Tag Archive | "Dennys Reyes"

The 10 Most Disappointing Cardinals Losses – Ten Through Six

On September 22, a rain delayed Thursday afternoon game, the Cardinals lost a heartbreaker to the New York Mets. Trailing Atlanta by just 1 1/2 games, the Cardinals were just three outs from closing that gap to just a single game, when a tired and perhaps over-used bullpen blew up, and the Mets won.

I70-baseball writer, Dathan Brooks, suggests that the loss is not the end of the season in his most recent article, If Ya Gotta Lose (And You Do), Lose That Game. We now know that the Cardinals also lost the following game to the Cubs, making it that much more difficult to win the NL Wild Card. With fans suddenly exiting the Cardinals bandwagon, I thought it might be interesting to look back at some other disappointing losses, to see if we can put that Thursday afternoon catastrophe in some sort of perspective.

With that as background, here are my top 10 Most Disappointing Cardinal losses.

10. July 6, 2010 – Colorado 12, St. Louis 9

August 2010 was one of the hardest months to be a Cardinals fan. It simply could not have ended soon enough. Agonizing loss after agonizing loss. Looking back a year later with more of an objective eye, this game in Colorado was really the turning point in the 2010 season.

The Cardinals had put runs on the scoreboard in four consecutive innings. Heading into the bottom of the ninth inning, they had a commanding 9-3 lead. All Dennys Reyes needed to do was get three outs. Reyes and Ryan Franklin could only retire two before a 3 run walk-off home run by Seth Smith sent he few remaining fans into a frenzy. Colorado would send 11 men to the plate in that inning, and nine would score.

But it didn’t end there. The next game would also end on a walk off home run. This time it was a solo blast off the bat of Chris Ianetta. Cardinals reliever Evan MacLane was making his major league debut, and the first batter he faced was Ianetta. For the next 11 days, MacLane’s ERA was infinity. The blame for this loss does not lie on MacLane’s shoulders alone because Trever Miller, Jason Motte and Mitchell Boggs combined to give the Rockies three runs in the previous inning. Once again, the bullpen could not hold a big lead late.

In the series finale, the Rockies would finish off the three game sweep – at least this time it was not a come from behind win.

9. June 9, 1999 – Kansas City 17, St. Louis 13

This was just a strange game. It went back and forth for the better part of four hours. The Cardinals would collect 18 hits, including home runs by Mark McGwire, Eli Marrero and Fernando Tatis. The score would be tied at 9 runs each as Kansas City came to bat in the bottom of the eighth inning. With one out, Scott Radinsky would put a pair of runners on base with a hit and a walk. Tony La Russa went to his bullpen for former Phillies closer, Ricky Bottalico. Bottalico would face 8 men, retiring just one. When the dust finally settled, Kansas City had a 17-9 lead.

To add to the disappointment of this game, the Cardinals would score four runs in the top of the ninth, but it wouldn’t be anywhere near enough to make up for the 8 they surrendered in the previous inning.

The 1999 Cardinals would fall to .500 with the loss, and all hopes for a post-season berth went with it. They would hover around the .500 mark for the remainder of the summer, until a September collapse made it a season to forget.

8. October 14, 16 and 17, 1996

Pick any one of these three games. These are the final three games of the 1996 National League Championship Series between the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals. Both teams had made a strong statement by sweeping their opponents in the divisional series, Atlanta defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Cardinals beating the San Diego Padres. The 1996 NLCS was shaping up to be quite a series.

Andy Benes and John Smoltz hooked up in the first game, and it was just as good as everybody had hoped. The game went into the bottom of the 8th tied at two runs each. The Braves took a page out of the Cardinals playbook when they played small ball to score two runs on an ineffective St. Louis bullpen. As many disappointing losses do, it started with a leadoff walk, and then two relievers later, Javy Lopez singles with the bases loaded, giving Atlanta a two run lead. Atlanta takes the first game.

A five run outburst in the seventh inning of Game Two would make a winner out of Todd Stottlemyre. As in the previous game, the big blow would come with the bases loaded. This time it would be Gary Gaetti with a grand slam off Greg Maddux, putting the game out of reach.

