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First-Half ObservationsPosted Monday, July 13, 2009, at 1:07 PM
It's been quite a while since I've written in this blog. Credit that to a combination of moving and finishing up one of my summer graduate school courses. At any rate, here are some observations I've made about the Cardinals and other teams throughout the season.
1. The Cardinals are not pretenders. The last few times the Cards have entered the All-Star break in first, they have held on to make their way into the playoffs. Albert Pujols is having a potential triple-crown season, and our pitching has been fantastic and will hopefully only get better. With Ludwick finally finding his stroke and DeRosa returning from the DL, the offense is suddenly not looking so bleak. Add in the possibility of Troy Glaus being back with the club before the end of the month, and you suddenly have a pretty nice lineup that might go a bit like this:
1. Schumaker 2B
2. Rasmus CF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Ludwick CF
5. Glaus 3B
6. DeRosa LF
7. Molina C
9. Ryan SS
Flip Schumaker and Ryan with a lefty on the mound, as well as Rasmus and DeRosa. Of course, this is contingent upon Glaus's return, and also doesn't factor in the possibility of a move for more offense. If Glaus can come back and be a healthy contributor, that would allow the Cardinals to pick up another starter for the stretch run. Don't hold your breath for Roy Halladay, though I'm sure everyone would love to see him wearing the "Birds on the Bat." His price is just too steep in terms of prospects and salary. The only that would be enticing about Halladay concerning prospects is that, because he is a Type-A free agent after next season, the Cards would receive a first-round draft pick if they were unable to renew him beyond next year (which would likely be the case, considering his $14 million would cut into funds needed to resign Pujols).
The bottom line is this: If the lineup I mentioned above comes to fruition and produces, the Cards will acquire another starter and have the potential to run away with the Central. Mark it down.
2. Adam Wainwright is an ace. Take a look at his last three starts to help the Cards surge into the All-Star break:
9 innings, 1 R, 1 ER, 6 H, 12 K
8.1 innings, 0 R, 7 H, 9 K --- * W @ MIL
8 innings, 2 R, 2 ER, 7 H, 5 K --- * W @ CHC
Take a look at his line for the month of July thus far, which consists of these three starts:
2-0, 1.07 ERA, 25.1 innings, 26 K, .217 BAA.
That, my friends, is the line of an ace. Wainwright is currently on pace to strike out 200 batters and win 18 games with a 3.04 ERA. He should definitely be an All-Star.
3. Brendan Ryan is an everyday shortstop. I've been so impressed with Ryan's defense and hitting during is extended playing time with the Cards. My only gripe with him is that he isn't very good with runners in scoring position, but he has come up with big hits as of late. I've been a fan of him since his very first day, and I think he's going to really help us out by playing great defense and getting on base however he can.
4. The Milwaukee Brewers are bush league. I've gotten to where I like to beat the Brewers more than the Cubs just so they will keep their dang shirts tucked in. I'm so sick of seeing them untuck their jerseys after their wins like a bunch of little leaguers running to get their post-game sno cones and popcorn. Have some respect for the game and look like professionals on the field. I know the story behind why they do that, but I still don't think it justifies them doing what they do. Go back to the minors with that bush league stuff and don't act like you belong anywhere until you actually win something.
5. Alfonso Soriano, like the Brewers, is bush league. I'm also sick of watching Soriano in left field trying to be cute by jumping and catching every fly ball that is hit to him. His little hop has become more recognizable as his signature move than hitting home runs, which is what he is being (over)paid to do. Actually, considering that he looks like Rick Ankiel at the plate right now, that's not so hard to believe. Quit jumping around like a fairy in the outfield and play baseball.
Also, there is more to say about Soriano. He was mad at Lou Piniella recently because Piniella didn't tell him he wasn't going to play the next day. Soriano said he was mad because he would not have come ready to play if he knew he wasn't starting. That's exactly what I want to hear from my players, particularly my $17 million left fielder who is hitting .233 and is on pace to strike out 160 times. Players like him are the reason the Cubs will continue to be the not-so-lovable losers and will always play second fiddle to their rivals across the river. Have fun paying that salary to your little ballerina outfielder.
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A blog for Cardinals fans by a Cardinals fan. This blog will explore the happenings in the St. Louis Cardinals organization on a semi-daily basis, from roster moves to game-by-game analysis.