Our friends over at 7th Inning Sketch send along a look at the Mets’ no hitter and what it means for the world.
Posted on 05 June 2012.
Our friends over at 7th Inning Sketch send along a look at the Mets’ no hitter and what it means for the world.
Posted on 21 October 2011.
Throughout the post-season, Tony LaRussa has been praised for his in-game strategy, and rightly so – on multiple occasions, his aggressiveness turned a game in St Louis’ favor. Every now and then, however, his moves backfire. Call it the law of averages catching up to him. It happened during the season, and it happened in Game 2.
Last night, the decision to remove Jason Motte with second and third and no out is the one that doomed the Cardinals. With Josh Hamilton due, LaRussa opted to go with Arthur Rhodes. Hamilton is suffering from a groin injury even he admitted would have placed him on the DL if it was earlier in the season. Hamilton is not a threat to drive the ball, and if he can’t turn his lower body he likely can’t catch up to a good fastball.
Rhodes faced him in Game 1, and after falling behind him 2-0 and 3-1, retired the 201o AL MVP on a fly ball to center. That fact alone should have given LaRussa pause. In Game 2, all the Rangers needed was a fly ball to tie the game. What the Cardinals really needed in that situation was a strikeout. Motte possesses the necessary hard stuff to get that strike out. And, with runners already in scoring position (having advanced as far as they could without scoring), Motte would just have to worry about the hitter and no baserunning. Motte seemed the better choice in that situation.
Obviously that’s not how it happened. Rhodes allowed a sacrifice fly to Hamilton, and the runner on second (Elvis Andrus) advanced to third. Lance Lynn came in and allowed a sacrifice fly to Michael Young, scoring Andrus. The Rangers won 2-1. Given that the Cardinals were three outs away from a 2-0 lead in the series, this was a tough loss to take.
But all is not lost. This series is far from over. If this Cardinals team has proven anything over their past eight weeks, it is that they are resilient. The last devastating, season-ending loss St Louis suffered happened on 22 September against the Mets. I’m sure you remember – St Louis blew a 4-run lead in the ninth and lost that day 8-6. The lost the next day too; then won four of their last five to finish the season.
If they close like that over the next 5 games they win the World Series.
One other thing to consider. Perhaps this World Series had to go this way. St Louis has hosted the first two games of the Fall Classic seven times (including this year). In every other year – 1982, 1964, 1946, 1944, 1942, and 1931 – they split the first two games at home. Every other year they had home field advantage, they eventually won the World Series.
Tony LaRussa will learn from his Game 2 mistakes. The team will rebound. There are at least three games left, and anything can happen.
Mike Metzger is an I-70 contributor and life-long Cardinals fan watching the Fall Classic from the edge of his couch. He writes Padres Trail, a San Diego Padres blog. Follow Mike on Twitter @metzgermg.
Posted on 23 September 2011.
If you’re a numbers person, it’s becoming less and less complicated to see what needs to happen in order for St. Louis to break through. Of course, the Cardinals fate will be determined in large part, by the Atlanta Braves, which isn’t an ideal situation for the redbirds. Going into Friday’s action, if the Cards win 4 of their last 6, and the Braves lose 4 of their last 6, game #163 between the Cardinals and Braves would be in St. Louis (presumably on Thursday). A win or loss here or there one way or the other, and you can probably figure out how things shake out. But, as I’ve said for weeks now, the Cardinals have to win their games, which is the only part of the equation they have any control over anyway, and hope other teams can help them out along the way.
Which brings me to Thursday’s loss to the Mets. What a disappointing way to lose a baseball game, huh? If you missed it, New York put up a serious number in the 9th to come back from a 6-2 deficit, and win the game 8-6 over St. Louis. In ways, it was remnant of so many other games we’ve seen out of this team in 2011. Hold the opponent to one run through the first 7 innings, and give up 7 runs in the last two innings. A really nice outing by Jake Westbrook was wasted, and the redbirds slipped to two games behind Atlanta in the Wild Card race.
The Cardinals had won 12 of their last 14 games, with 7 left to play as they headed into Thursday’s matinee. Winning 12 of 14 hadn’t happened for this team in a long, long time. Expecting to win 19 of the last 21 would be something that even the most optimistic Cardinals fan would have a hard time with. So, you have to figure the Cards were going to lose at least one more time this season. With Atlanta having the day off, I’d submit that they timed their loss quite well.