A pair of Ron Gant home runs off Tom Glavine gave the Cardinals the win in Game Three. Donovan Osborne pitched a great game, and a combination of Mark Petkovsek, Rick Honeycutt and Dennis Eckersley held the lead for the final two innings.

Game Five has one of the most unusual innings in any box score I’ve ever seen. If you didn’t know better, you would swear there is an error. Starter Andy Benes gets roughed up in the sixth, and three relievers later, his younger brother Alan comes in to finish the inning. With the Braves in control, and with a three run lead, Denny Neagle runs out of gas in the seventh. The Cardinals would score three runs in that inning, the big blow being a Dimitri Young pinch hit triple. Brian Jordan would give the Cardinals the game winner with a solo home run in the bottom of the 8th.

The Cardinals led the series 3-1, and had won the last three games. They had beaten the two of the best starters the Braves had, and had feasted on their bullpen. Just one game away from another trip to the World Series. But alas, that never happened.

It’s not that the Cardinals lost the final three games, it’s how they lost them. The once dependable starting rotation just couldn’t silence the Braves bats. And once Atlanta started hitting, it seemed like everybody hit. Atlanta would win Game Five by the score of 14-0, and that was not the worst loss. Game Six would be closer, but the Cardinals could not get anything started against Greg Maddux, and lose 3-1. The worst of the three would be in the finale, when the Braves score 15 runs in a Game Seven shutout. The Cardinals would be outscored 32-1 in those final three games. John Smoltz, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux were unbelievable in those three games.

7. May 30, 1967 – Cincinnati 2, St. Louis 1

This game was disappointing on three different levels. First, rookie starter Dick Hughes had suffered through a long rain delay to take a perfect game into the eighth inning. Three hits later, the Reds had a 2-1 lead. Second, and more important, it was how the game ended. A pair of singles by Orlando Cepeda and Tim McCarver put runners on the corners with no outs in the top of the ninth. Cepeda was the tying run, and McCarver the potential go-ahead run. Pinch hitter Phil Gagliano grounds out to short. Cepeda breaks late off third, once he sees that the Reds are conceding the tying run by turning the double play. But he is thrown out at home, completing a game ending triple play.

That brings us to the third level of disappointment, that win gave Cincinnati the series win and knocked the Cardinals 2 1/2 games behind in the National League. The team at the top – Cincinnati.

Fortunately, this game happened early in the season, and not in the final two weeks. It proved to be a test of character for a team, and it actually made them play harder. They would soon overtake Cincinnati, and despite losing two of their top starters to injury, the Cardinals would coast into the 1967 World Series.

6. June 23, 1984 – Chicago 12, St. Louis 11 (11 innings)

The Ryne Sandberg Game. As I-70 Baseball editor, Bill Ivie says, “it should have been known as the Willie McGee game”. But it isn’t.

This Saturday afternoon game at Wrigley Field was a national telecast. A big audience tuned in to see Willie McGee put on an offensive show as he would go 4-6 in the game. Those four hits were, in order: a three RBI triple, single, two run homer, and finally an RBI double. He would complete the cycle with that double, but he has to thank Ryne Sandberg for it. If the Cubs second baseman had not led off the bottom of the ninth with a solo home run, McGee never would have had the chance to hit the double. Sandberg’s home run tied the game at 9. To make matters worse, it came off Bruce Sutter.

Oh, we aren’t anywhere close to being done with Sutter and Sandberg.

That McGee double would give the Cardinals a 10-9 lead in the 10th. A pair of infield groundouts would score McGee for an 11-9 lead. Bruce Sutter is now working the bottom of the 10th for the win, instead of a save. He would again be victimized by Ryne Sandberg. For the second time in two innings, Sandberg hits a home run off the Hall of Fame closer, this time it is a two run shot. Are you kidding me ?

The Cubs would win the game, 12-11, when pinch hitter Dave Owen singles home former Cardinal, Leon Durham with the game winner.

As late as the sixth inning, the Cardinals led 9-3. Another Neil Allen meltdown and a pair of home runs by Ryne Sandberg overshadowed Willie McGee’s amazing day at the plate.

