I've been pretty clear on where I stand with this. I don't think they should have sent Carlson out in the first place. I would rather watch him figure it out on the fly than some of these other players. As for how the Cardinals outfield ranks, we can take a quick and surface-level look sorting by on-base plus slugging percentage. I can go back nearly 50 years pretty easily. This current Cardinals outfield OPS (.677) is the third-lowest since 1974. The outfield OPS was lower in 1978 (.665) and 1986 (.643). The 1978 team went 69-93. The 1986 team went 79-82. Sorted by slugging percentage (.381) this is the least powerful Cardinals outfield since 2014, when those outfielders slugged .374. That team won 90 games and lost the NLCS. Go figure.
Cardinals fans have high expectations, and the team encourages that and benefits from it. I'm never going to tell Cardinals fans to expect less. That said, mediocre needs a clearer definition here as it's used to define seasons, plural. The Cardinals finished first place in the division and made the NLCS just last season. They're in second place now, on pace for the expanded postseason, after a virus outbreak that robbed two weeks and injuries/illnesses that have kept out significant players for significant amounts of time, including: Paul DeJong, Yadier Molina, Carlos Martinez, KK, Dexter Fowler and multiple relievers. I get frustration about the offense. I really do. It's not mediocre. It's unimpressive. It's a drag. And the team is what it's record says it is: a .500 team. That's mediocre. The shoe fits, and the Cardinals have to wear it. Last season, though, the shoe did not fit. That lugged that frustrating offense to baseball's final four. I don't think this team can do that, but I didn't think last season's team could do that. A truly mediocre team would not play well enough defensively and on the mound to overcome such unreliable offense. But the offense is worse than mediocre. That's the difference, to me.
I'm not sure what to make of the ratings. We are in sports overload right now. Everything is going at once. I've heard from some folks who are staying away due to the pregame demonstrations. I've heard from some folks who are tuning out because of the lack of energy provided from fans in the stands. Everyone will present the data with the angle that suits their angle.
Heavens, yes. He has nearly twice as many strikeouts (21) as walks (11) and opponents are averaging .185 against him. His velocity is there. His confidence is there. His walks (11) need to decrease, but he looks strong and in charge when he's on the mound. He's been limited to at most 2 innings per appearance, and he's only done that three times I think, so there are unknowns about his durability as a starter that would have to be answered, but the hope has always been that he could be that kind of arm, and a special one at that. The Cardinals are in a good spot with Reyes. They can meet and figure out how to build him up as a starter in the future after this season, or maximize his potential as a high-leverage impact arm. Him and Hicks together at the back of games? That's nasty.
He's paid to drive in runs, yes, but he's also the one and only guy in the lineup teams can and should pitch around. I don't know why any pitcher would give Goldschmidt a pitch to hit. Make the rest of the lineup beat you. It's a good bet.
The biggest problem for the Cardinals on the bases this season has been running into outs while trying to take an extra base. They've had 16 outs in that scenario, twice as many as outs as they've had caught stealing (eight). This, perhaps more than anything, is a sign of a desperate offense.
I said since spring that Kim looked like he should start. I don't know why the Cardinals talked themselves out of that, even for a bit. He's been stellar. Martinez's contract is not all that big, when you consider what good closers get paid these days, and how good he was in that role after he fell out of the rotation. That's partly why I thought he should have stated this season as the closer. Carlos should get a start or two against lineups not named the Twins before we decide he's done as a starter, but it was clear to many that Kim needed to start back in spring, when he mowed through that same Twins lineup in an exhibition game.
Fowler's status is uncertain for the rest of the season, and there has not been a concrete timeline given by the team.
The Cardinals see such a low percentage of fastballs, it's always a bit surprising to see them pass on them when they do come, and come into the strike zone. The Cards saw the lowest percentage of fastballs last season, and are once again seeing one of the lowest percentages this season, down around 47.6 percent per FanGraphs. Teams have a book on the Cardinals. Give them the offspeed stuff, the breaking stuff. It seems to work pretty well. Even more reason to punish fastballs when they do come in the zone, even if it's the first pitch. The Cardinals are swinging at first pitches only 25.8 percent of the time. Only four teams swing at first pitches less often. Seems to be the Cardinals could benefit from an uptick in ambushing.
That's an interesting topic. The COVID argument can cut two ways. Some might praise Shildt for how he's led his team back from the shutdown and kept its head above water during the gauntlet of games. Shildt could also be knocked, as his team was the one that had the biggest COVID-related setback in the league. See what I mean? Competition would be stiff regardless. First-year manager Jayce Tingler is going to get a lot of love because the Padres are hot and he's new. David Ross is in his first year in an unpredictable season, and the Cubs are exceeding expectations at least so far, and have been great at avoiding COVID mishaps.
I've inquired about that but have not heard back yet. I'll drop the response in if I get it today.
I'm not in Milwaukee with the team so not sure what exactly that conversation looked like or if there was one. Kim had thrown his season-high in innings (seven) and pitches (87) in his first start back from being hospitalized, so I would imagine there wasn't too much discussion about handing it over.
Correct. But also, you know, having diabetes and COVID risk. That's not a small thing.
Indeed. Meanwhile Ozuna is man on fire. I might have to resume my old argument with DG.