It's never good news when Matt Holliday hits the disabled list—especially when the piecemeal way in which he vanished from the lineup means his stint there isn't retroactive to whenever the quadriceps problem actually began—but now, when Allen Craig and Jon Jay have combined for two wins, is probably as good a time for his second trip from the lineup as the Cardinals could hope for.
Craig has basically recreated his minor league career, which was filled with seasons like this (with fewer walks and singles)—he was a career .321/.380/.548 hitter with Memphis, and now he's hitting .337/.402/.537 in about a hundred at-bats with St. Louis. Together with his less impressive rookie season I think he's hit more or less like we Craigen-unleashers hoped he might—.287/.346/.469. If he's an average outfielder and he can play second and third base in the same way Scott Spiezio could ostensibly play second and third base, that's a very valuable player.
As for Jon Jay, he appears to be pissed off about all those suggestions the Cardinals trade him and replace him with Adron Chambers (who homered twice yesterday.) In 396 MLB at-bats he's hit .313/.372/.447, against 1564 minor league at-bats at .301/.367/.432. What's surprising about both of these players isn't that they've found some new gear; it's that they've put together performances that are almost identical to what they did at their best in the minor leagues. Haven't they seen their MLEs?
Lance Lynn emergency start survival kit:
1 (ONE) Radar Gun: Lynn's sudden ability to rile up internet-based fans and impressionable bloggers like myself came after two years as a Dave Duncan special, a guy who didn't throw as hard as it looked like he could but got a lot of groundballs anyway.
After a mediocre start to his AAA career, Lynn began throwing considerably harder than he had before, getting as high as 96 on a fastball that seemed geared more for strikeouts than contact and striking out 16 batters in a PCLCS start to get the hyperventilating prospect geek detective agency on the case. Earlier this year our own robot wrote about this phenomenon on Future Redbirds; it's as good a summary of the change as you'll find.
1 (ONE) Set of Reasonable Expectations: 5 IP, 3 ER, maybe? He's working on three days' rest, which means that especially thorough survival kit makers might add a little Tony La Russa Righteous Indignation to their own packs. It seems like it's been a while since we've been able to have unreasonable expectations for a returning or arriving starter—Kyle Lohse we could barely hope for anything at all; Kyle McClellan we could hope for, oh, 5 IP and 3 ER; Chris Carpenter we could hope that his arm stayed attached. Shelby Miller will arrive in St. Louis under three years of repressed hype; I don't envy him.
1 (ONE) Kyle McClellan Starting Lineup action figure: He's Kyle McClellan! He's pretty good! If Lance Lynn has a great start, remember that Kyle McClellan's been pretty good, and probably won't be removed from the starting rotation immediately for a 24-year-old with an ERA of four-ish in the PCL. He's Kyle McClellan! He's only pretty good! If Lance Lynn has a terrible start, remember that Kyle McClellan's only been pretty good, and might not have done any better, especially after that ugly return-to-earth start.
If you do decide to paint your own Kyle McClellan Starting Lineup action figure, I recommend going with the goofy football practicing-quarterback doll with the half-shirt. But you have a lot of options.
1 (ONE) Space Blanket: It just seems like the cautious thing to do. I don't have a lot of experience putting together survival kits and all the eHow guides suggestion space blankets. If it gets cold out, I suppose you could get under this? In Japan they have not yet invented central heating or walls, so I am a little envious of anyone who does not need a space blanket at this juncture.