27 years later, it still hurts to think about this game.

Those are the first five of my top 10. And no, the Thursday Afternoon Disaster does not make the list. Do you agree or disagree ? Please let me know in the comments section.

Bob Netherton covers Cardinals history for i70baseball.com and writes at On the Outside Corner. You may follow Bob on Twitter here or on Facebook here.

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Theriot And Tallet

A night after I-70 Baseball Radio openly admitted that the lack of hot stove activity has both been frustrating and hard to overcome, the Cardinals became active in the market. One week prior to the highly anticipated Winter Meetings, General Manager John Mozeliak added a middle infielder and a left handed reliever to his roster, one via trade and the other via free agency.

In what seemed to be moments after the Dodgers had officially acquired former Giant, and Cardinal target, Juan Uribe via free agency, the Dodgers sent Ryan Theriot to the Cardinals in exchange for Blake Hawksworth. The Cardinals used the depth of right handed relief available in the organization to add some much needed insurance to the middle infield.

But did they get the job done?

Theriot, historically, is a lead off hitting shortstop who can also play some second base. He is a solid base stealing threat, an above average defender, and a solid on base threat. That is, historically speaking. Last season, Theriot patrolled second base primarily, saw his on base percentage drop, and was not as potent at the plate.

Can Theriot recover and be the lead-off hitter the Cardinals need to set the table? Does this trade mean that Brendan Ryan will be dealt at the Winter Meetings next week? John Mozeliak has already been quoted on twitter saying that Theriot is the team’s starting shortstop. Tony LaRussa, however, has stated that he believes there will be a competition in Spring for that position.

In another move, the Cardinals signed left-handed reliever Brian Tallet after his release from the Toronto Blue Jays. Tallet will assume the role left vacant by Dennys Reyes and join Trevor Miller in the bullpen this season. He held left handed hitters to a .176 batting average and four home runs last year, but struggled against right handers. He seems to be the type of player LaRussa works well with and will be a plus in the bullpen.

The Cardinals may have improved and may have just moved laterally. A lot will be told in Spring Training this year. Until then, the jury is out and I remain hopeful that there is something bigger on the horizon for the Cardinals.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
Follow him on Twitter here.

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Potential Free Agent Acquisitions For St. Louis

What a disappointing season it has been. One of the most frustrating of recent memory, and I don’t think I’m going out on a limb with that one. The roster has been battered with injuries and sub-par performances seem to be the norm with this team.

There’s no doubt Mozeliak will have his hands full this offseason, as it seems like the more games we play, the more needs we uncover. You know your team’s season is over when you start thinking about what needs to happen in the winter months, but unfortunately the season is over. It’s time to forget about the “mathematical possibilities” and start thinking about what this team is going to look like in 2011.

Upcoming Cardinal Free Agents

Jeff Suppan, SP
The only way he gets resigned is if the organization wants to bring him back for roster depth. His career as a starter in St. Louis are, without a doubt, over. Is he coming back? No.

Jake Westbrook, SP
I’m thinking the Cardinals could get him back for $7-9MM per year and I strongly believe they will do their absolute best to bring Jake back. He has proved to be a reliable, innings-eating starter. Is he coming back? Yes.

Brad Penny, SP
Considering his nagging injuries that have never really seemed to go away, Penny has become a very low-cost, veteran starting pitcher. He has said that he wants to resign with the team and that would happen for around $3-5MM per year. Is he coming back? Yes.

Pedro Feliz, 3B
There is no doubt in my mind that this will be his only season wearing a Cardinals uniform. Who knows, maybe it’s his last season all-together. Is he coming back? No.

Aaron Miles, INF
With veterans like Schumaker, Ryan, Lopez, and youngsters like Greene and Descalso, Miles is going to have a hard time fitting in. We all know Tony likes the guy, but it’s about time to get over that crush. Is he coming back? No.

Dennys Reyes, RP
The dude’s getting a little old, and his stats are really starting to inflate. His second half this season has been dreadful. Unless he signs a very cheap contract, I don’t see it happening. Is he coming back? No.

