Cardnilly doesn’t like the 2006 Cardinals, or so he says before leaving town in the midst of a horrific losing streak. He thinks we should cast off some deadwood after the season’s run its course without elaborating what that deadwood is.
I like the team. I like the risks the front office took in the offseason. I like that we’re not bloating our salary. I don’t want to root for a NL Yankees. The 2006 Cardinals are a good baseball team and I’m proud to support every man on the roster. (Except for perhaps John Rodriguez but I’m trying hard to get over it. And Timo Perez for the sake of irrationality.)
First, some news. The Redbirds won last night, 5-1. Lefty Chris Narveson, who had a nice profile at the Cardinals site yesterday, earned the win. How wild would it be to have him in the rotation next season? A home-grown lefty starter. Possible 2007 rotation:
Carp Mulder Reyes Narveson Suppan
Skip went 3-4 to bring his average up above .300 again. No walks, though. Since Schumacher has been (wisely) removed from the leadoff spot, he’s stopped working counts as religiously as he had been before, when he’d been taking strikes for the sake of it. Hopefully that’ll translate into more aggressive and productive at-bats and the walks will come when pitchers avoid him. If he can get a good hot streak going, I’d be mighty happy to see a roster move like:
Brad Thompson to Memphis for Josh Kinney or Brian Falkenborg
John Rodriguez to Memphis for Skip
Did anyone notice that Micklasz has settled his sights on Kinney to save the bullpen. I suggested calling him up for the Cubs series at the beginning of June in a series of roster moves that didn’t happen, obviously. I’m not thinking that Kinney is going to be our savior by any stretch, just to let him know that the organization is impressed with his work.
Oliver Perez was demoted to AAA yesterday. Hopefully Tom Gorzelanny pitches as sickeningly good for the Pirates as he did for the AAA Indians and the Pirates decide Perez is expendable. I’d like to see what he could do as a Cardinal.
Well, since Cardnilly’s off in the old lands and so not around to preview the series versus the Royals, I’ll put on his shoes and do a subpar Royals Preview:
Duckworth was bought from the Pirates AAA Indians earlier this month and has made three starts, none of them lasting through the sixth inning. He’s a 30 yr-old groundball pitcher with good control and a slight reverse platoon split. The Cards are batting .355/.432/.526 against him and based on the limited exposure Cardinals batters have had against him while with the ‘Stros and Phillies in years past, we essentially don’t have enough spots in the lineup to fill with guys who’ve hit him well. For example: Molina’s 2-3 vs. Duckworth and Bennett’s 1-6 with a home run. With Soup Can pitching, I imagine we’ll start Bennett. Spiezio’s 3-4 and the Gooch is 2-3, so who knows who’ll start in left. Those are good problems to have.
The Royals lineup is .283/.337/.380 against Suppan. Only catcher John Buck has taken one yard against Jeff. He’s caught Duckworth’s last two games, had Thursday night off, and has a fairly hot bat–so ought to be in the lineup. It’ll be interesting to see how he faces for the first time his former teammates, Grudz and Sanders.
The Cardinals are .358/.412/.587 against former A/Pirate lefty Redman. Everybody hits him well, notably Eckstein (14-28, 2b, 3b, 2 HR, 2 BB) and Molina (4-7, 2b, HR, BB). Spiezio will probably be in left.
It’s fortunate that the Cardinals can hit Redman, because the Royals have hit Ponson almost as well to the tune of a .319/.395/.522 line. He’ll need to be careful with Matt Stairs, and would have had to watch out for Mark Sweeney, were he not on a rehab assignment. It’s Ponson’s game to lose.
With 29 ABs’ worth of exposure, the Cards have put up a .276/.371/.310 line against Mike Wood and in 46 ABs the Royals are .239/.300/.261 against Marquis. Looks like a decent small-ball pitching matchup and a fine opportunity for Jason to bring down his HR/9 rate. This will be my first game at the new stadium—I’ll be sitting in the fancy-pantsed Mark McGwire box, eating nachos and pounding ice-cold, frosty Budweisers that are included with the ticket price. I figure I can make a profit if I pace myself a bit.