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Game 16 Open Thread: April 20, 2007

i refer you back to this post.

how disgusted is kip wells right about now? after all those years trapped in pittsburgh, pitching for inept teams, he finally gets an opportunity to show what he can do with a decent defense behind him and a little run support to back him up . . . . he must feel like the pirates all tagged along with him to his new team. maybe this is all his fault; maybe he checked his losing baggage through on the flight to st louis. wells played a great game yesterday but lost because he got absolutely no help. he generated the entirety of his team's offense --- scored both of the runs, supplied the only rbi, and got 2 of the 5 hits --- and had a stellar outing derailed when his first baseman dropped a routine throw, allowing the leadoff hitter to reach base in the 5th. on the very next pitch, wells' rightfielder misplayed a ball off the fence so badly that ryan klesko had time to chug all the way around to third base; the next hitter reached on another error, a throw in the dirt that pujols normally digs out.

we nitpicked pujols' hitting on wednesday and his baserunning on thursday; today's friday, so it must be time to nitpick his glovework.

at worst, those three batted balls should have resulted in two outs and a baserunner on third, with st louis still leading 2-0; instead the lead was gone and wells had thrown 14 pitches without recording an out. prior to that sequence he had faced the minimum, retiring 12 men on 53 pitches; he would need 57 pitches to get through the next 2 innings. he became increasingly errant as he tired, mislocating his pitches even when he threw strikes. the outcome was not surprising --- a loss that wells hardly deserved.

the team deserved it, though. after bearing down to win 6 of 8 games against houston pittsburgh, and milwaukee, the cardinals have completely lost focus --- mental errors, wasted at-bats. they've mustered just 23 hits in the last 4 games --- 19 of them singles --- to fall to dead last in the nl in both batting (.232) and slugging (.331). it would be nice to blame it all on taguchi and schumaker and miles, but gooch and miles currently rank 4th and 5th on the team in slugging --- just behind gary bennett. and schumaker, terrible though he is, has the same number of extra-base hits as spiezio and edmonds --- in fewer at-bats. calling up john rodriguez and/or ryan ludwick certainly couldn't hurt --- i mean come on, what are they waiting for? --- but it's not going to solve anything. the problem is that edmonds, rolen, pujols, and spiezio are hitting a combined .194 with no power. la russa is concerned; jocketty says give it time.

i think they're both half-right. pujols and rolen will come out of it; edmonds and speeze, i'm not so sure. speezer saved the cardinals last autumn, but before 2006 he'd topped the .800 ops mark only once in a 9-year career; all the projection instruments pegged him as a .250ish hitter with a .730ish OPS, and so far that looks about right. as for edmonds, he hasn't been himself since mid-2005, when his creaky shoulder (the same one he had surgery on this off-season) began bitching in earnest. of his 9 hits this year, 2 have been infield singles and 3 have gone the other way; his lone extra-base hit was a double slapped down the left-field line. jimmy has displayed no evidence this year that he can still pull the ball with power; it's early, and he got a late start, but if there's a reason to panic about the cardinals it's edmonds. "the fate of the st louis offense may rest in his hands," i wrote in my season preview at the Hardball Times. scary thought.

they're gonna have to make a trade.

onward now to chicago, where the cardinals were swept three times last year (once by the chisox). they face a left-hander, ted lilly, who has walked just 3 and struck out 24 in his first 3 national league starts. forecast calls for warm temps: 60s and 70s, sunny. good hitting weather. odds and ends:



2-1, 2.37

1-1, 2.37