It still shapes up very favorably for the Cards if they can capitalize, and win their games. Atlanta is trying to give them the Wild Card spot for the postseason, and if they don’t take it, they’ll have no one to blame but themselves. THIS, my friends, will be an exciting weekend in Cardinal Nation!
Posted on 26 June 2011.
The recent release of Miguel Batista brings back memories of a similar situation facing the St. Louis Cardinals in 1985. Trading Neil Allen to the New York Yankees was one of the turning points for a team that would go on to win 101 games, and take the Kansas City Royals to the seventh game of the World Series.
Prospect to closer
Neil Patrick Allen was a tall right hander that was drafted out of high school by the Mets in 1976. He progressed quickly through the minor league system, making the jump from A to AAA in a single season. A strong showing in spring training combined with a nearly complete overhaul of the Mets starting rotation earned Allen a spot on the Mets 1979 roster, initially as a starter.
It did not go well in the beginning for the 21 year old. He had a good fastball, but it was his curveball that made your, and opposing batters, eyes pop out. Unfortunately, the control he had shown in the minors didn’t make the trip to the major leagues with the rest of his equipment. Falling behind in the count and an increasing walk total took away one of his best weapons, that nasty curveball, and what was left in his arsenal was quite hittable.
The Mets would lose his first five starts and Allen would fail to get beyond the sixth inning in all of them, including one hook after retiring just two batters (and giving up three runs). With an 0-4 record and rapidly escalating ERA, the Mets moved Allen to the bullpen instead of sending him back to the minors to work on his command. That turned out to be a good decision as Allen turned things around. It was a struggle at first, but after coming back from a short stint on the disabled list, Allen turned in a solid season in relief. In the 38 games after coming off the DL, Allen would post a 6-5 record with 2.07 ERA and 8 saves, with only one blown save. The Mets were on to something here.
Over the next three seasons, Allen would establish himself as the closer for the Mets, initially sharing those duties with Jeff Reardon. Allen would save 59 games over those three seasons. The Mets thought so much of Allen as their closer, they traded away Jeff Reardon early in 1981 in a deal with the Montreal Expos to acquire Ellis Valentine. Reardon would go on to save 367 games in his career, many of those coming with the Expos.
Not only was Allen doing a good job closing out games for the Mets, he was also the life of the party away from the stadium. At some point, the celebrating and good times turned into a problem, and it spilled onto the playing field in 1983.
By mid June, the once dependable closer had a 2-7 record with an ERA he hadn’t seen since those first few starts in his rookie season. He also disclosed his alcohol problem to the team. While the Mets front office took some time to find a solution, one suddenly presented itself in St. Louis – one that was too good to pass up.
Drug and alcohol problems were widespread in baseball at the time, but it seemed to be a particular problem in the St. Louis clubhouse. In 1981, then general manager, Whitey Herzog, cleaned house of the over-paid and under-performing stars as he retooled his new team into champions. He was about to do it again, but this time it was in an effort to clean up the team, and its image. It would take Herzog several years to complete the overhaul, and it all started with one of the most popular players on the team, Keith Hernandez.
On June 15, 1983, the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals completed a deal sending Gold Glove winner and former NL MVP, Keith Hernandez to New York Mets for Neil Allen. From the moment the deal was made, fans were against it. Memories of Steve Carlton for Rick Wise and dumping Jose Cruz to the Astros were still fresh in the minds of Cardinals Nation, and this trade was as bad, if not worse, than those. Things could not have worked out better for the Mets and Hernandez. It was quite the opposite for Allen and the Cardinals.
The pitching problem for the Cardinals was in the starting rotation, not the bullpen, so that’s where they would put Allen. And he pitched well initially, although the fans were clearly not on his side. With every pitch, all we noticed was George Hendrick playing first base instead of Keith Hernandez. Every ground ball that got through the right side of the infield or any runner stranded by the heart of the Cardinals batting order became another black mark on the Cardinals career of Neil Allen.
To put it simply, Neil Allen was doomed from the moment he put on a Cardinals uniform. It was totally unfair, and it hasn’t happened very often in the history of the franchise. But it did happen to Neil Allen, and the two years he spent in St. Louis must have seemed like an eternity.
Back to the pen
Allen would spend most of the remainder of 1983 in the starting rotation, posting a solid 10-6 record with a modest 3.70 ERA. His control had returned somewhat, and there was reason to be optimistic about 1984.
