September 13: Cardinals @ Reds

Jenifer Langosch/

Records: Cardinals (88-54, +2.5 in NL Central), Reds (60-81, -27.5 in NL Central)

First pitch: 12:10 pm CT

TV/Radio: Fox Sports Midwest, 1120 KMOX

Cardinals lineup: Matt Carpenter (3B), Stephen Piscotty (1B), Jason Heyward (RF), Yadier Molina (C), Greg Garcia (SS), Tommy Pham (LF), Jon Jay (CF), Kolten Wong (2B), Michael Wacha (RHP)

Reds lineup: Jason Bourgeois (RF), Ivan Dejesus Jr (2B), Joey Votto (1B), Todd Frazier (3B), Eugenio Suarez (SS), Adam Duvall (LF), Tucker Barnhart (C), Raisel Iglesias (RHP), Billy Hamilton (CF)

Transactions: None

Reading material:

  • What’s the mood in the Cardinals’ clubhouse? There’s a push for urgency, but not panic (link)
  • Game recap from the Cardinals’ 5-1 loss to the Reds (link)
  • Game recap from the conclusion of Friday’s suspended game, a 4-2 loss to the Reds (link)
  • Cardinals activate reliever Matt Belisle from the DL (link)
  • Catcher Cody Stanley suspended for 80 games for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance (link)
  • Preview for Sunday’s series finale in Cincinnati (link)

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Well so far in the 4th, looks like more of the same; loss of runner on base and many easy first or second pitch outs. Another rookie being made to look very good today. It seems to support my concern that they need to adjust coaching and strategies more as they are too predictable to other teams now.

Wow! Heyward’s catch was AMAZING…and oh-so important!

Yes these last two innings might light a spark under the team. Lets hope they can avoid the sweep which would be their first in 105 three game series going back a couple of years.

I was wondering about that stat. This is a 4 game series, so…does it count or is the streak broken? We did lose the first 3.

Yes the streak is for loss of any series above 3 games in length. Let’s hope they can hold the lead or add to it in the late innings.

So why take Pham out when he produced earlier? Reynolds is a strikeout machine and left bases loaded. Swinging for the fences is low percentage. Why not keep the youthful energy flowing and see if Pham could followup with something else? A wasted chance there.

Al Hrabosky said he would’ve done it too. Reynolds is actually very good at 1B, and Piscotty’s more comfortable in RF. Garcia’s hit well, but not as good a SS as Kozma,, as far as fielding goes. Ah….platooning is everywhere! Hahaha.

Adams is back! Reynolds has his good moments, ya’ know? : )

Yes they got enough offense even with the switches, coupled with the Reds poor play. Good to have a breakout game to lighten the mood with a day off tomorrow and then perhaps a better effort at Milwaukee this week.

Great catch and I’d leave Pham in there too. Play the kids MM they’re the ones that will get you there. Let’m play!!!

Aw c’mon. You gotta’ think like a manager. It surely wasn’t a random decision to take Pham out. MM may have promised Piscotty for example, to put him back in the outfield, if he’d just cover 1B for a while. Or it could’ve been something else like that. It’s gotta’ be difficult to be sure everybody gets some playing time. Besides, there’s somewhat of a general hierarchy involved, as to who plays what & when.
As for Milwaukee? It’ll be hard to predict how that’ll go. They’ve been giving the Bucco’s fits. Luckily for the Pirates tho’, they pulled it out in the 11th just now….darn it.

We can hope this analysis is right and the Cubs and Pirates will cancel each other out a bit. That really only works if we can play better against these lower ranking teams which are loose and feeling no pressure:

Good article. Kind of reminds ya’ of how everybody else is having some issues, too.
This morning, the KMOX update said Holliday might possibly be available off the bench tonite, plus there’s also a chance that Adam’s would even play 1B.
My guess? Adam’s may take over 1st base, but only around the 7th if we’re struggling for hits. And then…that probably would apply to Holliday as well.
It would seem most reasonable NOT to use either of ’em unless we get in some trouble tho’…right?
Very glad WE don’t have a double-header like the Bucs & Cubbies do today. Man…they’re soooo energy-draining.
One little caveat? An ex Card’s pitcher this morning pointed out that even if Waino would get the OK to pitch post-season? Any smart batters he faced, would bunt, bunt bunt….intentionally trying to aggravate Wainwright’s newly healed Achilles tendon. Makes sense.
So, if MM would try using Waino? He’d likely have to take him out once he sees that begin to happen.

My fear is that all of Adams, Holliday, Grichuk and Wainwright will be sub-par but will be used anyway because of MM’s loyalty approach – much like his use of Choate or odd decision to bring Wacha in at the end of last season’s playoffs. If we carry those players on the post-season roster as part timers for single pinch hits etc it might limit the number of pitchers or other players we can carry.

