Oh, sure, you want to win while you have this pitching matchup. I wouldn't feel too good about that Sunday night game. Maybe Wainwright has one more gem in that arm, but like everybody else I am skeptical.
He's not in the mood to thank anybody while playing on 30 consecutive days. Even with the expanded roster he is running out of bullpen.
All managers emphasize the obvious things in baseball. Mike Scioscia is widely regarded as one of the game's best. Yet his Angels have spent the bulk of the last 10 years failing. Why? His players don't perform. Managing is very hard. Almost endless factors go into every decision. Managing personalities over the 162-game grind if very difficult. In the end, though, if the hitter swings and misses at a pitch three feet outside with the bases loaded, that's on the player. The manager does not stay all night thinking, "Why didn't I tell him to hit that ball? How could I forget to do that?"
I was comparing Kelly's potential as an occasion corner infield to Wisdom's potential as an occasional corner infielder. Patrick has demonstrated some power in the minors, but on balance Kelly has been the better hitter in the high minors. He has enough offensive potential to be more than a very occasional catcher behind Molina.
Trading low on Martinez would be stupid. If regresses and never fulfills his potential, so be it. But you don't want to trade low on guy that could get back on track and have a nice long-term run. As for Reyes, there is still special potential there. Rather than commit resources to get another starting pitcher, I would suggest letting Reyes, Hudson, Gomber, Poncedeleon play out and see what happens. Maybe someday there will be so much pitching that dealing from that pile for a big hitter will make sense.
A manager can change the clubhouse vibe and improve communications, as Shildt did. He can call more running plays to get the team into a more aggressive mode, as he did. Mike has done a nice job and deserved the extension. But as we've seen, players can make managers look stupid by failing. People didn't like Matheny's bullpen usage because guys failed. They will have the same complain about Shildt if the relievers keep getting shelled. If this Mike can do a better job than the previous Mike with blocking out such noise, he will have a much better job of succeeding.
I would say Ozuna. I'm a believer that middle-of-the-order presence goes a long way. If helps the offensive team and it makes the pitcher think. If Marcell keeps this up, that will be a huge plus.
Another issue is lack of command. When you fall behind hitters and you can't make certain pitches, that makes the job a whole easier at the plate. I'd be more concerned about that.
Sure, another left-handed impact hitter would be nice. But don't think it's mandatory. As for relievers, there is a lot of turnover and burnout because of heavy usage. But a consistently good reliever can bring a lot of comfort to the group. Turning the bullpen over for the sake of turning it over is stupid if the bullpen is good.
There are a lot of factors that would push the Cardinals closer to 100 victories from the 90-win goal set for this season. Ozuna hitting like he's hitting now, Wong avoiding a bad start, Carpenter avoiding a bad start, Molina staying healthy, more consistency in CF where Pham went into a months-long tailspin, a bullpen that isn't diminished by injuries and inconsistency . . . I don't see it as a one player thing. How many Cardinals have been performing consistently well throughout the season? Another big hitter would help, but not as much as 20 other guys staying healthy and productive.
Also sponsorship dollars and courtside seats. Frankly, half the fans in the building of a NBA game don't do much to push the bottom line.
I'd say so. These renovations should be good for 10 to 15 years. By then, sports arenas may be a whole new concept. They may be much smaller with more seating variety. Things change quickly these days.
Once Bader made his impact, I do believe that the franchise's tolerance level for a subpar Fowler diminished quite a bit. O'Neill may get there too, just on raw power plus the ability to go get a ball.
I'm in your camp on that.
I'd say there is a lower ceiling there, based on his unorthodox style. But he is taking the Vulcan grip and running with it. He has made himself useful for sure. At worst he is a long reliever spot starter going forward.
Again, they need all of these guys. Ozuna needs to keep going, Carpenter needs to keep getting on base, DeJong needs to keep driving in runs. And, yes. Jose Martinez needs to start hitting again.
We'll see if Marcell needs surgery after the season. When there is no major structural damage, which the team claims, the whole soreness thing can be unpredictable. Teams don't want to give players a bunch of cortisone shots -- unlike in the 60s, when players were pin cushions -- so waiting until later in the season made some sense, especially with the team playing better. Sports medicine can inexact. Ask Michael Wacha.