Monday, April 28, 2008

Testy, Testy

I don't know what everyone is so crabby about, but it looks like the Redbirds and Astros just cannot get along. The benches cleared on both Saturday and Sunday, further escalating heightened tensions between the two teams that stem from an April 8th incident in which Albert Pujols made an aggressive slide into catcher J.R. Towles. Despite Pujols issuing a personal apology to Towles, he and pitcher Brandon Backe exchanged words the following day, presumably setting the stage for this weekend's profusion of aggression. Saturday's fracas began when Adam Wainwright flung a pitch behind Houston's Brad Ausmus. Seeing this as payback for Roy Oswalt hitting Jason LaRue with a pitch a half inning earlier, all hell broke loose. Then on Sunday, a high pitch from Brandon Backe caused Yadier Molina's temper to boil over. Players spilled out from both dugouts as he exchanged words with Backe and headed towards the mound. The argument quickly dissolved and play resumed, although Molina was still angry about the situation after the game and offered no apology for his reaction. From

"I wasn't expecting it. I wasn't expecting that pitch that close, right in my face. If you're going to try to hit somebody, you've got to do it in the body. You can't throw it in the head. That's not professional. That's not baseball. That's not human."

Yeesh. Mr. Molina does not appear to be in a very forgiving state of mind, which leads me to believe that we may not have seen the end of this St. Louis vs. Houston conflict. Call me crazy, but I don't think Enya and a bubble bath are going to resolve these hard feelings. However, based on the outcome of those two games, a general sense of animosity does not appear to be a problem for the Cardinals. In fact, these guys seem to feed off of it. These are certainly not the only instances in recent memory where anger has been a motivating factor for Pujols & Company. That said, the Cardinals took the series 2-1 and are 16-10 heading into tonight's home game against Bronson Arroyo and the Cincinnati Reds. I'm personally hoping Adam Dunn pees in Molina's locker.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I Believe This is Reckless Endangerment

Is Milwaukee the only team we play this summer? For crying out loud, I think we've already faced them 27 times this year. What's worse is that I think they're finally catching on to us, because like last Thursday's game, the Brewers were able to squeak one out and away from us yesterday afternoon. It took them 12 innings to do it this time around, but the end result was the same: a big ol' disappointing loss for the Cardinals. Despite a late inning rally that tied things up in the ninth, the Redbirds couldn't get anything going again in extra innings and fell 9-8.


"Eight runs and nine innings weren't enough for the Cardinals on Tuesday.
Neither were three middle infielders. And remarkably, 13 pitchers almost didn't
cover it, either. Four hours and 28 minutes of baseball culminated in Gabe
Kapler's one-out RBI single in the 12th inning, ending a bizarre game as the
Cardinals lost to the Brewers, 9-8, at Miller Park. Seven Cardinals and eight
Brewers pitched, Albert Pujols made an appearance at second base and the
Cardinals left a staggering 16 runners on base. "
Good grief. The only way this could have been more of a circus is if they'd brought in some dancing bears in funny hats or shot a guy out of a cannon. Reading the entire game summary, you get the feeling that NOBODY on that field had any clue what was going on. I would imagine it looked a lot like that scene in Armageddon where meteors are falling all over New York City and people are running screaming everywhere as cars explode and the top of the Chrysler building falls off. With baseballs and human bodies flying every which way (Albert played second? HUH???), it sounds like it was a sloptastic orgy of loosely organized chaos. So even though neither bullpen showed any functional utility as members of professional baseball teams, it's nice to know that any of these guys would make wonderful antagonists in the next Michael Bay movie.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Oh, Crap

I should know better than to go blabbering on about how excited I am over Redbird success. It is very obviously a hex of some kind.

After tying it up in the 8th, Prince Fielder just hit a two run shot off of Little Brad in the 10th and the Brewers have taken a 5-3 lead.


UPDATE: Aaaaaand that's a final. Fortunately, happy hour is only sixty minutes away.

