but he can drive the ball. As for shortstop, I believe the model has changed in the NL, with teams seeking offense there as well, so I can see DeJong staying there for a while. With teams mapping out fielding alignments to counter hitting tendencies and fit game scenarios, a steady shortstop with a good arm and OK range is fine.
Berube has the last change, so Cassidy will have a tough time picking his matchup. I could see more line shuffling like we saw in Game 2, with Cassidy breaking up his big three. Krejci is an excellent No. 2 center and he and Pastrnak have clicked before.
Well, we have seen Shildt make some changes. He has tried different batting orders. He has removed Michael Wacha from the starting rotation. But, yes, more change is needed. I could see more starts for Yairo Munoz and/or Jedd Gyorko because Wong has been in a funk since March.
I picked him up for my fantasy team with that expectation, but his last few relief outings were not encouraging. I can see Alex Reyes in that rotation in June, with Genesis Cabrera returning to Memphis to gain more polish.
Ah, the Ornest Era. Before the Blues had Barclay the dog, the Ornests had Blues. The dog roamed the bowels of the arena. Nobody had time to take the dog outside, apparently, so he did his business indoors. Cranky old Harold Ballard stepped in some Blue poop one day and nobody on the Maple Leafs staff had the temerity to tell Harold that his shoes were soiled. But, yes, Harry did save the Blues. He gave St. Louis a Final Four team and he sold to a good local owner.
Geez, the fans are getting feisty too. Look for Backes to wreak more havoc in this series and become a big-time villain. That's his job. He may have been overpaid in the regular season relative to his declining ability, but in a playoff like this the Bruins are glad to have him.
Yeah, it would be nice to see some durability and continuity. From that '15 staff, John Lackey and Jamie Garcia are out of the game and Michael Wacha is looking spent. Lance Lynn and Carlos Martinez have stayed in the game, but it seems unlikely that Martinez will ever fulfill expectations. For a time there he seemed capable of becoming a staff ace. Is anybody holding out hope for that now?
It appears so. Sure, the kid throws hard. And, yes, the Cardinals did undermine his first start with terrible defense. But this seems like a move of necessity, since Austin Gomber went down and Alex Reyes needs more time to recover from his broken hand.
He wouldn't a piece of Zdeno Chara, but nobody else on the Boston roster would present a problem for him. The man had a million fights in his career and you never forget how to punch a nose.
Oh, come on now. Backes has to stand behind his fallen teammate. Joel Edmundson wasn't happy with that one penalty sell, but that's part of the game too. And don't be surprised if he takes a run at Jordan Binnington to retaliate for those two big hits on Tuukka Rask.
The hitting lulls, separately by scattered power surges, are driving Mike Shildt crazy. Ozuna keeps driving in runs and Goldschmidt has been getting on base, but this is NOT the offense we expected back in the offseason.
Ponce de Leon has failed to work deep into games for Memphis. He hasn't worked more than five innings in his last five starts and control has been an issue. But then again, Cabrera struggled for Memphis until his last two starts at the Triple-A level. As for Edman, yeah, he could see the bigs by the end of the season. He followed a strong spring showing with a strong start in the minors.
I agree about Wong. The many has been slumping since April began. Adding the pressure of the leadoff role didn't make much sense there. While Martinez can't run well, neither can Carpenter and Jose is this team's steadiest hitter.
The Blues have done lots of big hitting themselves. Sundqvist and Schwartz went into Tuukka Rask with full force, for instance, and I noted Schenn's many flying hits earlier in the playoffs. This is the game the Blues want to play and they can expect some payback as a result.