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Cardinals Newsbeat

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Cards’ front office says playoff baseballs have lost juice

The St. Louis Cardinals’ front office says baseballs have suddenly lost their juice this postseason, supporting a claim from a prominent data scientist that the balls have changed following a historic, homer-friendly regular season.

Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said Saturday that St. Louis’ analytics department has found the ball is flying 4 ½ fewer feet on average in the postseason. Players in both leagues have been stunned when hard-hit balls have fallen on the warning track this month, raising more questions about the makeup of the baseballs after hitters clubbed a record 6,776 home runs in the regular season — a rise attributed to unusually far-flying balls.

“I mean there’s probably all kind of different theories behind that that I won’t really get into,” Shildt said before a 3-1 loss to Washington in Game 2 of the NL Championship Series. “Just the fact of the matter, it could be any number of things.”

The numbers don’t leave much doubt, says data journalist Rob Arthur. He was among the first to suggest tweaks to the ball may have caused home runs to spike as early as 2015, and he thinks something is off with this year’s October model, too.

So, where were these balls during the regular season, and what do we do to have them used during it?

 

QLE Posted: October 13, 2019 at 12:25 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, juiced baseballs, playoffs

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Misery Index: Play-by-Play Breakdown of Braves’ Brutal First Inning in NLDS Game 5

Every baseball disaster has its own particular terroir. But, generally, they fall into one of two genres. There is the sudden individual moment: the walk-off, the disastrous error, the grand slam. This draws a clear line in a game of before and after; it is one instance of sensational pain, so that the entire endeavor implodes, and then it is over. There is no space for bargaining or strategizing or rationalizing. It is one play that remakes the game in its likeness. And then there is the slow decline: the frame that holds a thousand deaths, and so, too, a thousand missed chances to live. This one unravels gradually and then suddenly and, always, painfully. This one is the first inning of Game 5 between the Braves and the Cardinals.

It was historic (10 runs, the most ever scored in the first inning in the postseason), a little bizarre (10 runs without one home run!) and, ultimately, the foundation for a contest that was totally anticlimactic (St. Louis went on to win, 13-1). There was no one moment when this got out of hand. There was, maybe, only the moment when it transitioned from ordinary disaster to full-on caricature. So here are all of those moments, presented in chronological order by batter, rated by their misery.

No. 1, Dexter Fowler: Walk

This, on its face, is not so bad. This was but one base-runner. It was unremarkable, neither a four-pitch disaster nor an extended battle. Yet—it was a leadoff walk, in an elimination game, and, well, there’s inherent misery to that. Just a little! It’s irrational, concerned more with the shifty pressure of a bad omen than the particular realities of run expectancy, but, all the same, in however small a sense, it’s miserable.

Misery Rating: 3

Anatomy of a Disaster

 

QLE Posted: October 10, 2019 at 12:51 AM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, cardinals, nlds

Why did the Cardinals let ace Jack Flaherty throw 100 pitches in a game decided after the first inni

It’s not often that you see all suspense of a winner-take-all game in the MLB playoffs deflated by the end of the first inning, but that’s pretty much what happened Wednesday during Game 5 of the NLDS between the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals.

The Cardinals batted around and then some in the first inning, hanging a postseason-record 10 runs on the Braves and increasing their lead to 13-0 in the third inning.

Obviously, that was great for the Cardinals. That didn’t stop them from making an odd choice on the pitching side, however, of a game that had been all but decided.

Because we’ve seen how well playing short-rest games has worked for the other teams in the playoffs, and there’s something to be said for learning by example?

 

QLE Posted: October 10, 2019 at 12:11 AM | 59 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, jack flaherty

Monday, September 30, 2019

St. Louis Cardinals win NL Central; Milwaukee Brewers settle for wild card

The St. Louis Cardinals clinched the NL Central on the final day of the regular season Sunday, routing the Chicago Cubs 9-0 to secure their first division title since 2015.

Manager Mike Shildt and the Cardinals began the day with a one-game lead over Milwaukee but used Jack Flaherty’s arm and Matt Carpenter’s bat to ensure there would be no need for a division tiebreaker game Monday.

Flaherty pitched seven impressive innings, and Carpenter led a three-homer attack with a three-run drive to help St. Louis advance to the NL Division Series, starting Thursday at Atlanta.

“This is what it’s all about,’’ Shildt said. “I love to see the guys enjoy the fruits of their labor—it’s something special.”

The one race of the season still active on the last day- is it just me, or is that a little low compared to the last few years?

