Okay, okay…my blogging has been non-existent for a while now, but my job blocked all blogs through their filters…what am I supposed to do?! So…just to get back to it, let’s do a few quick thoughts from Cards ‘N Stuff before the Cubs series:
1. What a series!!! I’m sure I wouldn’t feel it was nearly as entertaining as I do if we had lost a couple games, but we didn’t. We swept ’em. We came into Cincy amidst all the trash-talkin’ and cleats flyin’, and we walked out with nothin’ left undone. For the first time since April, I really feel proud and energized by my team.
2. That said, this series against the Cubs may be even more critical, although less emotional, than the Reds series. We must follow up our sweep with a return to consistently winning ballgames. The Cubs are a tanking team, one that we must be able to take advantage of down the stretch if we expect to pull away. But that’s only half of it. The Reds are facing Josh Johnson tonight (1.97 ERA dude w/Cy Young potential…even though he’s been sheltered all season) and have to do without Johnny “Rockette” Cueto on Sunday (a perhaps rusty Homer Bailey will step in) against a team with Dan “Da’Long Bomb” Uggla and Hanley “Hopin’ for a bit a Hustle” Ramirez. This is a valid opportunity to pull away. We have to take it. This is August, not June. It don’t get no more “get ‘er done now” than this.
3. We NEED a third base option. We don’t even need an everyday third base option, but we need someone who can spell Felipe Lopez here and there. The dude’s being run into the ground, and we have a long stretch of games coming up. The production of Holliday and Pujols as well as the resurgence of Yadi, Raz, and Jay are great…but how long is that going to last? At this stage of the game, we can’t afford a lull while the team goes AWOL again. We need a bat that can fill in maybe 30 – 40% of the time at the Hot Corner.
4. Speakin’ of 3rd base options, I’m starting to get concerned about Allen Craig again. With the re-emergence of Jon Jay in RF and the 2 spot, Craig is once again relegated to spot and PH duty. We saw what happened last time he lost so many ABs. Craig is in an RBI producing rage right now. We can’t afford to allow that streak to get interrupted. Play the kid at 3rd. We have another off day coming up, and Craig sure isn’t getting any playing time right now. Spend the days working him out at the Hot Corner again and see if he is a 30 – 40% option at 3rd. Solves 2 problems: Lopez’ wear and tear and Craig’s lack of at-bats.
5. And finally, I have to say, I’m disappointed in Hall of Fame writer Hal McCoy (affiliated with the Dayton Daily News in Ohio – http://www.daytondailynews.com). Printing Phillips’ comments that he clearly meant to be heard was one thing – printing unfounded and unsupported claims about the perception of the Cardinals by other teams without offering one single bit of testimony is just irresponsible. It’s beneath him. He’s better than this. Hal, if you want to print that stuff, print the sources as well…otherwise, keep it out of the paper. It’s just irritating.
Alright, all…hard to imagine a Cubs series being more of a let down than this one is, but after that Reds series, what could really match up, eh? So…