Archive for the ‘St. Louis Cardinals’ Category

MLB: Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees

Write out a list of the best outfielders of the past 30 years. How many names do you scribble down before you get to Carlos Beltran? In all likelihood, most of those players haven’t produced more than Beltran has since the turn of the century. In the expansion era, very few outfielders have put up numbers like Beltran. Among center fielders, the list shrinks even more.

Carlos Beltran is one of the most talented baseball players in recent memory, a true five-tool all star putting the finishing touches on a brilliant career. At 36, Beltran might not be the power/speed wunderkind that from his days in New York and Kansas City, but he’s still hitting.

He keeps hitting as his body changes and his role transitions to one suitable for his current skill set. I spoke with Carlos Beltran about reintegrating himself into the American League and the adjustments of 21st century baseball.

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MLB: Washington Nationals at St. Louis Cardinals

If you’re looking for a player to bet on long term, you could do worse than Matt Carpenter. There is something about Matt Carpenter’s particular skill set that is somewhat underwhelming but still incredibly valuable.

The Cardinals leadoff man is fresh off a great season, where he ranked among the best hitters in the National League while learning a new position. Carpenter posted a .318/.392/.481 line and a season that ended up worth 7 Wins Above Replacement.

It is more the way that Carpenter goes about his business that might seem underwhelming. He doesn’t hit for a lot of power and his “no batting gloves” look is disarming. But no hitter managed more doubles than Carpenter last season as the Cards second baseman overtook Manny Machado during the seasons’ final weeks. He churned out hits and walks and scored more runs than anybody, even Mike Trout!

Carpenter makes contact – lots of it. Hard contact. He has the Cardinals line drives gene, whether he was born with it or they spliced it into genome in their run scoring foundry. Line drives falling out of bed. Line drives the other way and line drives pulled over the first baseman’s head. Line drives that fall for hits. Lots of hits. Even if he doesn’t record a hit, Matt Carpenter turns in terrific at bats, one after another. This is what a .300 hitter looks like, he said in his least condescending voice.

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San Francisco Giants v St Louis Cardinals - Game Three

Pitching wins ballgames, we’re always told. You need pitching to win, specifically an all-world ace. A horse. Last week, I looked at some numbers from recent history that suggested maybe it wasn’t the case. Maybe four able and healthy bodies go a lot further towards playoff achievement than one generational talent.

It sparked some debate on twitter as the lure of an ace or a lockdown pitching staff endures. It sent me back into the history books, all the way back to the year 2013.

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MLB: Seattle Mariners at St. Louis Cardinals

I know, I know: of all the players in baseball, Yadier Molina needs more smoke blown up his ass the least. As a member of the Cardinals and Molina brother, he already attracts all manner of attention for his exploits on the field.

Over-inflated as his tires might be, it is important to recognize that Yadi Molina is in fact one of the best players in baseball. He is in fact one of the two or three best catchers in the game right now. He is looked upon adoringly by his teammates and revered by his opponents. With out without the recognition of the writers’ association, Yadier Molina is an invaluable member of the best organization in the game.

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MLB: NLCS-Los Angeles Dodgers at St. Louis Cardinals

The Boston Red Sox need only to win one more game before they are crowned World Series champions. Standing before them is the formidable frame of Michael Wacha, the hard-throwing right-handed starter for the St. Louis Cardinals. Wacha dominated the Sox in Game Two of this series just as he’s dominated all in his path since his recall from the minor leagues in August.

Michael Wacha is a highly unusual power pitcher in that he lacks a big breaking ball. It was this lack of a good curve or slider that contributed to his now-famous tumble to the 19th in the first round of the 2012 draft. And yet here the rookie stands, sporting some of the gaudiest postseason numbers in recent memory.

If the Red Sox want to avoid a coinflip Game Seven, they need to get to Wacha if possible. One best possible path to clinching the series at six involves going away form one of the main pillars of the Red Sox Way – they need to swing aggressively at the first pitch.

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The moment you’re born, you start dying.

This is a particularly pessimistic outlook on one’s existence, but it’s also painfully accurate. We’re in the constant process of moving toward our own demise. Certainly, good things happen along the way. We learn. We find things that give us a sense of fulfilment. We seek out little moments of happiness, but then, we shuffle off.

The life of a Major League pitcher is a microcosm of all this. From the moment a pitcher throws his first pitch in the league, his velocity begins to decline, and with it, a good measure of everything else he’s capable of doing on the mound.

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MLB: World Series-St. Louis Cardinals at Boston Red Sox

The Cardinals weren’t going to play worse than they did in Game One and, for betterment of us all, they did not. As it turns out, the Red Sox were also unlikely to play as well as they did in Game One. It wasn’t as ugly as the Cardinals defensive performance in the first game of the series but the Red Sox picked the least opportune moment to get wild and loose in the field.

Both managers really starting yanking levers and pushing buttons but, in the end, it was Mike Matheny‘s dominant bullpen that bested Farrell’s friends 4-2 to even the World Series at one game apiece.

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