 

QLE Posted: September 30, 2019 at 12:33 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, cardinals, nl central

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Three Reasons the Surging Cardinals Can Win the World Series

Baseball’s closest division race is on the final stretch, with the Cardinals (90-68) all but officially taking home their first NL Central crown since 2015. Entering play Wednesday, St. Louis’ magic number to clinch the division is three, and Fangraphs giving the Cards a 93% chance to win the Central. They’ve gone from postseason afterthought to legitimate World Series contenders in less than two months. Here’s the case for the Cardinals to win their 12th Fall Classic.

1. Formidable Starting Pitching

The Cardinals lost five of their six games in the first week after the trade deadline and went from first to third place in the NL Central. Playoff prospects fading, their decision not to acquire an impact starting pitcher at the end of July was looking even more like a failure. However, in the 44 games since, St. Louis starters have posted an MLB-best 2.69 ERA, with a formidable rotation trio emerging in the process.

Jack Flaherty has emerged as one of baseball’s best pitchers, and his 0.97 second-half ERA ranks first in the majors among qualified starters. In his four starts this season against the Braves and Dodgers—assumed to be the two leading contenders to win the pennant—Flaherty is 2-0 with a 1.44 ERA and 31 strikeouts over 25 innings. The only run he’s allowed against L.A. this year came on a Joc Pederson solo home run, and he’s struck out 18 Dodgers hitters and walked just one. Overall, Flaherty is 10-8 with a 2.85 ERA, a 0.988 WHIP and 225 strikeouts across 189 ⅓ innings this season.

 

QLE Posted: September 26, 2019 at 12:30 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, playoffs, world series

Friday, September 13, 2019

Q&A with John Mozeliak

In early August, you all collectively made the decision to fire popular assistant hitting coach Mark Budaska. At the time, everyone said it was related to philosophical differences with hitting coach Jeff Albert. How much do you think the mixed messaging for the first few months may have contributed to the offense underperforming?

Mozeliak: I think, simply put, you’re always looking for consistent messaging. You can have diverse opinions, but you have to have ways of solving problems, because ultimately you don’t want to confuse the players or your team. I think we needed to find some clarity on that. It forced us to make a change and now I feel like the messaging the players here is much more consistent, and I feel that’s been a very positive development for us over the last month or so.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 13, 2019 at 08:58 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, john mozeliak, pay site

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

September Storylines to Follow as MLB’s Stretch Run Begins

If players are defined by what they do in October, their fates are often sealed in September. This is the month that makes postseason success possible. Divisions will be won, wild-card berths will be secured and MVP races will be decided. Here are the top storylines to follow as summer turns to fall.

1. The Last Division Race Standing

The NL Central was expected to be a three-team race all season, as the Cardinals, Cubs and Brewers expected to be in contention for the division title. St. Louis has been surging in the second half, when Paul Goldschmidt got hot and Jack Flaherty and Dakota Hudson emerged as a strong one-two rotation duo. Entering play Monday, the Cardinals (76-60) are three games ahead of Chicago in the division after winning eight of their last 10.

The Cubs (73-63), who hold a 2 1/2-game lead for the second wild-card, have been wildly inconsistent for much of the season. Their last three series (nine games) are the perfect example: They got swept at home by the Nationals, then swept the Mets at Citi Field before returning home to Wrigley Field and dropping two of three against Milwaukee. Offensive consistency has been a problem, as has an overworked bullpen with a less-effective Craig Kimbrel as the closer. Chicago is ultra talented, with a lineup anchored by a handful of all-stars. The Cubs are more than capable of rivaling the Cardinals for the division title, making the NL Central a worthy narrative to follow the rest of the way.

So, do we agree with these claims, or are there other stories that could emerge between now and the end of the regular season?


Saturday, August 31, 2019

Reds-Cards rained out, will play back-to-back doubleheaders

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds are going to get plenty of work over the next two days.

The Reds and NL Central-leading Cardinals were rained out Friday night, setting up back-to-back doubleheaders this weekend. The teams will play day-night doubleheaders on both Saturday and Sunday.

A rainout in St. Louis in early June forced a makeup as part of Saturday’s twinbill.

The Cardinals lead the Chicago Cubs by one game in the division.

For those of us who’ve been missing the doubleheader….

QLE Posted: August 31, 2019 at 04:24 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, doubleheaders, reds

Monday, August 26, 2019

LEADING OFF: Harper returns to Phillies, Ramírez has surgery

DADDY’S HOME

Bryce Harper is expected to return from paternity leave as the Phillies open a home series against struggling Pittsburgh. Philadelphia dropped two of three at last-place Miami without him, managing only four hits and never batting with a runner in scoring position during Sunday’s defeat. Harper had been on a tear before taking a few days to be with his wife, Kayla, and their newborn son — the couple’s first child. Harper has nine homers in his past 17 games, batting .290 with a 1.139 OPS.

