Thursday stuff

The Cubs lost, leaving us w/ a magic # of 1. This means that we've clinched a tie for the division. God help us if we can't win 1 of our last 10.

Smoltz wasn't too bad in his 2nd start since his 10 day layoff. Of course, we still can't hit Bud Norris. If the plan is for Smoltz to pitch in the bullpen in the playoffs, isn't it time to see if he can warm up quickly and otherwise get his arm ready to pitch out of the pen?

The Cards voided the contract of Wagner Mateo based on some issue related to his vision. Put aside the notion that we might use those $3 M toward resigning Matt Holliday. The team's budget and the player development budget are 2 different budgets and 1 doesn't affect the other.

The team promoted 4 players and guess what...Allen Craig isn't among them. Why should they? With Troy Glaus a healthy, productive, right handed bat w/ power off the bench, why would we need another? Instead the team chose David Freese, Tyler Greene, Josh Kinney (who actually MIGHT play a role in the postseason) and Matt Pagnozzi, the prodigy behind the plate who "batted" a robust .221/.299/.308 in the hitter-friendly PCL this year.

Tony says that, despite team splits of .235/.312/.367 against lefties, we have nothing to worry about in the postseason. If that's true, why did he start Skip Schumaker in CF Monday against Wandy Rodriguez instead of Rasmus or Ankiel? Could it be b/c of this? Now, Skip's not a lot better against lefties and he certainly isn't better in CF than Rasmus, but he does give the team a slight improvement at the plate over Colby. Of course, it's doubtful that he's worth what he costs the team defensively but the very fact that Tony's experimenting w/ CF the way he is indicates that he's not completely sold on the team's ability to hit lefties. (I apologize for any suggestion here that the team is flawed, btw!) If you look at what would be the starting 8's splits vs. lefties as Cardinals this year they are .271/.357/.434 w/ Skip and .264/.350/.436 w/ Colby. Both are respectable. However, that's also w/ Albert getting 179 PAs -- approximately 20% of the total. Needless to say, in the postseason he'd get slightly more than 11% of the PAs. Ryan Ludwick, FWIW, has 2 homers against lefties in 142 PAs this season.

Finally, right now the Cards sit in 3rd place in the NL -- just behind the Dodgers and Phils -- in the race for home field throughout the playoffs. If the playoffs began today, we would play the Dodgers and the Phils would play the Rockies. I think the Dodgers are the team I'd prefer to play in the first round. Sure, they have Wolf and Kershaw but the Phils have Lee and Hamels. Ubaldo Jimenez is really tough and I'm not sure we're better off facing him twice out of 4 or 5 games than we would be facing him in a 7 game series. The Phils may have the weakest pen but they also have the best lineup. Which team would you prefer to face in the first round? Or...discuss whatever you want to discuss (as if you need my permission!).

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