So, wait...WHAT?

Holy crap. Holy FREAKING crap. As I write this, the St. Louis Cardinals are leading the Milwaukee Brewers 3-0 going into the 8th inning of the last in this three game series. Of which they've won the previous two. Deductive reasoning therefore suggests that the Cardinals are on their way towards sweeping the Brewers. Adding to that, the Birds were 11-4 going into this game and tied with Arizona for the best current record in major league baseball. I'm not even sure how to properly process this information. Am I dead?

Some highlights: Wainwright pitched 7 2/3 innings last night, giving up two runs on five hits in a 5-4 win. He also hit a solo home run and a single. He is apparently awesome at everything. Also, Ricky Ankiel forced a 1st inning, 17 pitch plate appearance into a walk. SEVENTEEN PITCHES. That is, I believe, a pretty solid at-bat. It should therefore be noted that he is ALSO awesome. Then, the Cardinals extended their collective awesomeness into Tuesday with a 6-1 win. According to the recap, "The Cardinals won with 12 hits, 11 of them singles, from eight different players. Seven different Redbirds either scored a run, drove one in, or both." Also, even though Braden Looper gave up five walks, he only allowed a single run. So even when he kind of sucks, he is STILL awesome.

In summary, to my complete and utter surprise, the Cardinals are winning lots of baseball games. I did not see this coming. However, in case I have not made it abundantly clear, this is...well, AWESOME.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Now THIS Is More Like It

Well you just KNEW something like this was going to happen. Things were going far too smoothly for there not to be some kind of mild catastrophe. Giving us a glimpse of the massacre that WAS the 2007 season, Joel Pineiro returned from the DL last night and promptly started to suck terribly. I think some of the Giants lineup actually started batting blindfolded just to make things interesting. After 3 2/3 agonizing innings, he had given up 10 hits (4 of which were extra base) and 6 runs. Welcome back, Joel!!!! Little Brad Thompson stopped riding his Big Wheel around the bullpen long enough to come in and stop the bleeding. He pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings, which at least gave Cardinals fans the illusion that the Birds were back in it. They weren't, of course, and ended up losing 7-4. Oh misery, how I've missed you!

It should be noted that the Cards actually ended up splitting the series with the Giants and ended up playing one of the more entertaining games this season on Saturday afternoon. After coming back from an early 5 run deficit, Jason Isringhausen managed to cough up a 7-5 lead in the bottom of the ninth, reminding me of how he sometimes makes me want to swallow my own arm. Enter the previously slumping Chris Duncan, who graciously smacked in what would be the game winning run in the 10th and made it possible for me to avoid guzzling a gallon of unleaded. After Albert Pujols' 4 RBI trouncing of Barry Zito on Friday night, I really can't complain much. The Cards are still 9-4 and a half game ahead of the Brewers to lead the division. But honestly, it just doesn't feel right if I'm not complaining about SOMETHING.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

This is Sort of Fun

Good grief, what's with all this WINNING? The Cardinals are alone in first place for the first time since the end of the 2006 season. And this team is supposed to be ABYSMAL. I'm so confused I don't even know what to do with myself.

Even more bizarre, is that EVERYONE appears to be contributing. The starting rotation isn't giving up 37 runs a game and the relief corp (including Anthony Reyes, who had another strong day yesterday) is doing a solid job of holding off the late inning surges. Ricky Ankiel leads the team with 3 homers and 8 RBIs this year, although Mr. Albert Pujols lit up last night with two homeruns against the Astros and will no doubt continue to carve a path of destruction through the rest of the season as long as he can stay healthy. Meanwhile, Troy Glaus, Yadier Molina, Ryan Ludwick and even Adam Kennedy are consistent threats at the plate. These guys have combined for 28 hits and 18 RBIs with the entire team collaborating to outscore their opponents 39-25. After nine games, the Redbirds have won seven and taken all three series.

