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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Miklasz: Cards Blow a Chance to Beat Cubs: Another Reason to Despise the Sac Bunt

Old-school Bernie sounds more like Brian Kenny here…

But there’s a bigger picture here.

You have only 27 outs in a nine-inning game.

Every out is precious.

So don’t squander them on unnecessary sac bunts.

And never do it when you have a runner on second base with no outs — and three chances to get him home.

Matheny absolutely adores the sac bunt and I don’t know why.

The Cardinals have been among the most aggressive sac-bunter teams in the majors since Matheny took over as manager in 2012. In his first four seasons, the Cardinals ranked among the top seven teams for most sac-bunt attempts three times. And in the other year, 2015, they ranked 14th among the 30 teams.  This season only four teams have tried more sac bunts than Matheny’s Cardinals.

And for all of Matheny’s serial sac bunting — or as I call it, “Death By Bunting” — here’s where the Cardinals have ranked among the 30 teams in sac-bunt success rate each season:

2012 — tied for 17th.

2013 — 25th

2014 — 11th.

2015 — 20th

2016 — 22nd

Matheny remains undeterred. Despite reams of easily accessible data and that give current managers more information than ever to make educated and beneficial strategy decisions, Matheny manages like it’s 1957 or something.

All of the studies have produced or reaffirmed the same conclusion: sac bunts just aren’t a smart percentage play — and that’s especially true when you have runners on first and second and in possession of all three of your outs.

JEe (Jason) Posted: May 26, 2016 at 05:24 PM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: bernie miklasz, bunts, cardinals, mike matheny, yadier molina

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Wacha routed again and can’t figure it out | St. Louis Cardinals | stltoday.com

From reading some of my Twitter follows I conclude his issues must be due to pitching the most innings in a year following Tommy John surgery.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 25, 2016 at 06:59 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, michael wacha

Sunday, May 15, 2016

St. Louis Cardinals standing behind Aledmys Diaz, misplays and all - St Louis Cardinals- ESPN

His defensive play can improve. Still, his play has clearly been a plus for the Cards.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 15, 2016 at 05:47 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: aledmys diaz, cardinals

Sunday, May 08, 2016


Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Cardinals hit five home runs in win | MLB.com

The Cardinals had a pretty, pretty good game last night.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 03, 2016 at 10:22 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals

Monday, April 25, 2016

Yadier Molina points out suspicious man with binoculars in Padres’ center-field camera well

Not cool to “hack” into the Cardinals signs like that!

But the practice of sign-stealing goes from an innocent and understandable part of on-field play to a weirder and more concerning competitive advantage if and when teams incorporate agents and technologies beyond the diamond to figure out what their opponents are planning. The Toronto Blue Jays have long been dogged by allegations of a mysterious man in white clothing — the Man in White — who sits in center field at the Rogers Centre and relays pitch calls to Blue Jays hitters, somehow. And on Sunday, with the Padres hitting at a home game at Petco Park, Yadier Molina spotted something suspicious out in center field:

It happens so quickly that it’s not easy to see what’s going on here. But Molina appeared to be discussing something with home-plate umpire Sean Barber throughout Brett Wallace’s at-bat with two out and two on in the ninth. And after Wallace — who represented the potential tying run for the Padres — put a good swing on a Trevor Rosenthal fastball and fouled it off, Molina began pointing out to the center-field camera well.

Who was in the center field camera well?

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 25, 2016 at 10:52 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, padres, sign-stealing, yadier molina

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

No, ESPN Did Not Air Cardinals Fans Yelling Racial Slurs At Jason Heyward

Although there were a few vague chants, we couldn’t hear anything offensive. So we asked ESPN. When reached for comment, a spokesperson said that the game audio was being reviewed, but to their knowledge no slurs had been picked up.

When Heyward came to bat in the sixth inning, the Worldwide Leader cut to Bryce Harper’s at-bat in a game against the Marlins. Some people on Twitter attributed it to the network wanting to avoid any recurrence of audible slurs while Heyward was at the plate: According to that same ESPN spokesperson, the cutaway in the sixth inning was planned. Harper, who had homered in four straight games, was on a hot streak, and the network wanted to broadcast his at-bat.

Jim Furtado Posted: April 20, 2016 at 08:33 AM | 102 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, jason heyward

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Jason Heyward blitzed with N-word taunts from Cardinals fans in return to Busch Stadium

Jason Heyward’s return to St. Louis was marred with racial slurs.

In addition to booing, ESPN crowd mics picked up multiple Cardinals fans yelling the N-word at the new Chicago Cubs right fielder, who played last season for the Redbirds.

Heyward — who signed an eight-year, $184 million contract in the offseason — spent just one year with St. Louis.

Sadly, fans who who felt slighted by his so-called betrayal, felt booing wasn’t enough to get their point across.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 19, 2016 at 10:50 AM | 100 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, cubs, jason heyward, racism

Ex-Cardinal Heyward is where he wanted to be

Once all of his suitors made their financially generous overtures, it became clear to outfielder Jason Heyward that no matter what baubles and clauses the Cardinals were willing to add they could never offer what he truly wanted.

