Another loss on Friday really sums up what has been a frustrating season for the Cardinals: Just when you think you can depend on a guy in certain situations (namely late and close) Pat Neshek has the blowup of all blowups in the 7th inning of a 2-2 ballgame or Seth Maness, someone who usually gets nothing but ground balls, gives up a monster shot to Ike effing Davis.
For most of the season, the Cardinals have been riding the exploits of both Neshek and Maness as a sort of funky mid-70's duo of middle inning madness. The bearded bohemeian with a funky delivery and an inexplicable attrition rate among batters faced and his sidekick, the pale faced young buck who prevents most any ball from being hit skyward. Which makes the last few days feel like that time when Starsky and Hutch lost the keys to the Gran Torino and had to take the bus. If those two guys start to struggle, it's going to be a rough September in
Bay City St. Louis.
I agree with the Overlord's analysis of the bullpen situation (even if he did make a mistake about Rule 3.05b), but the issue to me is not so much one of tactics but one of bullpen construction: Choate is a LOOGY and can't be trusted against righties, which is what makes Kevin Siegrist so damn important to this ballclub. Had Siegrist been available in that spot, he surely would have come in to face Davis and if Clint Hurdle wants to go to Jordy Mercer I think us Cardinal fans would be just fine with that outcome.
As a rule, relievers don't have a huge impact over the course of a season in terms of WAR, but you don't know how much you miss a guy until he's not there anymore.
Minor League Playoff chances:
- Memphis currently has a two game lead on second place Nashville for a spot in the PCL playoffs. Since this is an even numbered year, they would go on the road for games 1-2 and get games 3-5 at home in the conference championship . Gotta like their chances assuming they can close this out over the weekend. If they advance to the LCS the format would be the same: Games 1-2 on the road, games 3-5 at home. And there's a good chance that Michael Wacha could make a start in one of those games.
- Palm Beach has lost four straight and now must win out in order to make the playoffs for the Florida State League. A week ago it looked like they were in the driver's seat for the division title and with the Cardinals putting all hands on deck to help them make the playoffs it seemed likely they would hold on to that lead. But, as they say, all plans of mice and men...
Farewell, ol' sport:
If you follow prospects on the internet than you probably know that the big news in our world this week is Jason Parks' announcement that he had taken a scouting position with the Chicago Cubs. Not that they really need any more help in that department, but the Cubs got themselves an excellent talent evaluation mind while the world of baseball blog writing lost another good one to a full time job with benefits. Although his decision did produce the Roast A Parks feature on Friday, one of the funniest pieces I've read all year.
I've been a big fan of Jason's since he started at Baseball Prospectus and he's one of the few writers who has been able to turn his passion for the game and for player evaluation into well-written columns that were both heavy on analysis and also fun to read. As Keith Law has proven over the years, that's just not easy to do (the fun part I mean, Law's analysis is great, but at times it's like reading Dostoevsky). Writing with passion, some homoeroticism, and dropping in the occasional "I'm not sure what the point of that paragraph was to the piece but I sure did enjoy laughing at it," Parks was able to give a lot of life to what can be a really boring hobby at times, following around 18-22 year old kids as they try to make their way in what amounts to one frustrating game.
I certainly hope Theo and Jed enjoy the flair and the paragraphs full of adjectives that reference 70's era television sex symbols. Hell, maybe they're fans of James Garner too and just needed someone to discuss that with. Either way, Jason Parks will be missed. I hope the
grass is greener sand is finer on the other side for you sir.
Here's to hoping you never sign a top ten prospect in your career with the Cubs. (Hey, this is a Cardinals blog after all, bub.)