You know...I'm rather enjoying this. I was completely unprepared for such early season satisfaction. What on earth do I do with all of this leftover sarcasm and bitterness? God knows I can't just start going around being nice to people.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Little Brad Is All Growed Up

I'm not quite sure what to make of Brad Thompson. I mean, it's really hard to take a pitcher seriously when he looks like he probably spends his weekends watching the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and picking on his eight year old sister. Anytime he plays well, I find myself utterly shell shocked. And when he doesn't, I just hope that the media is nice to him. (Leave the kid alone! He's so fragile and innocent!) I know this isn't fair. He is, after all, a fully grown man that has been successful enough thus far to justify his place in the starting rotation of a major league baseball team. But still. That youthful face belies his abilities, which now that I think about it, isn't such a bad thing. Maybe, like Braden Looper was last season, Little Brad Thompson will be a surprise weapon. After pitching 6 2/3 shutout innings against the defending National League Champions yesterday afternoon, he appears to be a surprisingly consistent and potentially dominant part of our rotation. At no point did he make me nervous or cause an increase in my heart rate. I'm telling you, I could get used to that.

Someone else that surprised me in yesterday's game was Anthony Reyes. First of all, he came in relief of Little Brad and struck out the first and only three batters he faced. Second of all, he came in relief of Little Brad. Since when is he in the bullpen? Apparently I need to keep a closer eye on our roster. Anyway, I don't know how that will work out in the long run, but it appeared to be an effective move yesterday. Honestly, it was just nice to see him pitch well, period. That should do wonders for his confidence. That flat-billed cap and goofy socks? Not so much.

Offensively, it was just more of what we've seen the past few days. By which I mean, Rick Ankiel and Troy Glaus consecutively finagling their way on base and tacking on back-to-back RBIs. Little Brad knocked in that very last run (his first RBI of the year), which probably made this the best day of his life, second only to the time he ramped over that really big pile of dirt on his Huffy and then bought a cherry dip cone with extra sprinkles. Which I think was actually on Monday.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

And So It Begins...

So, Opening Day has come and gone (and come and gone again) resulting in an inaugural St. Louis loss for the second year in a row. If we're taking that as an indicator of what's to come this season, we are in for a looooong year. Being the eternal optimist that I am, however, I choose to ignorantly believe that it's only going to be slightly more depressing then an episode of that show Intervention. (Which, by the way, is absolute NIGHTMARE FUEL. Why would I EVER want to see homeless people inject themselves with heroin?) What looked so very promising on Monday quickly evaporated when a monsoon blew through and washed away our 4 run lead, a Pujols homerun and 2 Ankiel RBIs. An almost certain win courtesy of Adam Wainwright was wiped from the books after three innings and postponed until last night. Then, despite seven shutout innings from Kyle Lohse, our lineup could not overcome the pitching legend that IS Kip Wells. He inexplicably allowed only one run off of a Yadier Molina homerun, beginning what is sure to be another season of him runing my life. And he doesn't even play for us anymore. ARRRGH!! ANYWAY, moving on... the bullpen then helpfully coughed up two runs in the eighth, which was in typical Cardinals fashion, the only offensive output our opponent needed to put our first notch in the L column. Oh, I know. I couldn't believe it either.

I was also disappointed that I didn't get to see the Zambrano Explosion on Monday. That big smug ass only gave up 3 hits and a single walk in his 6 2/3 innings before Kerry Wood came in and rendered that performance GLORIOUSLY irrelevant by choking up three runs in the 9th. That Kosuke Fukudome guy (who will from this point forward be referred to as Sucky Dome in an attempt to resist using a more obvious expletive based nickname. I'm mature!) made things exciting as he launched an Eric Gagne delight into the bleachers to tie it up in the bottom of the ninth. The game ended on a 10th inning Tony Gwynn, Jr. sac fly, which considered collectively is, I admit, almost as pleasing as the Zambrano Explosion itself. It's going to be the small things this year, people.