Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Reyes to AAA and other randomness

I find it mildly surprising that Anthony Reyes was optioned to AAA on Sunday. Actually I find it very surprising.

The Cardinals have scored, on average, 2.11 runs per start in support of Reyes. Now unless your name contains a Gibson, Koufax, or Drysdale in it, that's not enough run support to be successful. Additionally, he's gotten LESS support than good ol' Kip Wells (who, to be fair, has only earned 2.76 runs on average per start) but his ERA is better (6.08 to 6.20). Why not option Wells?

(strange interlude - I realize that comparing these two is like trying to decide whether to call it poop or BM. Either way you're talking about shit.)

Do the Cardinals really think that sending Reyes down AGAIN will help straighten him out? He's been on the yo-yo string for the past 2 years, and from where I sit he hasn't gotten any better. He's young; this is a bad team; what's the harm in letting him learn from the school of hard knocks? Jeremy Bonderman lost 19 back in 2003; most folks consider him a pretty good pitcher now (I consider him the ace of that staff, but my opinion is colored by the fact that he pitches for my rotisserie team). Maybe he'd be a little more comfortable if he wasn't constantly checking his locker to see if there's a plane ticket for Memphis stuck in there.

Or perhaps he's constantly racking up frequent flyer miles because he frustrates the hell out of LaRussa and Duncan, and they're trying to teach him a lesson. I don't know.

Other random thoughts:
- I'm tired of playing hot teams. I want to be the hot team for a while.
- Thanks to the Nationals for returning Cardinal Nation to reality following the sweep of the Pirates.
- Did you notice the Pirates are currently in second in the division? Of course, they're 5 under...
- Rolen, Edmonds, and AP start to show signs of life, and Molina breaks his wrist. Out 4-6 weeks. Wow. Brian Esposito was called up to take his place.

That's it for today.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Fantasy update - Week 9

Well, it's decision time.

I've posted my fantasy roster in the margin to the right, because I KNOW my reader(s) were dying to see it. At any rate, after mucho tinkering (and many dirty looks from the wife) I left my roster alone for almost 2 weeks - and amazingly zoomed into first place in the league! Lassiez-faire works!

But not learning from my success, I've begun to tinker again. Mostly because I need more saves (I'm currently 7th in the league with 14). I have arguably the best closer in the AL right now, Jonathan Paplebon, on my roster; trouble is, Boston blows everybody out, so he doesn't get to pitch much in a save situation. Last night he threw a scoreless inning... in a 10-6 game....because HE NEEDED THE WORK.

So I picked up ex-Padre Aki Otsuka off waivers. He's the Rangers set-up man (closer: Eric Gagne). This is the second time that Aki has appeared on my roster. The first time, I used him as trade leverage to pry CC Sabathia from a competitor (as well as Jorge Posada and Milton Bradley - of course, at the time I didn't anticipate Posada leading the league in hitting). I really needed the wins (I had 6 through 5 weeks). Worked out great for me.

Aki will be a closer option for me and should get save opportunities - I don't trust Gagne's health, and expect he'll break down at least one more time this year.

I now have a glut of pitching - including Duchscherer (DL), Phil Hughes (DL), Jon Lester (DL), and Dice K - someone has to go. Actually some 3 will have to go eventually. For now, there's one roster spot for 2 guys.

If you're reading this, you're either family, I paid you to leave a comment (so I don't appear to be toiling in anonymity), or you follow the Cardinals. Remember Izzy's hip issues last year? 10 blown saves, never could get the extension he needed to throw the curveball or keep the fastball down, was shut down in Sept? Duchscherer has an arthritic hip. He's not the same pitcher he was last year (All-Star). He'll be dropped because I don't believe his 6+ ERA is worth the couple of saves I could get from him. Aki will replace him on the roster.

Since it appears Dice K won't miss a start due to the stomach flu, and because he leads the league in wins (7), I'll move him back into the active roster. Most likely casualty? Mike Maroth. He's been a stud (3-0) in wins, although not in ERA; but someone needs to get cut, Byrd and Carmona are hot, Sabathia, Bonderman, and Garland are keepers, so Maroth loses out. I feel bad about this, but that's the business.

The last decision concerns Howie Kendrick. He's 2 for 10 so far after coming back off the DL, and I have until 6 Jun to get him back into the lineup or the computer will drop him automatically. Here's the conundrum: I was going to drop Pedroia, but he's hot and hitting .275 for the year. I thought about dropping Gordon, but he appears to have turned the corner. So now what? Either Hill or Pedroia will get cut, but I can't figure out who. Too bad Kendrick isn't eligible for the OF; that would be a no-brainer (cut Adam Lind).