They didn’t play in Chicago.

They didn’t have the Cubs’ young players.

“It came down to Chicago was really where I would like to be at the time,” Heyward said Monday. The Cardinals “made a trade for me. They traded a couple good pieces. I feel like they had every intention of keeping me here. They said that. And they followed that through with their actions. It didn’t come down to contract. Whether it was the opt-out, whether it was the full no-trade (clause), or what have you — it came down to taking the opportunity to be where I wanted to be and for the first time in my life having the choice.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 19, 2016 at 09:43 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, cubs, jason heyward

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright frustrated | cardinals.com

All you Twitter people are on notice!

“I don’t care what all those Twitter people out there calling for my retirement and all that, and I don’t know how many times I have to tell people to relax, because you pitch a few games like this you don’t deserve to tell them to relax,” Wainwright said.

“What I will and can say is I will come out of this, and I will be a very, very good pitcher. I’m just not there right now.”

Jim Furtado Posted: April 17, 2016 at 08:37 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: adam wainwright, cardinals

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Cardinals put their faith in the future | St. Louis Cardinals | stltoday.com

I finished The Cardinal Way. I enjoyed the book and recommend it, especially to Cardinals fans and those interested in the workings of major league front offices. My only quibble with the book is its failure to fully unify the stories/chapters in the book. Don’t get me wrong; each chapter was interesting and worth reading. It’s just that, although you can see how Howard tried to tie everything together, he fell a little short in executing it.

Has anyone else finished the book? If so, what are your impressions?

“I spent time interviewing different minor-league players through the years, and the biggest takeaways I have from that experience was, No. 1, they want to know where they stand,” Mozeliak said. “Am I going up? Am I going down? Neutral? So, feedback. No. 2, when they first put on that Cardinals’ minor-league uniform, that’s one goal. But guess what? There’s another one. They want to play in St. Louis. Now, we want that carrot to be there for them.”

As Mozeliak enacted DeWitt’s blueprint for a self-sustaining farm system and a more data-driven decision machine, that carrot took root. And not just for players.

Mozeliak described the organization’s goal as a table. The four legs are international scouting, amateur scouting, analytics-baseball development, and player development. Supported by all four is the table itself, Mike Matheny’s major-league club. If one leg is short, weak or untended, the table wobbles. To keep the legs strong, all need the same amount of attention. Part of that attention was inclusion. The walls that had previously existed between disciplines had to come down. The fact that one building in Jupiter seemed to house two worlds during spring training — the majors and the minors — had to cease.

Jim Furtado Posted: April 03, 2016 at 10:41 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, john mozeliak

Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Baseball Historian: The Cardinals Way: A Review

I’ve read about a third of the book and I’m enjoying it very much.


Wrigleyville - KNOW YOUR (2016) ENEMY: ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

People aren’t very high on the Cardinals. I’m not ready to write them off.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 31, 2016 at 08:32 AM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, previews

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Hazelbaker could force Cardinals into tough decision | St. Louis Cardinals | stltoday.com

The next J.D. Martinez or just another nice spring story?

Jim Furtado Posted: March 22, 2016 at 09:09 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, jeremy hazelbaker

Monday, March 21, 2016

Cardinals add veteran shortstop Ruben Tejada

It didn’t take Ruben Tejada long to find work. Three days after being released by the New York Mets, the 26-year-old shortstop inked a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the St. Louis Cardinals, where he’ll compete for the opening day job at shortstop.
The Cardinals have been looking for a starting option since losing Jhonny Peralta to a significant thumb injury earlier this month. The All-Star shortstop is expected to be out until at least midseason, meaning St. Louis will be forced to replace a strong run producer. Tejada won’t provide that, but he’ll at least provide a steady hand.

Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: March 21, 2016 at 01:49 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, ruben tejada

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Gay Cardinals Minor League player quit baseball when teammates said gays should be killed

I experienced both coaches and players make remarks on killing gay people during my time in baseball, and each comment felt like a knife to my heart. I was miserable in a sport that used to give me life, and ultimately I decided I needed to hang up my cleats for my own sanity. -Tyler Dunnington


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

STL P-D: As Cardinals search for shortstop, Oquendo gives team direction

For infielders, Jose Oquendo’s reach extends their grasp.

The Cardinals’ choreographer relies on his feel for the game, his read on the pitcher and increasingly detailed spray charts to direct each infielder where there is a high probability of a play. It’s his sense of positioning that the groundball-greedy Cardinals have come to rely on, and one of the reasons they feel confident converting infielders, even at a premium position like shortstop.

Our Brock Hanke has been touting Oquendo for years.

 

Dr. Vaux Posted: March 15, 2016 at 05:54 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, coaching, defense, jose oquendo, spring training

Saturday, March 12, 2016

St. Louis Cardinals’ Carlos Martinez happy with spring debut - St Louis Cardinals- ESPN

He pitched well yesterday but I’m moving him down on my draft board this spring just in case.

