Greetings, chatters. Hope everyone is well. The Blues are one home win away from locking up a playoff spot. The Cardinals have won nine of their last 11. Times are good, right? Let's see what you're thinking. Fire away.
Randy is getting a chance to show what he has for the Rays, and that postseason flourish that made him the talk of the league in the last postseason has been scaled back quite a bit so far this season. He's averaging .265 with a .348 slugging percentage, which are both fine numbers. But his slugging percentage has drooped to .392. O'Neill, Bader and Carlson all have higher on-base plus slugging percentages at the moment -- clearly Bader just got started again -- than Arozarena's .740. The Cardinals have admitted they underestimated Arozarena. But they still seem to think they got the better of the deal in the long haul. We will have to see what Liberatore is about in the majors before deciding for sure. Arozarena is a better player than the Cardinals thought, it's clear. Is he a superstar? This season will tell us. At the moment, it does not look like it. Last postseason it sure did.
The Cards are 9-2 with baseball's best winning percentage (.818) since April 23. The starting pitching is carrying them, big time. That's their traditional blueprint for winning. If the offense engages while the rotation is churning along, look out. And they're doing it without Molina, who had been the team's hottest hitter. Good signs indeed.
Gallegos is the only other reliever who has had save opportunities this season, so I would guess him. But my first bet would be Reyes goes back out there. He's done at least one back-to-back before and I think it's going to become more common now that two things have happened. He's proven himself and his health, and Jordan Hicks is hurt. The Cardinals sure seemed to be pointing to Hicks hitting the injured list last night. We'll know for sure today. Reyes is 8 for 8 on save opportunities so far this season. He's tied for second most in the majors.
I do not. I think the Cards want to see O'Neill-Bader-Carlson together night in and night out unless something signals a different approach should be taken. One of Bader's two home runs since his return came off a righthander. And no, that's not me predicting a Bader bomb of DeGrom. But I think he will get the chance, especially after another homer last night.
Looks pretty good, doesn't he? I reminded Commish last night that he was the first person I heard high on Edman years ago. It's made him look pretty smart. He says he knew Edman was good, but didn't know he was this good. Solid player. Solid approach. Sneaky power. Level headed. Fast and smart. He's got the goods to play in this league for a long time.
The Cardinals would say true, and based on what we saw in the outfield -- and with Carpenter starting at second base -- it's pretty easy to agree. Williams, Thomas, Dean, Nogowski and Carpenter -- who sent Edman to the outfield when he started at second -- either did not capitalize on their opportunities or did not give the manager enough reason to give them more, so now the focus is back on O'Neill and Bader, where the Cardinals hoped it would be starting the season. Early returns have been good -- after both healed from their latest injuries. I think it's still too early to say these two are the answers, but the Cardinals have a better idea now that there isn't a better answer sitting behind these two. That makes the pressure on Bader and O'Neill even greater. And it makes them realize that the Cardinals are willing to look elsewhere, as they did while the two were hurt. The next look elsewhere will have to be looking to add from another team, so that makes this stretch before the trade deadline a very big test for both O'Neill and Bader. The final countdown, if you will. At least it seems that way to me.
How long until players start bending their knees and sticking their helmet into slow, high curves to get on base? The easiest fix would be to remove the three-batter minimum so a clearly wild pitcher could be lifted -- or create an exception where a pitcher can be lifted before then if both managers agree to it, somethin that would have happened in the case of Cabrera's meltdown against the Phillies. Sometimes guys get hit in the head. It's a scary part of the game, but it's part of the game. I think the unintended consequences -- discouraging pitchers from pitching inside, specifically -- would be worse than the good created by automatic ejections.
He does explain, yes. He saw that lineup as putting Carpenter in as a filler for Goldschmidt, who needed a day off. So instead of rewriting the lineup and moving everyone around, he just pencils Carpenter in and leaves everyone else alone to keep their routines in tact. It's not uncommon, and La Russa did it at times, too. If it's a once in a while thing, I get it, especially if you like the trend of the lineup in other places. But when Carpenter was making regular starts hitting in key spots, that doesn't make much sense. Those regular starts are not happening very often anymore. He won't be starting for Goldschmidt, or hitting in his spot, very often as long as Goldschmidt is healthy.
How players play in the months leading up to the trade deadline will affect the trade deadline, yes. The Cardinals are going to care more about what guys do this season than last season, especially, considering last season was so odd.
Sure they are. They have a coach a goalie and a captain who have won it before. They have health, for the most part, which is something they chased all season. Will they be the favorites? Nope. But their play has been inspired as of late, and that's something we certainly did not see in last season's bubble setting. if they take their current energy into the postseason, they can make some magic. If they hit snooze once they lock in a spot and try to rev up again before the playoffs, I don't like their chances. They are a team that builds toward their best, not one that can flip a switch on and off.
Sounds like a good plan to me. The Cardinals are not taking about their trade deadline plans at this time. No team is.
Cards Twitter and fair don't always go together. One of its major stars and pseudo media members recently spread misinformation about Adam Wainwright not getting the COVID vaccine and failed to correct the misinformation when it was clear he was wrong. Be careful who you trust for news and information about the team. Study every successful closer long enough and you will see most if not all have eventful saves. That's the job. It's a pass-or-fail gig, and Reyes, like Martinez, gets the job done a lot more often than not. Both have good pitches, good velocity and a competitive nature that seems to respond well to the challenge that is a save situation. Reyes needs to cut back on the walks, yes. But as long as he's getting the job done, that's the main thing. Just as it was for C-Mart in that spot, which is why I'll always argue he was underappreciated in that role.
They have not made those decisions yet and won't until they get a chance to see the outfield they wanted to see start the season -- O'Neill, Bader and Carlson -- log more games together in the same outfield and lineup. The three just started the first home game of the season together last night. They're interested in seeing what happens with that group before they go about deciding if they should tear it apart or upgrade it. There's a lot of time and games before the trade deadline to get a read on what these three can do together, or what they can't. Right now the Cardinals outfield has climbed to the middle of the pack in terms of National League teams outfield OPS production. There's some power there, with Cards outfielders hitting the third-most home runs (14) among NL outfielders. If the defense is as good as it should be, and the power holds, then this outfield with Justin Williams as the fourth outfielder could be good enough. Could it be better? Sure. And that will be the trade deadline discussion, when it comes, perhaps. But it's also too early to say it will be good, I think. O'Neill has had a hard time staying healthy. We know plenty about Bader's struggles against right-handed pitching. The question you are asking, and it's a fair one, will be influenced by what O'Neill and Bader do in the comin days, weeks and months.