Have an opinion? Feel free to voice it below. I'd be interested.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Can't keep my mouth shut

I've got work - real work - to do today, as I returned from a week of leave on Thursday morning, and I should be doing that instead of this.

However, this decision by the Hancock family really bothers me.

Brian Burwell, who I have had occasion to disagree with (especially when he defends Barry Bonds and lampoons Mark McGwire), actually posted a good opinion article on this subject.

Allow me to pile on.

I was a bar regular once. I hope your life never devolves to the point that you find solace on a bar stool. However, there is a fraternity-like atmosphere that exists amongst the regulars. You look forward to seeing them; they become your extended family. The bar tenders are part of that family; they know your name and what you're having. I will admit to enjoying walking into my bar, having the gent (or lady) tending that night nod hello, then going and pouring my drink for me (if you care, mine was MGD in a bottle).

Which brings me to my point - bartenders TAKE CARE OF THEIR REGULARS. If Josh Hancock was a regular at Shannon's restaurant, as we are now led to believe, they would DEFINITELY have tried to pursuade him to take a cab home. I guarantee it. The folks working the bar at my place did it for me on more than one occasion. My fellow regulars would tell me to take a cab when I had too much - again, they're your family.

At my bar, one of the regulars hosted a Christmas Eve party for some friends/family (read: other bar regulars). As I was dating his roommate at the time, I went. He, predictably, got drunk, continued drinking after the party broke up, passed out on a couch in the garage (they had turned the garage into a party den) in the wee hours while smoking a cigarette, and set the house on fire - starting with himself and the couch he was laying on. The emergency workers don't know how he survived - but he did. During his recovery, the bar held at least one (and I think more) 'pass the hat' events to help defray the cost of his medical bills.

THAT's how far some places will go for one of their regular paying customers - you know, the guys who support their tip jars and help pay for the lights and the booze.

Attempting to hold Shannon's employees or the restaurant itself culpable for what Josh did that night is ridiculous. Josh decided to drink that night. Josh decided to drive against the judgement of others who cared for him. Josh was distracted while driving by his cell phone call. Josh chose to not wear his seat belt.

Josh killed himself due to his recklessness. Thank God he didn't take the tow truck driver or the stalled motorist with him.

I won't comment on including them in the lawsuit, for I'm trying to give up cursing as a part of my daily speech.

Does Dean Hancock want to sue those responsible for his son's death? Then I have a suggestion for him: Start with yourself. I'm quite sure you KNEW he was self-destructive; you KNEW he had an alcohol and possibly a drug problem; you KNEW he had a lot of free time to get into trouble. He was your son. Parental responsibility doesn't end once a child is out of college; it's a lifetime committment. YOU SHOULD HAVE DONE SOMETHING.

But you didn't. And you will have to live with that for the rest of your life.

Don't blame the innocent for your failings as a father.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Cards at Padres - Game 2

This post is late - oh my, is it late - this seems to be the trend this year for the ol' blogger here.

No excuses - we're all busy.

Cardinals lost this series 2-1, losing 3-0 on Sunday, and have since smacked Brett Tomko around to win against LA 8-3. Some belated impressions of last Saturday's game (a much more pleasant experience than the 7-0 whitewash the previous night):

Five in the third was fantastic. However, it should have been 1. I thought AP had hit it out when the 3-2 pitch left his bat; I don't know if the damp SD air knocked that ball down or if he just barely missed it, but it definitely died on the track. The most inexplicable part of that ball is how Sledge missed it. He appeared (from my excellent vantage point in the Toyota Terrace down the LF line) to be there in time to make the play; next thing you know, the ball is rolling towards Mike Cameron. Wow.

The scary thing is, if Sledge makes that play, Edmonds lineout to CF is the last out of the inning. One Run. Taguchi never gets to bat with the bases loaded. And the rest of the game is significantly different. For one, LaRussa plays the 6th different after Looper was hit by a pitch (which caused my heart to jump into my throat, by the way - our best pitcher so far gets plunked. yikes). I'm willing to bet either (a) he hits for Kennedy there, or (b) some sort of squeeze would have been called. Likewise, Bard's leadoff single to start the bottom of the 8th leads to a completely different strategy by the Padres, as they try to push across the tying run.

Of course, the StL relievers probably wouldn't have been Springer and Johnson, but you never know.