Randy Winn, OF
If LaRussa was making the Front Office decisions (let’s hope he isn’t), then Winn would sign a $60 million contract for the next five years. Is he coming back? No.

Felipe Lopez, INF
He brings instant depth, which is absolutely huge. Lopez has proved that he can handle nearly every position on the field (he even pitched in ’10) and that will really appeal to the club when they decide if they want to resign him for $1-2MM. Is he coming back? Yes.

Jason LaRue, C
This is just a real unfortunate situation for LaRue. Not only is he out for the season with an injury sustained when Johnny Cueto kicked him in the face, Jason is also 36-years-old. Catchers that are approaching 40 fast are not exactly in high-demand. And with the arrival of Bryan Anderson, and Pagnozzi and Hill in the Minors, there really isn’t a need for JLR. Is he coming back? No.

Mike MacDougal, RP
Ha! Well… not much to say here other than nope. Is he coming back? No.

Trevor Miller, RP
Miller’s case is a little different than everybody else. He has an option for 2011, so he can basically come back if he wishes. Now that he is 37-years-old, picking up the option seems extremely logical. Is he coming back? Yes.

Keep in mind that those are my predictions. I’m not holding out on you guys with any inside information, I’m just making simple predictions. If I am correct, we will be losing Jeff Suppan, Pedro Feliz, Aaron Miles, Dennys Reyes, Randy Winn, Jason LaRue, and Mike MacDougal to free agency. That obviously clears up some room on the roster, but here’s a view at what the depth chart looks like if my predictions are, in fact, correct. There obviously cannot be this many people on the roster at one time, I’m just previewing which players could contribute in 2011, and where.

Catcher – Yadier Molina, Bryan Anderson, Steven Hill*, Matt Pagnozzi*
First Base – Albert Pujols, Mark Hamilton*
Second Base – Skip Schumaker, Felipe Lopez, Daniel Descalso*
Third Base – David Freese, Felipe Lopez, Allen Craig*, Joe Mather*, Matt Carpenter*
Shortstop – Brendan Ryan, Felipe Lopez, Tyler Greene
Left Field – Matt Holliday, Nick Stavinoha, Joe Mather
Center Field – Colby Rasmus, Jon Jay
Right Field – Jon Jay, Allen Craig, Nick Stavinoha, Joe Mather

Starting Pitcher – Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, Jake Westbrook, Brad Penny, Lance Lynn*, P.J. Walters*, Blake Hawksworth, Brandon Dickson*, Kyle Lohse, Adam Ottavino, Evan MacLane*
Relief Pitcher – Kyle McClellan, Jason Motte, Fernando Salas, Mitchell Boggs, Ryan Franklin, Blake Hawksworth, Eduardo Sanchez*, Trevor Miller, Josh Kinney*, P.J. Walters*, Brandon Dickson*, Kyle Lohse, Adam Ottavino, Evan MacLane*

* denotes a Minor Leauge player that could make an appearance in St. Louis

Looking at all of that, I think there are three obvious holes that need to be filled. Third base is a no-brainier. I think it is unanimous that the Cardinals need help at the hot-corner. Freese will most likely be the Opening Day starter, and I have no problem with that, but the guy is way too fragile. It has been a problem throughout all of his career, and it has certainly hurt the team in 2010.

Another glaring weakness is the middle infield. Brendan Ryan, Skip Schumaker, and Felipe Lopez are not going to cut it. Looking back at the disappointing season I think fans are going to realize that the team simply did not have enough talent in the lineup to support a very impressive core. Billy Beane is a personal icon of mine, and I’ll take a page out of his book when I say that on-base percentage is the most important offensive stat. Schumaker, Ryan, and Lopez are the type of speedy infielders that typically have nice OBPs. Schumaker’s is .333 (31 points lower than his ’09 mark), Ryan’s is a horrid .282 (58 points lower than ’09), and Lopez’s is .311 (72 points lower than ’09). Cardinal Nation, I think that is pretty telling.