Add in Cruz, Bourjos and Kozma who he has also been loyal to and the post-season roster could be fairly thin. Maybe I am wrong and one of Grichuk, or Holliday will be well enough to play the outfield with the other as a great bench depth or DH if we make the WS. Wainwright should simply not be used or on the post-season roster as Wacha should not have been last year.

Some good points, perhaps. However, Cruz is a must. Easley’s been brought up, yeah. But Cruz has experience with most (if not all) our pitchers…and he’s also worked a lot with Yadi. Plus, Tony’s actually had a few decent at-bats lately. Keep in mind what’d happen if Yadi would mess up his thumb again?
Some radio guy commented on Waino the other day. He thought if the docs cleared him & he came back this year? Adam would probably do best as a set-up man for the closer. Or…AS the closer if we’re comfortably ahead. I guess that idea sounded OK.
Grichuk’s injury’s seemed relatively minor from the get-go. I never heard any reports saying it was anything other than that. Just a strain or “pull” that needed a little rest-time.
MM has probably given Grichuk, Adams & Holliday as much recoup time & rest as the docs prescribed. I can’t see why he wouldn’t keep them out another week, if they truly needed more get-well time.
Choate is a complete mystery in my book. I don’t care how loyal someone is. If they screw up? Simple. You don’t keep putting them in. It should be about time MM accepts the fact that Choate’s too much of a liability to use anymore.
No doubt that Kozma will stay on the roster. That’s because ya’ gotta’ have an all around utility player. MM even bragged a couple of times, that Kozma’s a real talent, definitely a plus-defender.
Not only is Kozma an infield back up? MM’s actually said if he was totally desperate for a pitcher or catcher? Good ole’ Petey HAS had practice playing both those positions as well.
As for pitching? Martinez has what it takes, slightly fatigued or not. He just needs to figure himself out. Wacha should come around, too. Youth can overcome the endurance part. Teammates & coaches can help with the mental.
I still have faith in Tuivailala and his potential. He may surprise everyone before the season’s end. Who knows. Just a feeling I have.
The only one I worry about is Jaime. More worried about his attitude than his mechanics. Just have to keep fingers crossed with him….

So another game with only two hits so far, and missed chances and Braun’s home run puts Brewers ahead. Martinez has been doing well but again with this offense our pitching has to be perfect to win.

Well, the pitching IS good…and Peralta just tied it. Maybe that’ll start us on a roll. Let’s wait & see what happens. One never knows. : )

That was quite an inning ending double play to say the least. Hope they can build off it as Pirates lost second half of double header so they could makeup some ground.

Terrific defense tonite! Lots of oooo’s & ahhhhhs. Piscotty’s outfield catch, Martinez’ throw to Reynolds and Reynolds to Yadi at the plate, in particular!
Heck, throw in Martinez’ pick-off at 1B, too.
I think I’ll go re-watch the replays. G’nite…

Well, ya’ never know who’s gonna’ be “the next man up”. Tonite, so far…it’s the Tommy Pham Show! : )
Jaime’s on point, our offense is happening…and the defense has been good.
That all said….how in the heck did the Brew-Crew sweep the Bucs? Mind-boggling. I’m beginning to think that “luck” may ultimately have something to do with it?

Hmmm…guess I spoke too soon?

Yes this will be a bad loss of they don’t hold this narrow lead. A couple of miscues in the 4th spoiled an otherwise fairly good Garcia start and now trouble in the 7th.

At least Garcia didn’t get rattled. Like Lackey, he knows how to keep his focus.

Well that was one of Rosenthal’s better appearances even though he faced extra pressure from their inability to score runs with bases loaded in 9th. And the Pirates lost in 12 innings. So the lead is back to 4!

Yep, we have a little breathing room now. And Rosie really did look sharp.
After this last Brewers game, we next have a 3-game series vs the Cubs…all day games, incidentally. That doesn’t happen too often.
I’m guessing Cruz will catch for Lackey tonite. First off, his BA vs the Brewers starter, Nelson…is .888. Besides, Lackey has his own ideas about which pitches to use….and probably doesn’t feel he needs Yadi’s help. So, a good time to give Yadi the nite off.
One thing I did notice, is that most recently, Cruz has been kinda’ reticent about throwing to 2B on steals.
Boy, the Cards are sure making the games fun to watch lately. Crazy & surprising plays everywhere the last few games.
Oh, did you check out the Rangers-Astros final score, btw? A lop-sided 14-3. The Rangers finally managed to make it to the top of their division.
Speaking of the Astros? There’s still no word from the FBI on the investigation into the hacking thing. Hmmm….

Its great that the games are exciting, but getting a bit worn down from the later nights. I will have to pack it in before game end tonight and definitely will look forward to the day games this weekend. I hope Yadi does get the night off as you predict with the game at Wrigley tomorrow afternoon, as he looked worn down at the plate last night.