The emergence of Danny Cox in 1983 meant that the Cardinals could best use Allen’s talents in the bullpen, as a setup man to Bruce Sutter, filling the long relief spot as needed. He could also jump into a spot start, should the schedule require it.
He got off to a terrible start to the 1984 season, allowing runs in six of his seven outings. Somehow, the Cardinals managed to score enough runs to make him a winner in one, and he was able to pick up holds, albeit rather shaky ones, in two others. After a long rest, Allen seemed to return to the form we had seen in 1983. May was a solid month for the young right hander, but as the calendar turned to June, he started giving up runs in bunches. Thanks to a couple of big innings from the Cardinals bats, Allen ended up posting a positive record of 9-6. His strong May and July helped him keep his ERA down to 3.50, slightly better than the previous year.
A brutal start
Then came the 1985 season.
For most Cardinals fans, it was a magical time. Vince Coleman would burst on the scene and electrify huge crowds with his base running. The Cardinals defense was one of the best in the game. And the pitching. Oh, the pitching. Joaquin Andujar started the season, looking like he might reach 30 wins. John Tudor’s turnaround in June, posting the best summer of pitching since Bob Gibson’s in 1968.
The odd man out was Neil Allen. And his troubles started in the first game of the season. The date was April 9, and it would happen in the city where he broke into the major leagues, New York.
Neither of the two starters, Joaquin Andujar for the Cardinals and Dwight Gooden for the Mets, were sharp. Andujar would only last five innings, Gooden six. The story was the two bullpens, and they were very good.
With the Mets ahead, 5-4 in the ninth, Doug Sisk, in his third inning of relief, got into trouble. A single, hit batsman, and another infield single loaded the bases with just one out. Sisk struck out Terry Pendeton, but a bases loaded walk of newcomer Jack Clark tied the game at 5. The turning point in the game was not the bases loaded walk, but the Cardinals failing to score more than the tying run. That would come back to haunt them in a few minutes.
Neil Allen would take over for the Cardinals in the bottom of the tenth, with the score still tied at 5. He would strike out Keith Hernandez, which had a certain touch of irony to it. Gary Carter would send the huge Mets crowd home in a frenzy when he launches a Neil Allen pitch deep into the left field seats for a walk-off homer.
History would repeat itself two days later. In the second game of the season, Ron Darling and John Tudor hooked up in one of the best pitched games of the season. Each would surrender a single run, and neither would be around when the game ended.
As in the season opener, the game would go into extra innings. In the bottom of the 10th inning, Andy Hassler would give up a single to Keith Hernandez. Whitey Herzog went to his bullpen, calling on game one loser, Neil Allen. Allen faced three batters, retiring none of them. A single and intentional walk would bring up Danny Heep with the bases loaded. Allen would walk Danny Heep, forcing in the winning run.
And this was not the low point in Allen’s 1985 season. That would come in just a few weeks.
Finding new ways to lose
On May 1, the Cardinals would battle the Los Angeles Dodgers for 12 exciting innings. Danny Cox and Orel Hershiser would each allow a single run in the first inning, and nothing but goose eggs after that. In the twelfth inning, Ken Landreaux would lead off with a double. Neil Allen, in his third inning of relief, would get a strikeout and groundout. With Landreaux now on third base, Allen was one pitch from getting out of trouble. Unfortunately. he would be called for a balk before that pitch could be delivered, and Landreaux scored the eventual winning run.
That was the day that Allen’s Cardinals career ended. But not the last day he pitched. And it got ugly. Real ugly.
Unlike in April, where Allen rebounded from those two extra inning losses in New York, there was just more of the same in May. And June. In the fourteen games he would pitch for the Cardinals after that balk, the Cardinals would lose 13 of those games. Whitey Herzog was afraid to use Allen in games where the Cardinals held a lead, no matter how large.
Does any of this sound familiar ?
As the All Star game approached, Herzog and general manager Dal Maxvill huddled to determine what they would do. The Cardinals lead in the NL East was small, and Allen was using up a valuable roster spot. The Cardinals could not afford to eat the remainder of Allen’s $750,000 contract, but they might have to do just that.
In a moment of brilliance, they decided to showcase Allen, putting him in very low risk situations, mostly blowouts, but showing his value as a long reliever. They took a gargantuan gamble on June 11, giving him a spot start in Pittsburgh. Maxvill and Herzog held their breath as he took the mound, and got totally shelled, giving up 7 runs in less than three innings of work. Gutsy call on Maxvill’s part – unfortunately it didn’t work.
