I got tickets to the Cards-Giants game last night. Here are a few stray observations:
-I have never seen a team collectively hit the ball harder than the Giants did last night. When Pat Burrell came up and ringed an 89-mph Jake Westbrook fastball off of the upper deck façade foul in the first inning, we should’ve known the potential for things to get very ugly in a hurry. Pablo Sandoval and Aubrey Huff hit absolute bombs to left. Buster Posey hit a couple of ringing line-drive doubles. It just was unreal.
-Speaking of Westbrook, it’s always good to get a guy that might give you 2/3 of a game every five games for your third best hitter. I mean, what exactly is Westbrook doing for the team that Jeff Suppan wasn’t doing earlier this season? The guy has no leg drive—he might as well be tossing a wiffleball out there. Great trade.
-Meanwhile, the Cards are forced to trot Allen Craig out to play RF against lefties. All of the statheads were raving about Craig all through the minors. In fact, for a while this year, he was leading the Pacific Coast League in HR and RBI. I bought into the hype big time. Then I saw him take a swing. He has the longest swing I’ve ever seen at the major league level. It is Drew Henson long. There is no way he’s going to be able to catch up to anything 94 and above, and he simply cannot adjust to off-speed pitches because his swing is so complicated. He never walks and is hitting something like .170 now. Good prospect, though.
-This is shaping up to be the year sabermetrics died. The biggest evidence of this is up in Boston, where Theo Epstein’s advanced defensive metrics were supposed to revolutionize player values. No one probably even bothered to look at video of Mike Cameron playing the game. If they had, maybe the fact that he needed a cane out in CF would’ve been a giveaway. Of course, the Bosox have suffered a lot of key injuries this year, but even before those guys went down, the defensive metrics weren’t winning them shit.
-Back to the game. I think Tony LaRussa has lost his fastball. In the second inning last night, the Cards had the bases loaded with one out and the eighth spot in the order coming up. For most teams, this would be a middle infielder or the catcher or something. For the Cardinals, it’s the pitcher. Westbrook flailed at three pitches in a row (why he didn’t just watch 3 go by, I have no idea. At least then he may have walked), and then Brendan Ryan came up with the bases loaded and two outs. That Ryan was able to reach base on an error is beside the point—the probability of getting at least one run home that inning is much higher with Ryan hitting eighth and the pitcher ninth. I am sick of all of these mind games LaRussa plays with the lineup and young players generally. I think it’s time for him to move on.
-I think I knew the game was over when I saw the Cards’ lineup card. I think we could’ve predicted the outcome of this one based on one lineup entry:
“5. Feliz 3B.”
I mean, I don’t want to say Pedro Feliz looks old, but I’m pretty sure he came after Teddy Roosevelt with a bayonet in the Spanish-American War. Also, does anyone know if a .243 OBP is good or not? I don’t know. I’m not trying to be a smart-ass or anything. Just asking.
-John Mozeliak has quickly gone from “competent, promising young GM” to “Dear God, what do I do? WHAT THE FUCK DO I DO!?!” This season he has made moves that reek of desperation. The Westbrook deal. Bringing in Randy Winn and Aaron Miles. Not being able to find another infielder that can hit. It’s just ridiculous. I mean, it does seem like TLR is calling the shots on some of these things. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that there was an incident the night before Ludwick was traded involving Ludwick’s complaint that he was not viewed as a “core” player on the team. If this is true, then what kind of a message does it send to ship the guy out the next day? It was much better when Mo was sending the coach’s son away and trading for silver sluggers, not trading them away. Oh well. What can you do?
-Other than Pujols and Holliday on days that he decides to try, and Colby Rasmus when he is not injured or benched for undisclosed reasons, this lineup is pathetic. You can’t have three of your infielders be unable to hit. It just doesn’t work. I don’t care if you have the best pitcher and hitter in the league on your team—there’s only so much they can do. This team reminds me of the frustrating 2003 edition of the Cardinals. We went to a game down the stretch that year, and even with Rolen and Edmonds on the team, it just seemed like we had nobody except for Pujols in the lineup. It’s just a shitty feeling to go to a game and know that you’re playing from behind before it even starts. Normally, I’d write something like, “if these guys don’t get their shit together soon, they’ll be on the outside of the playoffs looking in,” but I think it’s just too late. Unless the Cards somehow trade for Evan Longoria or Ryan Zimmerman, they might just be fucked. And if that leads the team to shake things up a little bit (or better yet, a lot) this offseason, then I think the team will be all the better for it.
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