BAD BREAK

Cleveland third baseman José Ramírez is set to have surgery on his broken right hand. It’s a potentially devastating injury for the Indians’ playoff chances as they try to catch first-place Minnesota in the AL Central or capture a wild card. Ramírez went on the injured list Sunday with a fractured hamate bone, an injury that typically takes more than a month to heal. There is no clear timetable for his return, but it’s safe to assume Ramirez — who has been on a tear at the plate — won’t be around down the stretch in September.

The circle of life, in two short squibs.

 

 

QLE Posted: August 26, 2019 at 04:10 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: bryce harper, cardinals, didi gregorius, homer bailey, injury, jose ramirez, josh donaldson

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Who’s Going to Win the Chaotic NL Wild-Card Race?

The National League wild-card race is a big stupid mess. With Sunday’s games in the books, six teams are within five games of the second spot, with Washington and St. Louis hanging onto postseason positions for dear life. How long they can dig their fingernails into the cliff for the next six-plus weeks depends on whether the group behind them can put together a run. The Mets are the latest of those clubs to get red-hot, but even that blazing stretch has only put them in the thick of the race instead of at the top of the heap.

Is there a favorite, though, in that stew of squads? To find out, let’s dive into each of the eight teams still vying for the two wild-card spots and decide which pair are the better bets to play on into October. The playoff odds below originate from FanGraphs’ projection.

Son, at the rate it’s going, there will be no winners of the NL Wild Card race- only survivors.

 

QLE Posted: August 13, 2019 at 05:21 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, cardinals, diamondbacks, giants, mets, nationals, phillies, reds

Friday, August 09, 2019

The Cardinals are changing their “STL” logo a tiny, tiny bit

The St. Louis Cardinals are ever-so-slightly changing the interlocking “STL” logo they use on their caps. It’s officially a change for 2020, but they’ve soft-launched it on various graphics packages.

You can see all the differences over at Chris Creamer’s Sportslogos.net. They’re incredibly subtle changes. Some flaring and rounding about the edges of the letters, but that’s basically it. Unless someone pointed the change out to you, I doubt you’d even notice it, even if someone was wearing a 2020 cap sitting across the table from you.

Well, what better place to discuss the art of the logo than here?

 

QLE Posted: August 09, 2019 at 07:44 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, logo

Friday, July 26, 2019

Goold: Unwinding the ‘unwritten rules’ of Cardinals’ runaway win in Pittsburgh

“We didn’t challenge a play in the seventh, not because we’re not looking to compete or looking for every edge we can get or reward our guys, like Goldy, for the effort he gave down the line,” Shildt explained. “At that point, it’s 13-4, and it’s the last out of the seventh and they’ve got a position player pitching. I couldn’t justify trying to throw extra pitches on a guy who is trying to answer the bell for this team that is not in a position that is natural for him.”

Interesting discussion of some of the nuances. Shildt admits he doesn’t always know where the line is.

Perry Posted: July 26, 2019 at 10:43 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, unwritten rules

Monday, June 24, 2019

Cardinals’ reliever Hicks has torn ligament in elbow, could miss rest of season | Cardinal Beat | stltoday.com

An MRI examination Monday revealed that the 22-year-old Hicks has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

A Cardinals press release states that the team is determining the next course of action but it seems unlikely that Hicks would pitch much, if any, the rest of the season. Tommy John surgery certainly would rule him out for the rest of this season and part of the next season.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 24, 2019 at 06:27 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, jordan hicks, tommy john surgery

Thursday, May 30, 2019

APNewsBreak: Cubs-Cards set for London on June 13-14 in 2020

NEW YORK (AP) — The Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals are set to play at London next season in a two-game series at West Ham’s Olympic Stadium on June 13 and 14.

St. Louis will be the home team for both games, according to a draft of the 2020 preliminary schedule obtained by The Associated Press.

Chicago will be at Philadelphia from June 8-10, then has a pair of off days. The Cubs will be off June 15 and then start a homestand at Wrigley Field against the New York Mets and Boston Red Sox.

“I’ve had experience traveling over there and the time difference is pretty dramatic, especially when you go that way,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Wednesday. “When you come back, you’re always able to catch up, when you’re going back in time as opposed to forward in time. I don’t even know what to expect in something like that. You know your head’s going to be swimming a little bit, you’ve got that brain fog, you just do.”