The turning point
Allen would not see any more work in June. In the past, Allen seemed to rebound from a long rest, and that’s just what he got. After missing 19 games, Allen appeared next in early July. In three appearances, he didn’t allow a single run and that was good enough for the New York Yankees, who had a sudden bullpen need.
On July 16, the Yankees bought out the remainder of Neil Allen’s contract, and his Cardinals career came to an end. Two years, one month and one day.
The deal worked out well for both clubs. Allen’s roster would be filled by Joe Boever, who proved to be an upgrade from Allen’s recent performance. The bullpen became significantly better when a young right handed flame thrower by the name of Todd Worrell was called up from Louisville just before the post-season eligibility deadline. What was once a liability suddenly became the strength of the Cardinals roster, and late inning leads were now safe.
The Yankees got more than they expected in Neil Allen. In 17 appearances, he would post a 1-0 record with an ERA of 2.75, the best of his career. He would also tack on one save and two holds. More important, he didn’t blow a single save chance in those 17 appearances.
Just before the start of the 1986 spring training, the Yankees traded Allen to the Chicago White Sox. The tall right hander started out the season in the bullpen, but moved into the starting rotation in early May. In a reversal of his rookie season, he proved to be magic for the White Sox as a starter. He would win his first four decisions, and finally post a 7-2 record. Of particular note were a pair of complete game shutouts in July, the second being against his former team, the Yankees. Arm troubles would cut short his season in July. He would miss more than two months, returning for one final start at the end of the season.
A rough start to the 1987 season would lead to his release in August. The Yankees would pick him up one more time, and he pitched well for them again, at least some of the time. It is during this second time with the Yankees that Neil Allen pitched one of the strangest games in baseball history. It is certainly one that doesn’t look right in the record books.
The date was May 31, 1988. The Yankees were in Oakland to play Tony La Russa’s Athletics. Starting the game for the Yankees is Al Leiter.
Carney Landsford leads off the game by hitting a hard line drive that deflects off Leiter’s pitching arm. The Yankee’s lefty scrambles for the ball and throws wildly, allowing Landsford to take second base. Leiter is injured on the play and unable to continue in the game.
Neil Allen is brought into the game to replace Leiter, and he pitches the game of his career. He retires the next 19 batters, giving up a single to Jose Canseco with one out in the seventh inning. Allen would allow just two more Athletics base runners, a two out single by Ron Hassey in the eighth, and a second single to Canseco, this one with two outs in the ninth. Along the way, Allen would also strike out five while walking none. Because he recorded all 27 outs, Allen was given a shutout for his effort. But, he didn’t face all of the Athletics batters, so he did not receive a complete game.
Throughout all of these seasons, Allen’s battles with alcohol would continue, mostly in private. It would reach a low point with the Cleveland Indians, while on a rehabilitation assignment in the minor leagues. After a particularly nasty drinking binge, a friend gave Allen a Breathalyzer test, and the results were quite sobering. He was nearing the toxic levels of alcohol in his blood, and if he continued this behavior, he would not survive.
That was the last drink Allen took and he soon checked himself into a substance abuse clinic. He managed to get his life turned around, and even returned to the major leagues for a pair of appearances in September 1989, but those would be the last of his career. He would retire from baseball after an unsuccessful comeback attempt with the Cincinnati Reds in 1990.
A happy ending
Fortunately, the Neil Allen story has a happy ending. After a short break from baseball, Allen returned to the game as a pitching coach for the Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays. He has coached at just about every level, including some time in the major leagues as the bullpen coach for the Yankees. Allen is now the pitching coach of the Durham Bulls, the AAA affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.
Posted on 22 June 2011.
There are few names that cause a hush to fall over a group of long-time Cardinal fans the way this one does. Eyes glaze over momentarily. Conversation comes to a pause. Thoughts turn to memories of that day. Eventually someone murmurs that they never would have seen it coming.
No one did.
June 22, 2002. The Cardinals were in Chicago to play the Cubs in a matchup of division rivals. As gametime approached, the stadium was buzzing with confusion. Warmups were not going as planned. Whispers throughout the stadium wondered what was happening.
“I thank you for your patience. We regret to inform you because of a tragedy in the Cardinal family, that the commissioner has canceled the game today. Please be respectful. You will find out eventually what has happened, and I ask that you say a prayer for the St. Louis Cardinals’ family.”
