Hmmmm…dark times in Cardinal Nation, indeed. The Redbirds find themselves still mired in murky waters, but last night’s 1-0 win could provide the much-needed morale boost this team’s been looking for since the end of April. One can only hope…
But, the blog must go on, and with today being Thursday, that can only mean one thing…it’s time for What Where They Thinking?! If you haven’t listened to last night’s UCB Radio Hour with Dathan and Chris, CLICK HERE…otherwise, let’s get into it.
First off, a much-deserved Congratulations! to Dathan and his lovely bride on their new-born marriage. Wha…?! Really?! Didn’t ya’ll just get engaged a few weeks ago?! Eh…kids this days. #getoffmylawn Congrats, brother. Much love your way. (although, I am a bit concerned about the upbringing that would see you purchase not one but 2 Travis Tritt t-shirts…)
About the bullpen… The Rzepcynski slider has gone AWOL. Will someone please find it, catch it, and return it to him ASAP? It’s good to see Matheny involving himself a bit more in how his relievers are approaching hitters. Last night saw Scrabble rely much more on properly located fastballs instead of his flat, up in the zone slider that had, to this point, been his bread and butter. I have to believe that’s Mike and/or Lilly getting involved and telling Yadi, “Don’t use that damn thing until he fixes it.” But even better than that, I can’t tell you how good it was to see the Jason Motte cutter emerge from captivity. If Jason Motte’s fastball is the apple in his apple sauce, then his cutter is the subtle dose of cinnamon that gets mixed in…it don’ get no credit, but it really makes the dish. Motte was using the cutter often last night, and if Furcal makes the play o nthe first hitter, that inning is a subdued, calm one. What does this have to do with Matheny and his involvement in the ‘pen? Well…let me ask you a series of questions to answer that… Remember that at-bat with Hunter Pence a while back where he won the game for the Phillies with a RF homer? Remember me ranting and raving that I called it and he never should have seen a fastball in that AB? Remember the announcers last night talking about how Paul Konerko destroys fastballs? Aaaannnddd…remember that little conference on the mound Matheny held with Motte before the Konerko AB? Presto! Konerko sees nothing close to a fastball he can get wood on and ultimately grounds into a game-ending double play on…wait for it…a cutter! I think we can all guess what Matheny was saying to Motte during that little pre-AB conference. “If you throw his M***** F***** a M***** F****** fastball in the zone, I’ll F****** kick your a** all the way back to AAA. Ya’ feel me?”
Feast or Famine Cardinals offense…??? Wow…that sure sounds familiar. Oh yeah!!! CLICK HERE for my podcast about that very thing…IN MAY!!!
Hello, My Name is Shelby Miller: Trade Bait… No, no! I’m just kiddin’! But if he keeps pitchin’ like he has been, he will be. I know he’s supposed to be working on his off-speed stuff and all, but come on. Get some freakin’ scoreless innings under your belt, kid. And what is this stuff about his velocity being down as far as 90/91 mph? I don’t know if that report is accurate, but if so…and if he’s trying to throw his typical heat and it ain’t there…that…is…a…problem. The Cards’ front office needs to get that checked out. Or shut him down. Or something. Now, if he’s just leavin’ some in the tank…that’s a different story. But if the ‘ol Terminator went into hiding…I’m slightly concerned. As far as sending him back to AA for a spell, I agree with Dathan…you never know what that could do to a kid’s confidence. As suspect as Miller’s arrogance is…I like it. It will serve him well if he can maintain it AND learn.
Chris implied last night that this is kind of a rebuilding period for the Cardinals. I couldn’t disagree more. Yes, it is a shift in direction, and it is the beginning of a new era in Cardinals lore…and I think that’s what Chris was trying to say…but Mo knows this fan base expects to win now. As I’ve said before, in Cardinal Nation, “re-building” is what we do when we need to make more room for championship banners. Now, it is true that we’re looking to become self-sustaining with a nice little infusion of minor league talen, and that will lead to new faces. But let’s not use the “R” word, mmm-kay?
Ah, the bet… Poor Dathan. Remember that UCB Radio Hour where Dathan took the over and I took the under on 88.5 wins for the 2012 Cardinals? And remember when I said it was because of unknowns and growing periods for guys like Matheny? And geriatric injury issues with half the team? Yeah…about that… Just to put it in perspective, since the Cards were 31-31 (yesterday), they would have to post better than a .750 win percentage for the rest of the season just to hit 88 wins.
And that makes me think about stakes… Dathan keeps bringing up “neck tattoos.” Of course, permanent scarring of body tissue is off limits…but a tempt tat…hmmmm. I propose this: The loser must get a temporary neck tattoo of the Chicago Cubs logo…and they must wear it for 24 hours with photographic evidence in at least 3 public places. And then…the photos must be posted on both my blog and Dathan’s. So let it be written…