Given that this team that will lean heavily on its starting rotation, Martinez’s health has been much-discussed this spring. The 24-year-old went 14-7 with a 3.01 ERA and struck out 184 batters last season, generating great expectations for 2016, but he also wore down and finished the season with a sore right shoulder.

He has been moving at a slower pace than the other starting pitchers this spring due to concerns about his shoulder, but he now hopes he can begin the season on time.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 12, 2016 at 08:02 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, carlos martinez

Friday, March 11, 2016

Garcia, Diaz are versatile prospects for Cardinals at shortstop | St. Louis Cardinals | stltoday.com

A rundown of the Cardinals options at short.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 11, 2016 at 07:21 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Jhonny Peralta Potentially Out for 2-3 Months | FanGraphs Baseball

This one will really hurt.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 08, 2016 at 06:12 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, jhonny peralta

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Hochman: Piscotty impresses Cards with brains, brawn | Benjamin Hochman | stltoday.com

“He’s wicked smart.”

They don’t make ’em like Stephen Piscotty much.

He’s uber-talented, and likely is the heir to the throne that is the No. 3 spot in the St. Louis Cardinals’ batting order. But he’s wicked smart. Fascinated by outer space. Politics. Went to Stanford. Graduated with a degree in atmosphere and energy engineering.

“He’s definitely a different kind of guy,” said fellow outfielder Randal Grichuk, his teammate and spring training roommate. “I told Jim Hayes (from the Cardinals broadcast) that he was a nerd, on his debut day in Chicago, and Hayes kind of got mad at me. I told ‘Pis,’ ‘I had said you’re pretty much a nerd, you graduated from Stanford.’ And he pounded me (a fist bump) and said, ‘I like it.’ That’s the kind of guy he is. He understands where he’s at, he’s really intelligent, very smart guy. I don’t even know what he graduated with, because it’s so out there. But yeah, great guy, great teammate.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 06, 2016 at 06:43 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, stephen piscotty

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Kolten Wong agrees to $25.5M, 5-year deal with Cardinals

Best Contract Extensions in Baseball

Taking a long-term commitment to Kolten Wong as their second baseman, the St. Louis Cardinals agreed Wednesday to a $25.5 million, five-year contract with the 25-year-old.

Wong gets $1.25 million this year, $2.5 million in 2017, $4 million in 2018, $6.5 million in 2019 and $10.25 million in 2020. St. Louis has a $12.5 million option for 2021 with a $1 million buyout.

He would have been eligible for salary arbitration next winter and for free agency after the 2019 World Series.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 02, 2016 at 07:56 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, kolten wong

Book Review: ‘The Cardinals Way’ Digs Deep Into Club’s Success - BaseballAmerica.com

You can skip the preamble.

That preamble is a long-winded way of saying that Howard Megdal’s “The Cardinals Way” (Thomas Dunne Books, $26.99) easily meets the standards of a good—or even great—baseball book. It is an enjoyable read because it does an excellent job of explaining the Cardinals’ viewpoint on developing a successful baseball team, tying together the origins of long-time coach George Kissell, owner Bill DeWitt, general manager John Mozeliak and many others into a common thread that is the team’s organizing ethos.

But even more importantly, “The Cardinals Way” burrows into your brain long after you put it down. Megdal does an excellent job of talking to almost everyone who was involved in helping the Cardinals continue as the most consistently dominant team in the National League in the 21st century.

Megdal looks big picture to explain the front office controversies that eventually saw Walt Jocketty leave and Mozeliak and Jeff Luhnow ascend. But he also goes granular to examine the impact of area scouts and tracks careers of Cardinals’ minor league coaches and minor leaguers.

The book is well-researched and has plenty of insights that only come from extended conversations with many of the Cardinals’ top decision-makers.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 02, 2016 at 05:29 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: book reviews, books, cardinals

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Peralta returns stronger, lighter and ready to work : Sports

A sluggish second half led Peralta to rethink his offseason work and update it to address increased demands and advancing age. He has reported to spring training 10 pounds lighter, stronger in his legs, and in what one Cardinals official said was “probably the best shape he’s been in with us.” That’s based on the results of his physical, not how his jersey hangs. A season removed from when he led the team in homers and months removed from his All-Star turn, he’s asserted himself at a time the Cardinals prepared, arguably, to expect less from him.
[snip]
The nuances of his contract aside, the Cardinals have structured their roster with the same purpose Peralta structured his offseason.

To stay at short.

“For me, I take a lot of pride in it, in playing 13 years, in still being a shortstop,” Peralta said. “I take a lot of pride in being an everyday shortstop.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 28, 2016 at 10:14 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, jhonny peralta

Friday, February 26, 2016

Hochman: Gruff Lilliquist has sparked Cardinals’ pitching renaissance : Sports

“Pitching is just such an art,” he said. “Guys who get the ultimate grasp of pitching, it’s a dance, it’s a rhythm, it’s truly a remarkable feat, if you will, to consistently do it. Guys that are really good, who have gotten to what they call a ‘zone,’ you stand there with a smirk on your face, knowing that the hitter has absolutely no chance.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 26, 2016 at 10:52 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, derek lilliquist

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