i don’t have a whole lot to say about the big series. the cards are catching a big break by missing sabathia, but they still have to face sheets, who is pitching better than his un-acelike recent line --- 1-4, 4.36 era in his last 5 starts --- would suggest. in those 5 starts he has thrown 33 innings and allowed just 1 homer, with a k/bb approaching 4:1 and an opponent ops of .678. i’d say he’s throwing alright. he’s just not getting any support --- the brewers scored 2 runs or fewer in 4 of those 5 starts. he has thrown 168 innings this year, the most he’s logged in 4 years, but by the numbers he looks as strong as ever. todd wellemeyer, who starts for the cards, is at a career high in ip (147.1) but seems to be regaining some strength; over his last 5 starts he’s been better than sheets (3-0, 2.30 era, .665 opponent ops). welley’s getting swinging strikes again --- about 1.5 per inning over the last 5 games, which is about the ratio he had back in may when he was pitcher of the month. he has faced milwaukee twice this year and posted a 1.64 era with no record. sheets likewise has no record vs st louis this season; his career mark is 5-14 with a 4.20 era.
since there’s not a whole lot of news to report, i’ll toss out a question: who do you think the cards will / should call up next week when the rosters expand? they can only add people who are on the 40 man roster, which is here; you’ll note that it doesn’t include colby rasmus (who began his rehab assignment in the gcl last night and hit a homer) or jess todd, two guys who might have their uses down the stretch. it also doesn’t include any catchers beyond the two who are already on the active roster; it’d be nice to have a 3d one in september. but to add one (or to add rasmus or todd) they’ll have to move somebody off the 40-man --- fortunately that shouldn’t be any problem. blake hawksworth no longer seems to merit a spot, nor rico washington; i don’t know if the club considers jarrett hoffpauir a part of their future plans anymore, but i’d rather see brian barden get his spot. izzy can be moved to the 60-day dl, which would open up a spot (they would not, and should not, humiliate the guy by releasing him); ditto for mulder and mike parisi. so they can clear up to 6 spots if they want to. and, of course, a number of the leading candidates for promotion are already on the 40-man and thus can be recalled without any corresponding moves. here’s a list of possibilities:
|on 40-man||off 40-man|
|mitch boggs||colby rasmus|
|jason motte||jess todd|
|brendan ryan||josh kinney|
|randy flores||bryan anderson|
|kelvin jimenez||josh phelps|
|mark worrell||brian barden|
|nick stavinoha||david freese|
let’s start with the hitters. wallace is hitting the snot out of the ball and might very well be ready to hit big-league pitching, but i can’t see them activating him; it’ll require them to put him on the 40-man next season, which would be a waste of a spot. i also am not certain they’ll activate rasmus; he is rusty, and he wasn’t doing all that well when he went out. which outfielder is he gonna take at-bats away from? i’m pretty sure he will have to be added to the 40-man next year anyway (even if he’s in the minors), so you could argue they might as well do it now; if they fall out of contention, he can take a few swings and get his feet wet. that’ll be an interesting call.
they clearly need another shortstop who can play the position; hello, brendan ryan. i also would like to see them add another catcher, which would free up molina or larue (both useful hitters) for pinch-hitting duty; i’ve listed bryan anderson here, but the call (if it goes out) might actually go to mark johnson, who is a capable receiver and has big-league experience. anderson’s average is down to .284, and he still hasn’t shown any power; the guy is very young and needs more time. stavinoha probably will be recalled for pinch-hitting purposes (he’s already on the 40, so why not), and i don’t see why you wouldn’t want josh phelps around; he’s got an ops in the 1.100 range since july 1, and he’s had success in the big leagues. brian barden? they said if he and rasmus played in the olympics they wouldn’t get called up in september, and with felipe lopez now on hand i’m not sure barden adds anything. i can take him or leave him.
pitchers: boggs, jimenez, and flores are automatics. all are on the 40 and can sop up surplus innings where necessary. kinney probably will be added as well and might see action in some meaningful situations if he’s throwing well; he’s been on the 60-day dl, which means technically he’s not on the 40-man, so they’ll have to bump somebody to put him on. i’d like to see what motte can do, and i bet the club is curious too, but i’m not sure whether to expect a callup; it’s already pretty damn crowded down there. ditto worrell. re jess todd, they’re facing the same situation they face with brett wallace: if they call him up they’ll have to include him on the 40-man next year, whereas otherwise they can leave him off without penalty. so no go --- they can get a look at him next spring.
so this leaves me with the following list:
i’m away from the laptop all day today; game thread will be pre-programmed. c’mon cards, keep us interested.