All right, everybody. I'm really, really sorry. Ever since I posed the question of who would hurt this team the most if they were to go down, we've had nothing but bad luck. Young ace pitcher, down. Greatest Hitter in the Game, down. What next? You know what, I'm not even going to vocalise that question out of fear. Still, I obviously somehow invited in the bad kharma, and for that I apologise. I just thought I was trying to start a discussion, not end our season.
I can't find confirmation of it anywhere just yet, (edit: right here ) but KTRS is reporting that the Cardinals have already informed Chris Duncan he's on his way back up. I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this move. It's obviously the most sensible, easiest move, but I wonder if it's really the right one. Duncan was sent down to Memphis in order to try and get his stroke back, in a lower pressure environment, with less of the microscope that comes with failing at the major league level. He hasn't done that. He's played six games total since being optioned, (and isn't starting against left handed pitchers there, either) and is currently hitting .190 without a homer. That's not exactly indicative of a player who has his stroke back.
Of course, our only other real option at this point is to put Joey Bombs over at first for the time being, and Mather isn't exactly lighting the world on fire at the moment either. He's not lost at the plate or anything, he just looks like a rookie getting his first taste of major league calibre pitching. Personally, I think he'll make the adjustments and get himself going, but maybe filling in for the best hitter in baseball isn't the best situation for him to try and get himself going. Thoughts?
It looks like Pineiro is going to be able to take his turn on Thursday, which is excellent news. As good as the Cards' young pitchers have been this year, (and even Parisi was quite good in a bullpen role) I'm not sure that I'm particularly eager to tempt fate further by bringing up someone like a Jaime Garcia, Mortensen, or Jess Todd just yet. I don't think any of those guys are quite ready yet, and I would hate to see one of them come up, get knocked around, and lose confidence because of it. Sort of win the battle, lose the war sort of proposition, if you ask me. Thankfully, Jo-El, (does anyone find themselves wishing that we still had Cal Eldred on this team, just so we could have Jo-El and Cal-El at the same time?) appears to be ready to come back.
Enough doom and gloom. Let's talk about positives. Let's talk about Mitchell Boggs making his debut.
I've got to say, Boggs was really, really good last night. He didn't blow the Reds away or anything, but for a guy making his major league starting debut on both short notice and somewhat short rest, he was fantastic.
You could tell he was amped out of the gate; he couldn't find the strikezone and was consistently throwing 94-95 in that first inning. Luckily, the Cincinnati nine helped him out a bit with some poor situational hitting, and Mr. Boggs settled in nicely after that. His fastball was sitting pretty comfortably at 93 or so, and his sinker hummed in there at right about 90. What I was surprised by was just how much movement he has on that two seamer of his. All the scouting reports I've read on him have mentioned that he has good sink, but I wasn't prepared for the hard boring action he was producing on those pitches. Speaking of scouting reports, I'm a little curious about something. From Baseball America:
"Boggs has scrapped his curve and has developed a wipeout slider that now ranks as one of the best in the system."- Prospect Handbook 2008
I have to admit, I'm not seeing the wipeout slider. I saw a nice little curveball that he struggled a bit to command last night, but no slider. A while back, over at Future Redbirds , Azruavatar wrote up a detailed scouting report on Boggs that said about the same thing. And I quote:
"The slider was a fringe pitch thrown only 5-6 times over the course of the game."
Az graded Boggs' slider as about a 30 on the 20-80 scouting scale, and I think I would be inclined to basically agree with that. I think it might be a little better than a 30, but not much. Regardless of the exact grade, the pitch that Boggs throws is a far cry from the "wipeout" slider that was described by BA. I have to wonder, what became of the pitch that the BA scouts saw? If anyone has any sort of inside info on what exactly is going on with Mitchell's breaking pitches, I would greatly appreciate some assistance.
Overall, though, I was encouraged by what I saw on the mound last night. I think Boggs has an excellent delivery, and should remain very durable, which in itself has a lot of value. His two fastballs should be enough, even without better secondary pitches, to allow him to have some success at this level. If he could figure out a way to improve that slider or maybe add a splitter or something, I think he could be a very successful major league pitcher. As it stands now, Wainwright looks to be out at least three weeks, so we're going to need some players to pitch in and shoulder the load. I think Boggs is up to the challenge.
News and notes:
There's a nice little article over at the P-D which details, among other things, exactly what is wrong with A.D.A.M. There's also some updates on the progress of Matt "the Chin" Clement and Muldoo.
The Cards aren't wasting any time in signing their recent draft picks, according to the Scout Network website. This makes me a very happy panda. Included in the article, and highlighted in one that requires a subscription, is also the news that they've agreed to terms with their supplemental pick, Lance Lynn from Ole Miss. Plug for the Scout guys: if you aren't a subscriber to their service, you should consider becoming one. Outstanding stuff on a daily basis.
Speaking of Lynn, Chris O' Leary had a nice breakdown of Lynn over at his site. I do really like the kid's delivery, and O' Leary absolutely loves him. He's a little higher on Lynn than I am overall, but I definitely think Lynn has the potential to be a great value pick for the Cardinals. With his size and mechanics, he should deliver the innings, at the very least.
I wonder how long before the Cardinals look to promote Fernando Salas to Memphis? They signed him as a free agent out of Mexico in early 2007, and he's been kicking ass and chewing bubblegum ever since. (By the way, Fernando Salas doesn't chew bubblegum.) There are really only three numbers you need to know about Mr. Salas; to know more would only force you to confront your own mortality.
35 2/3 innings pitched
8 bases on balls
So, I wonder when he's moving up?
The Cards have already guaranteed themselves a winning road trip, taking 5 out of the first seven with two to play. Now comes the tough part, though: playing without Albert. Let's hope they're up to the challenge.