Greetings chatters. Hope no one is napping at work after that late hockey game. Binnington did his best to steal it. He's gonna need more help. Cards are back in town tonight against the Pirates. Eli Drinkwitz keeps grabbing notable recruits from in-state. Plenty to discuss. Let's roll.
Cheer up, B. The Cards bench is not going to be labeled the best in baseball, that's for sure. Those pinch-hitters are also producing a middle-of-the-back OPS in the National League. Compared to the Cubs' pinch-hitters who are slashing .169/.319/.186 the Cardinals bench looks a lot better. What has helped the Cards' pinch-hitters more than anything is their NL leading .357 on-base percentage. They don't do much damage up there, but they can get on base, which allows one of the regulars to drive them in. There will probably need to be some bench maintenance as the season progresses. A future star would not be put on the bench.
Guys have been trying to throw it as hard as they can long before radar guns showed up at the ballpark. The metrics can't be blamed for falling in love with velocity. I think like anything else, if given time and not tampered with by rule changes, things will sort themselves out. Guys will learn there is a more sustainable, effective way to pitch -- not just throw -- and they will make some changes if they want to stick around. Or go down in a short blaze of glory. Some, the really good ones, can do both. Don't forget the ball has changed, and the league made a big deal about wanting to cut back on the adhesive substances pitchers had been using to get grips on balls. I think some of this is related to that.
Great callback. Hall is one of just five Conn Smythe Trophy winners who won the award after losing in the Cup Final: Roger Crozier (1966), Glenn Hall (1968), Reggie Leach (1976), Ron Hextall (1987) and Jean-Sebastien Giguere (2003).
He hasn't had more than three hits in the past 10 games, or more than three blocks in the past 13. Has scored just one goal since late January. It's been pretty clear for a while now that he's doing the best he can but that he's not at his best physically. I agree with you that they are a different team when he's limited. Defense suffers.
Gorman has just 12 games beneath his belt in Class AA so far this season, so that role is a bit out of reach for him right now. Could he be there in the relatively near future? Sure, if he keeps climbing like he has. Most seem to think the DH is all but a certainty after this season. A strike or work stoppage might happen in between; hopefully not. But when it is settled, teams would be wise to make sure they are not treating the DH spot as a spare part. Good teams will maximize it. It should help the Cardinals in the future, considering they have some important and highly paid position players (Goldschmidt, Arenado) who hit big and could age into the spots if their defense and or health begins to decline later in their careers. For now, though, the Cards will likely get those reps when they come up to guys like Matt Carpenter, maybe Lane Thomas or the one they had eyed at the start, who is now healthy and hitting: John Nogowski.
I don't think Shildt -- there's no c in the name -- or Maddux have said their pitchers don't know the importance of getting ahead. Knowing and doing are different things. That's why every coach in every sport has gray hair, or less hair, because of the job. The Cardinals are throwing MLB's lowest percentage of first-pitch strikes. The first pitch from a Cardinals pitcher is a strike just 54.9 percent of the time. The Dodgers, at the top of the list, are throwing a first-pitch strike 63.1 percent of the time. It makes a huge difference. The success of a hitter who starts 0-1 is significantly lower than a hitter who starts 1-0. The Cardinals pitchers know these things. Education is not the problem. Execution is. The Cardinals have not suggested otherwise. And no, that does not mean the pitching coach is absolved of helping his pitchers fix the problem. That's his job.
I'm starting to think baseball might cool it on making the sunscreen and pine tar pitchers "sneak" out to the mound not as big of an emphasis on cracking down. At this rate hitters might ask the league to stop making it a focus point. Better than getting hit in the teeth. I'm not sure how much the change has effected the Cardinals. That is a good question for a clubhouse setting, where guys can talk off the record. That's not an option at this point. But hopefully some in-person interviews are going to be back soon at Busch. Zoom is better than nothing but certain topics can't be gripped there. Get it? :)
He has not explained what happened, and neither has the team. I've learned to wait until that happens before deciding how I feel. Lots of people got bent out of shape about Wainwright appearing on the COVID list, but didn't know the story. So, I'll await Perron's explanation if he ever gives one. If he doesn't, then what does that say? A player on a pro team who declines to get vaccinated for COVID is making a decision that hurts the team, because the player could be lost for a stretch due to the virus. It's a simple as that. It's a team-first decision for pro players to protect the health of the team and to protect their availability as a player. It would be unfortunate, yes, IF that is what happened. And terrible timing.
It's May, Tack. You don't shred your pitching schedule for the sake of a matchup in May. Guys have their spot in the order. You let it roll.
I can find out. Check back next week.
I would not be surprised if more teams start messing with that pace by calling time and stepping out of the box. It seemed to be an approach that nudged him off course a little bit last time out.
Jordan Walker is clobbering the ball for Palm Beach. Three doubles, a triple and two homers in 34 at-bats. Bonkers exit velocity readings. Definitely impressive.
The minor leagues are up and running now. The alternate site was mostly just a placeholder until that happened. Taxi squad will continue, but the alternate site is no longer a need with the Class AAA season in motion.
I don't think there is a big secret beyond, just keep pounding. Keep building the physicality over the course of a best-of-seven and hope it has an effect. It has on other teams in the past. That, and don't give Colorado anything easy. Suffocate power play chances. Minimize turnovers. Stop the odd-man rushes that helped feed the waves of Avalanche offense last night. All easier said than done against a team this fast and skilled. The game was tied 1-1 30 second into the third but it would have been over much faster if Binnington was not great. If he can replicate that, and it won't be easy, the Blues have a chance. But they have to do somethin to disrupt Colorado's flow, and they have to find a way to score. They need more bodies in front of the net hunting deflections and second and third scoring chances. They won't beat Colorado at Colorado's game.