My advance apology to all Londoners for subjecting you to the Cardinals, much less as a home team….

 

QLE Posted: May 30, 2019 at 10:23 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, cubs, london, neutral site games

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Royals, Cards face off, each searching for answers

The Kansas City Royals travel across the state of Missouri—a three-hour drive along Interstate 70—for a quick, two-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals beginning Tuesday evening. The Cardinals own a 56-41 advantage in the all-time regular-season series.

The Royals will send right-hander Homer Bailey (4-4, 5.36 ERA) to the hill opposite the Cardinals righty Michael Wacha (3-1, 4.93).

Absent a sweep by either club, both teams will continue their run of futility. Both clubs have lost five consecutive series.

The Royals haven’t won a series since a three-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians from April 12-14, going 0-9-1 in 10 series during that span, and they have not won a series on the road all season.

Mind you, I’m not sure the teams’ relative performances are that close- one is approaching the league’s basement, while the other would still be third in either the NL West or NL East.

QLE Posted: May 21, 2019 at 04:48 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, royals, slump

Monday, May 20, 2019

Bullpen failure wraps up rough trip for reeling Cardinals | St. Louis Cardinals | stltoday.com

The Mets aren’t the only team taking on water.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 20, 2019 at 09:07 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals

Friday, May 17, 2019

The Cubs and Cardinals are reportedly set to play in London next year

Back in February, the rumor started floating around that the Cubs and Cardinals could be one of the rivalries to head to London in 2020 for a series.

That appears to now be a reality, as USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale reported Thursday evening:

....

The Yankees and Red Sox are set to play in London this summer (June 29-30).

No word yet on which team — the Cubs or Cardinals — would be the “home” team in London or who would lose a series at their home ballpark.

Wait- I thought the point of these games was to increase the popularity of baseball in Europe, not damage the sport.

 

QLE Posted: May 17, 2019 at 04:00 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, cubs, london, neutral site games

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Surging Cardinals dump slumping Nationals

Adam Wainwright gave up just two runs in 6 1/3 innings and the St. Louis Cardinals used a big fourth inning to beat the Washington Nationals for the second night in a row, prevailing 3-2 on Tuesday in the nation’s capital.

The Cardinals have won nine of their last 10 games while the Nationals have lost eight of 11. Washington is 4-6 in one-run games while St. Louis is 5-3.

Wasn’t Surging Cardinals, Slumping Nationals a major cross-over hit close to twenty years ago?

 

QLE Posted: May 01, 2019 at 05:48 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, nationals, slump, streaks

Friday, December 11, 2015

IT’S THE CUBS’ WORLD NOW

Not to spoil the ending, but:

But the Cardinals aren’t doomed. They still have a solid lineup, a solid rotation and a solid bullpen, and you’d have to think they’ll add somebody. But for years, some fans have claimed, wrongly, that Cardinals-Cubs isn’t a real rivalry because the Cards have always been so much better than the Cubs. This, not coincidentally, is the same thing Yankees fans used to say about the Red Sox, before Epstein took over there as well. Now, some have said, in the wake of the Cubs’ signing of Heyward, that this ratchets up the rivalry.

But if anything, I believe it dampens it. Even before Friday, the Cubs were a better team than the Cardinals in just about every way. Now that the Cubs took the Cardinals’ best player, the gap between these teams have widened. If anyone needs to prove this is a rivalry, it’s the fading Cardinals.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pujols, La Russa absent as Obama honors Cardinals

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Tuesday dubbed the St. Louis Cardinals the “greatest comeback team in the history of baseball” thanks to their thrilling late-season charge into the playoffs and death-defying, seven-game triumph in last November’s World Series.

[...]

Two key figures of the championship season were absent. Manager Tony La Russa retired after the series. And star Albert Pujols signed a $240 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels in the offseason.

Classy!

Tuque Posted: January 17, 2012 at 10:22 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals

Monday, January 16, 2012

Retrosimba: An interview with former Cardinals pitcher Al Jackson

Q: You began the 1967 season in the Cardinals’ rotation and in April pitched a one-hit shutout, beating the Astros, 4-0, in Houston. Bob Aspromonte broke up the no-hitter with a leadoff single in the eighth. Do you recall what happened?

Al Jackson: Yes, I do _ big-time. It wasn’t so much the no-hitter. I just wanted to maintain the stuff that I had that night, the control that I had. I wasn’t throwing as good as I was earlier in the game but I also knew that when I got a little tired, I was a better pitcher because I could keep the ball down. Against Aspromonte, I got the groundball I wanted. The pitch may have been down the middle because it was hit in the hole between short and third. If I had thrown it a little further away, the ball may have gone to the shortstop. I wasn’t worried about losing the game. I just wanted to stay on top of mine.