The hacking may have been more smoke than fire – unless Luhnow DID take Cardinals secrets and they are trying to bury the whole thing; will see. Not sure I see how Randy Flores emerged as most qualified to take on the lead scouting role with no similar experience and hope it doesn’t undermine the quality of their recruitment which has been key to their successes recently.

Flores was an MLB LHP for 8 years. Two of those years spent with the Cards (2006-2008). Afterwards, he took a job as an on-air analyst for ESPN (NCAA Baseball). Next he became the announcer for USC baseball games, after which he became their asst coach. Last year Randy completed his Masters in Sports Admin. I suppose the Masters degree probably concentrated on sabermetrics and stuff like that. So he’s got a decent background.
I have a feeling that Luhnow probably used the same kinda’ PC programs in Houston that he & others had created when he was with the Cards. Not exactly stealing our “secrets”, but using the same ideas to create something quite similar.
But Correa probably tried hacking into the Astros to prove (to himself, and maybe others) that he suspected flat-out stealing. I doubt it was anything more than that.
As Luhnow said, “It’s probably no big deal. Any info that might’ve been stolen, would’ve been outdated within a few days anyway.”
As for our recruiting? I have to believe our success is due to our own scouts & their good judgement….no? : )

Randy Flores may not be the most qualified, but at least he ain’t Randy Choate.
I too am worried about the future of scouting with Flores having no real history,good or bad, at the position. Bob you are dead on with your concerns. This organization is too rich in history to afford on the job training.
Wonder how that Pirate club house feels? If they keep up this kind of play they’ll be playing the WC game in Chicago.

Whoa…the Pirates dropped 3 of 4 to the Cubbies, and we play ’em next.
Some training on the job could be OK. It sorta’ worked for MM, didn’t it? ; )
Besides, I think the front office liked that Flores is well familiarized with the sabermetrics thing, like Luhnow was/is. It’s the way things are done these days.
Also, like MM…the Cards’ org is probably one to value loyalty. And Flores is a former Cardinal & did pitch for the Red Birds in the 2006 WS.
Btw, if Choate ends up on the post-season roster? I don’t know WHAT I’ll do…but it definitely won’t be pretty. Hehehe.

Now if Choate pitches for the OTHER team,I’d watch:)

Yeah, no kidding. C’mon Randy…sign here to be released! Hehehe.

St. Louis Cardinals ‏@Cardinals 16m16 minutes ago
Going for a sweep in MIL, the starting 9:
Carpenter 3B, Pham CF, Heyward RF, Peralta SS, Adams 1B, Wong 2B, Cruz C, Moss LF, Lackey P

OK, MM’s resting Piscotty. But if we need him, no doubt MM will put him in. Adams will probably play only a few innings like before. Maybe just enuf’ time to get him to the plate twice?
Then to be fair? It is Moss’ turn to play. So, no real surprises in the line-up.
I just hope Pham isn’t over-exuberant, and starts chasing pitches in an attempt to match his performance last nite. He’s definitely on an emotionally-charged high right now. But then, who wouldn’t be. : )

Tomorrow’s headline, ‘Cruz Goes 4-4 and Homers Twice’. It could happen:) Quote from Angels in the Outfield.

Actually…sumpin’ LIKE that just MAY happen. The next-man-up thing. The good ole’ Red Birds can be crazy that way. So OK guys….let’s play ball!!!! ; )

Our nemesis, the Pirates….reported an injury today, btw. Jung Ho Kang apparently broke his shin-bone earlier today, in addition to ripping the inside tendon (MCL) connecting the thigh bone (femur) to the shin-bone (tibia). He was at 2B and the runner slid into him as he tried to throw to 1B for double-play.
Oooo…already 2-zip! Woo-hoo!!!

I hate seeing that even if its our nemisis. I’d like to see the Bucs and Cards go at it 100% healthy. Then you know who’s best. Ya see better baseball too!

Yup, great point. That’s when the Cards will often come thru & do their best. Playing against another great team. More evenly matched as you mentioned too.
Speaking of injuries? That rocket line-drive by Pham really slammed into the Brewers’ pitcher’s head. Geez,, that was tough to watch. : ( There’s been plenty of talk about protective pitcher helmets, for exactly that reason.

Good thing that pitcher wasn’t more seriously hurt. An all around good game. Let’s see if we can cool down the Cubs to keep this lead solid. Lynn is due for a good game at last?

But now he brings in Choate to blow the shutout if not the game! No lead is safe with him!

Aha…he fooled us. Choate got his batter out after all.
But Mitch Harris sure had a rough time. He was the one that pulled a “Choate”. He had to feel pretty bad blowing a 6-0 shut-out.
Irrespective…Lackey was nothing less than tremendous! Let’s just hope Lynn can prevail tomorrow. Fingers crossed….

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