Troy is on Fire! Troy Glaus continued his hitting barrage in back-to-back-to-back games at home. In the loss to the Pirates yesterday (still can’t believe that happened…), Glaus went 3 for 4 with a walk and another RBI. He’s striking the ball well and seems to be in a groove. Given his hot streak, experience with AL pitching, and overall swing characteristics, Troy could be the hot bat in this weekend’s interleague match-up against the flaming Tampa Bay Rays (hehe…”flaming”).
Dunc the Punk is outta’ his Funk! Chris Duncan may have finally left his hitting demons behind him. Dunc went 2 for 5 at the plate yesterday (including a key double) with 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored. With a right-hander on the mound tonight, expect to see him swinging away with renewed confidence. A quick note on his recovery: I noticed Chris crouching more than usual in his stance early in the year. Yesterday, he seemed to be standing more erect. Could this slight stance alteration be responsible for his early season power loss? For a free-swinging power-hitter, it makes sense…
Yadi Finds His Swing After a 2 for 3 performance with an RBI and 2 walks, Yadier Molina’s stubbornness at the plate is finally paying off. His average has slowly crept up to .302 – and not a moment too soon! With a lack of credible protection behind Pujols, the Cardinals desperately need Yadi to come through in the six or seven spot…especially with the rally-killing pitchers batting behind him. Maybe his little outburst Monday awoke the fire within…”Yadi ANGRY!”
Ank the Tank’s Successful Sac Okay, I don’t know the exact statistics here, but it seems like Rick Ankiel has been having a slight problem with sacrificing in runners on third base. The guy just seems to place a bit more pressure on himself when he has to do something specific at the plate (rather than just “see the ball, hit the ball”). So, I was more than a little pleased with his sacrifice fly early in yesterday’s game. It continues an encouraging sac fly trend for the Cardinals hitters who may be threatening to finally do away with that god-awful “runners left on base” statistic.
Kyle McClellan Rebounds Again, not entirely sure of the statistics here (if you haven’t already figured it out, we’re not much for stats on this blog…or facts for that matter), but it seems young K-Mac has been struggling a bit as of late. Things seemed to turn around in yesterday’s game, however. Kyle pitched 1.1 innings in relief allowing 1 hit and 1 walk while striking out 2 (no runs). With Izzy’s issues and Lohse’s soreness, a consistent K-Mac is going to be key for the next couple weeks.
Joel Should Stick to Kick Saves Joel Piniero is quickly pitching himself out of a job. With Wellemeyer and Looper pitching like aces, Piniero is making his case for the “pitcher to be named later” position when Mark Mulder returns (oh, yes…I still have faith). La Russa hinted at a loss of concentration in the fifth inning, but I’m not so sure that’s it. Piniero has consistently been hit HARD in his appearances on the mound. Sometimes, I swear the guy is hiding a leprechaun up his ***, he’s so lucky. With so many hard hit balls for outs, it’s only a matter of time until a slugging team like the Pirates breaks through.
Brendan Ryan’s Strikeout Maybe I’m too hard on the guy. I like him…I really do…but the guy is too old to be playing so young. For the second game in a row, Brendan Ryan has struck out with runners on in a high-visibility situation. This time, it was a called strike three on an 0-2 count to end the game. Come on, young fella’! Ya’ gotta’ end the game by swingin’ the bat.
Cast-Away Cardinals Cardinals base runners are perilously close to carrying a volleyball named Wilson with them on the base paths. Yesterday’s game saw no less than 13 runners ship-wrecked with no hope of returning home. However, as I stated earlier, perhaps a bit of situational hitting discipline is sneaking in the back door of the club house as the redbird bats seem to be increasing their number of sac flies when needed. Here’s hoping the trend continues…
Izzy’s Bad Day Yeah…I know. You’re thinking this was going to be “The Ugly,” weren’t you? No, I’m saving that honor for his Manager. Izzy is no longer responsible for his pitching woes (Bernie Miklasz has a great column on this very point here: http://www.stltoday.com/blogzone/bernies-extra-points/bernies-extra-points/2008/05/memo-to-la-russa-stop-izzys-bleeding/). But his outing was bad. Very bad. With a throwing error on a cleanly-fielded bunt to tie the game, Izzy served up an inside fastball to Jason Bay. The Pirate slugger happily deposited the pitch in the left field bullpen to give the Pirates an 8 – 5 lead. Poor Izzy…
TLR’s Brain Lapse I’m not sure what he was thinking. I’m not even sure he WAS thinking. I know what he said…that Izzy and Franklin were the only pitchers available due to a sore Kyle Lohse (rendering Parisi the “backup starter” on Sunday), but I still don’t agree. There is no way in hell Izzy should have been in that game…pitch Parisi and bring up a Triple A starter to spell Lohse if need be…but LEAVE IZZY ALONE. That’s all on that…between my previous “Top 5” post and Bernie’s column, I think enough has already been said. I just hope Tony hasn’t ruined his favorite closer…
Okay…that’s all I can stomach for now…interleague play against the “First Place Tampa Bay Rays” begins tonight. Let’s all hope and pray Braden Looper can help turn this team around.