The only other area that I would like to see improve is right field. I know some of you have a crush on Jon Jay because he came to the big leagues and absolutely raked for a couple months, but if you look at the numbers you will see that he is starting to come back down to earth. In June and July Jay batted .442, which is pretty remarkable. Since then, he has an average of .244. Jon Jay is a very good, athletic outfield that shows a lot of promise. I really like the kid, but I’m not 100% sure we can rely on him as a starter. The Cardinals need to pursue a quality outfielder to platoon with Jay, or I’m afraid we’ll be scrambling at the trade deadline yet again.

My “Shopping List”

Willie Bloomquist, RF/SS/2B, 32 years old
This would definitely be interesting for the I-70 community, as Bloomquist is a former Kansas City Royal. He’s a veteran utility player that any manager would love to have. He has played all outfield and infield positions this season, so he would be able to help out the middle infield and Jon Jay. In Bloomquist’s lost four seasons, he has hit .270 while averaging 15 stolen bases. In 2008, he had a .377 OBP with Seattle.
Projected 2011 Salary: $1-2 million

Mark Ellis, 2B, 33 years old
I am a huge Mark Ellis advocate. If there is such a thing as playing the “Cardinal way”, Mark Ellis will demonstrate that more than anyone. He may be resigned, but the A’s have some young second basemen in there system so I would not be shocked if he’s let go. Ellis is a very good defender who is hitting .274 this season with Oakland. In his career Mark has averaged 14 home runs and 68 RBI (per 162 games), so he does have a little pop. Billy Beane has said that he has not made a decision on Ellis, and that he wants to wait until after the season.
Projected 2011 Salary: $5-7 million

Kaz Matsui, 2B, 34 years old
I know what you are thinking, but this actually isn’t as crazy as it sounds. He’s decent in the field but has had some very good offensive seasons. In 2004-2009 Kaz hit .271 with 57 RBI while stealing 28 bases (per 162). He’s coming off a very bad season in Houston, so he should come at a very low price. He’s your typical high-risk/high-reward type of infielder, but why not take a chance with him?
Projected 2011 Salary: $1-2 million

Cristian Guzman, SS, 32 years old
This past season it seemed like I heard Guzman’s name quite often as a guy that the Cardinals should acquire, so maybe he finally ends up in St. Louis in 2011. Like Matsui, he’s not great in the field, but has proved his worth at the plate. Guzman has led the league in triples three times and is a two-time All Star. Combining the past four seasons he’s hit .296, and in 2007 he had a .380 OBP. Per 162 games, Cristian averages 15 stolen bases and 54 RBI.
Projected 2011 Salary: $4-6 million

Adrian Beltre, 3B, 31 years old
How could I not include this one? Even though I don’t think there is anyway this move is made, I have to take a look at it. The main reason why I do not see this happening is because the organization loves David Freese. They think he is an All-Star caliber third baseman. If they truly believe that, why would they replace him? Not to mention, MLB Trade Rumors says Beltre will likely receive a $50M deal over four years. He’s had a great season and I would love to see him in St. Louis, but I would honestly be shocked to see it happen. Besides, his .342 BABIP this season indicates 2011 could be very disappointing.
Projected 2011 Salary: $11-13 million

Brandon Inge, 3B/C, 33 years old
How many times has Inge been a part of trade rumors involving the Cardinals? Detroit obviously doesn’t want him, and he’s fit into St. Louis perfectly, so what’s the harm? Inge has a pretty good glove and does just fine on offense. He’s having a .252 season with 11 home runs and 63 RBI. In 2006 and 2009 Inge hit 25+ home runs. The problem with Brandon is how often he strikes out.
Projected 2011 Salary: $6-7 million

Brad Hawpe, RF, 31 years old
Usually former Coors Field players make me cringe. If you don’t understand that, check out Carlos Gonzalez’s home and away stats for 2010. It’s a very simple fact that Colorado hitters can be a little overrated thanks to Coors. However, oddly enough, Hawpe’s numbers are that much better at home compared to on the road. In the past four seasons Hawpe has had at least 20 home runs and 80 RBI (including 29/116 in ’07). Even more impressive is his lifetime .373 OBP and two years of a SLG over 900.
Projected 2011 Salary: $4-5 million

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