I had sarcastically proclaimed, after Friday's meek showing, that I would be happy if the Cardinals had an inning with more than 1 hit in it. So, like I said, the 5-spot was nice. But they didn't hit the ball with authority; they had only 3 hits after Taguchi's double (and one of those was a GIFT - how did Yadi get credit for a single on a ball that went THROUGH Branyan's glove? That was an error when I played the game); and we all saw them get mowed down the next day.

My loyal fan-ness to this team will not wane or diminish, but after the last 6 seasons of good baseball, this is tough to watch.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Cards at Padres - Game 1

Yep, it's time for the annual trek to the Litterbox and the Cardinals' lone series in San Diego. Since virtually everyone who cares about the Cardinals is aware of their 7-0 loss last night, and has probably digested all the info there is on the game, here's some tidbits for you from last night:

- Kip Wells is just as awful in person as his stats would suggest. Rarely tops out above 90 on the radar gun with his fastball. He followed a great job striking out Adrain Gonzalez in the 3rd by hanging a slider to Khalil Greene - who promptly belted it into the leftcenter field stands. Nice lapse of concentration, Kip.

- Russell Branyan must star in Wells' nightmares. I can't believe the HR he hit in the second inning had enough juice to get out. Off the end of the bat down the LF line. When you're going bad, even luck laughs at you.

- Padres fans started the wave in the top of the third inning with the score 2-0, cementing their place among baseball fans as the most ridiculous. Wave started in the upper deck.

- I sat in the upper deck.

- It was 70s retro night - and the best part of it was the dance off before the start of the 6th inning. Winner - the girl with the Beyonce' glasses and hair from 'GOLDMEMBER', boobs flapping in the wind (not exposed, which was probably a good thing), and the Oh-so-classy spider tattoo between the breasts. There's a nice girl to take home to Mama.

- To his credit, Tony LaRussa is trying to jump start this offense. Two stolen bases last night (Duncan, Rolen). Hit and Run on a 2-0 count with AP at the plate and Kennedy on first. And so on. But there's not much you can do when:
(a) the ball hardest hit by a Cardinal was Kip Wells' double;
(b) the other hard hit ball landed in Brian Giles' glove (Duncan's liner in the 6th);
(c) the Cardinals only got one guy to third all night (Wells);
(d) Jake Peavy is pitching. Usually the Cards look feeble against Jake, as do most all NL teams. But I always had that feeling in years past that the Cardinal offense was capable of hitting Jake in any inning or situation. Not last night.

So on to game 2. Chris Young hasn't lost at home since last 22 Sept, and the Cardinals have now gone 24 innings on the road without scoring a run. Looper, our best starter (!), faces Young tonight, so the offense won't have to do much. Which is good, because they probably won't.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Weekend round up

I had no inside data. I was just guessing. But, it came as no small surprise to me that Josh Hancock was legally drunk (0.157, as reported by the Post-Dispatch) at the time of the accident that killed him. However, the fact that he was drunk when he died led to some nasty comment threads being left at Viva El Birdos (one of my favorite Cardinal blogsites) in the game thread for that day.

I'm sorry Hancock is dead, because of the hole he has left in the lives of those who loved him. I lost my father little over a year ago; that left a gaping hole in my family, although we knew the end was coming. I can't imagine the pain Hancock's family and friends are dealing with right now.

That said, he should have known better than to step behind the wheel and drive after knocking a few back.

I highly doubt last Sunday morning's drive down the highway was the first time he'd driven drunk.

I also highly doubt that no one in the organization knew he was a partier and didn't have the maturity a 29-year old should. Where's the leadership? No wonder the team is drifting along right now.

Banning alcohol in the locker room - whatever. That's not going to deter someone from going out for a drink after the game. Great PR move, no appreciable effect in real life.

So that saga starts the week. Carpenter going on the DL for 3 months to have surgery and repair his elbow ended it. Yikes. Of all the starters the Cardinals used last year (Carp, Mulder, Suppan, Marquis, Ponson, Reyes, Weaver), only Reyes remains in the rotation. I don't think that was the plan coming out of spring training.

Why is the club 12-17? Edmonds' struggles aside, here's why: Wainwright hasn't pitched as well as he did during he spring. The reclamation project (Wells) has been god-awful (just like his career to-date indicated). Reyes increasingly looks like a 'never-was' - all hype, not good enough at the Major League level. Looper - well, Looper has pitched his ass off. And the band-aid squad has done the best they can (Kiesler, et al).

I don't forsee much improvement on the horizon. Is 29 games in too early to start 'playing out the string'?