I also had pitched a one-hitter with the Mets against Houston. Joe Amalfitano got the hit. Boxscore Later, I was asked to speak at a dinner in New York. I began by saying I disliked Italians. The room was full of Italians and they looked at me like I was crazy. Then I had to explain: the two guys who broke up my no-hitters are named Amalfitano and Aspromonte. It got a laugh.

Q: Musial was 4-for-5 in his career against you. He batted .800 against you. You were smart to put him on with the walk…

Al Jackson: I’m glad I had a place to put him. I was asked after the game, “Why would you walk him? He’s a left-handed hitter.”  I said, “Why? That’s Musial.” Just look at his record. He’s known for beating teams. And here I am in that small ballpark _ just 250 feet down both lines. I know he can hit for power down both lines. And I never thought about striking him out. That wasn’t on my mind at all.

Thanks to Heck.

Repoz Posted: January 16, 2012 at 06:32 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, history, mets

Sunday, January 15, 2012

MLB.com: Wainwright expresses admiration for Tebow

ST. LOUIS—Hours before taking the field against the New England Patriots on Saturday night, Tim Tebow found himself the center of discussion in the Cardinals’ interview room. Yes, these days it seems as if there is no setting that the Broncos quarterback can’t effectively infiltrate.

Putting his Southeastern Conference allegiance aside, Adam Wainwright spent several minutes expressing his admiration for Tebow, particularly for the fearless the University of Florida product shows in expressing his religious faith in a public forum.

“I am obsessed with Tim Tebow,” Wainwright said. “I’m not afraid to say it. It’s almost embarrassing to us athletes that this much emphasis is put on Tim Tebow because that means we aren’t living our lives as we should. If we did that more often, the way he is living wouldn’t be as big a story. I’m so proud of him for living out his faith.”

Tripon Posted: January 15, 2012 at 02:07 PM | 193 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, rockies

MLB Trade Rumors: Bartolo Colon Agrees to Sign With Unknown Team

Bartolo Colon has agreed to a deal with an unknown club reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter). The right-hander wouldn’t divulge the team because he has not yet passed his physical.

Pretty sure it’s either the All-Stars or the Champs.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Neyer: Who Will the Cardinals Miss the Most?

Rally squirrel, obv.

Thursday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s website ran a poll:

Whose departure will have the biggest impact on the Cardinals?

The choices: Dave Duncan, Tony La Russa, Albert Pujols…

What I found most interesting about the poll wasn’t that Pujols finished last, but that Dave Duncan finished first, with 42 percent next to La Russa’s 30 and Albert’s 28… I’m intrigued by the notion that Cardinals fans might actually give more credit to Duncan than La Russa for the team’s recent successes. Partly because I’m not completely sure they’re wrong.

But hey, let’s make this about the Hall of Fame, since we could never get tired of that.

This isn’t an original thought, either for me or the rest of the Internet, but I believe Dave Duncan deserves, if not more credit than La Russa, at least some real Hall of Fame consideration…

In the five years before Duncan got hold of Dave Stewart, he went 30-35 with a 98 ERA+. In the next five years, he went 93-50 with a 118 ERA+.

I don’t know how much of that was Dave Duncan, how much was Tony La Russa, and how much was just Dave Stewart getting a chance to pitch. But if I were somehow involved with the Hall of Fame, I would like to know.

I would like to know that, and a lot more.

The District Attorney Posted: January 12, 2012 at 07:40 PM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, hall of fame

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Robothal: Cards’ Duncan taking leave from team

Dave Duncan, one of the game’s most respected pitching coaches, is taking a leave of absence from the St. Louis Cardinals, general manager John Mozeliak said Thursday night.

Duncan, 66, is leaving the team so he can be with his wife, Jeanine, who underwent surgery to remove a brain tumor on Aug. 21, the team announced in a news release…

The team said that Mozeliak will meet with new manager Mike Matheny in the near future “to determine the team’s course of action to fill Duncan’s position during his absence.”

Duncan missed more than a month after his wife’s surgery last season, but rejoined the team for the final day of the regular season and remained with the club through the Cardinals’ march to the World Series title.

Bullpen coach Derek Lilliquist served as pitching coach while Duncan was away from the club…

Duncan is under contract to the Cardinals through 2012 with a club option for the 2013 season.

The District Attorney Posted: January 05, 2012 at 10:40 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals

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