Players left the field. Fans quietly filed out of the stadium. No one knew what had truly happened. No one could understand. Slowly news spread. Even slower came reasons. The answers never came for the question on everyone’s mind.
In 1987 the Houston Astros selected Darryl Kile in the 30th round. While obviously a low-end pick, Kile nevertheless fought his way up the ranks, breaking into the majors in early 1991. During his first career start he had a no-hitter through six innings before being pulled. His career in Houston was bright, making his first All-Star team in 1993 and pitching a no-hitter against the Mets in September of the same year. A few years later in 1997 Kile went 19-7, again making the All-Star team, and making the postseason with the Astros.
After that ’97 postseason appearance, Kile signed as a free agent with the Colorado Rockies. As many pitchers found out, pitches in Colorado don’t do the same things they do in other parks (pre-humidor, that is). Kile’s pitching suffered dramatically, and his two years in Colorado produced ERA’s of 5.20 and 6.61. His career was spiraling, until he was traded to the Cardinals.
As one of many that felt the apparent healing powers of pitching coach Dave Duncan, Kile’s career felt a resurgence wearing the birds on the bat. In 2000, his first year in St. Louis, Kile was the first 20 game winner for the Cardinals since John Tudor and Joaquin Andujar in 1985. Over the next few years he emerged as the team ace, shepherding several of the younger Cardinal pitchers and being a strong leader both on the field and in the clubhouse.
Darryl’s wife Flynn, twins Sierra and Kannon, and youngest Ryker, were all fixtures at the ballpark, from Family Day on the field to a little catch pregame in the clubhouse with father and son. His family was important to him, and they were held in high esteem by the Cardinals community. The Kile’s were close friends with Matt Morris and his family, among others.
On June 18, 2002, Darryl Kile strode off the mound in Busch Stadium to a standing ovation. He had pitched 8 strong innings, giving up only one run against the Anaheim Angels. The Cardinals won the game 7-2, and with that win, took over sole possession of first place in the National League Central. Sadly for the Cardinals, the joy of victory was short in lasting, as news spread that night about Hall of Fame broadcaster and longtime voice of the Cardinals Jack Buck’s passing away. The team all wore patches for the rest of the season bearing the initials JFB (as seen on Kile’s sleeve in the above picture).
It was a great victory for the team, a sad loss for Cardinal Nation, and the last victory of Darryl Kile’s career. Four days later, Kile did not show up to Wrigley Field on time for the day’s game. Teammates began to wonder. Messages were sent. Calls were made. The news finally broke – Darryl Kile had passed away in his sleep of a heart attack.
The game that Girardi had tearfully informed the Wrigley faithful about being cancelled was made up over two months later, on August 31. Jason Simontacchi was the starter, and looked visibly emotional throughout the game. Kile had been a teammate, a supporter, and a friend. The team added a second patch to their jerseys, and a matching symbol on the wall in the bullpen of Busch Stadium.
The Cardinals seemed to be a team of destiny. They overcame so much, dealt with emotional trauma, and yet responded with resiliency. After their fallen ace pitched them into first place, they never looked back, and the team finished as the winners of the Central Division. As the team ran onto the field to celebrate their division clinching win, rookie outfielder and third baseman Albert Pujols grabbed a hanger from inside the dugout to take with him into the celebration. He eventually handed it off to teammate and best friend of Kile, Matt Morris.
Kile’s jersey never left the dugout throughout the rest of 2002, and his locker remained untouched for years. The Cardinals did not want to forget their teammate and friend. His fans never will.
To find my memories of this story, head over to Diamond Diaries.
Angela Weinhold is an executive editor and covers the Cardinals for i70baseball.com. She also writes writes for her own site Cardinal Diamond Diaries. You may follow her on Twitter here or follow Cardinal Diamond Diaries here.
Posted on 04 November 2010.
The Kansas City Royals began what promises to be a modest off-season shopping spree by claiming infielder Joaquin Arias off the waiver wire.
Arias, 26, had been a backup infielder for four seasons with Texas before being traded, along with cash, to the Mets for Jeff Francoeur last season. He’s a career .276 hitter, playing mostly as a backup, and has yet to hit a major league home run.
Arias projects to be a solid middle-infield backup for Kansas City, mainly as the second-string shortstop behind Yuniesky Betancourt.
With the acquisition of Arias, the Royals now have a full 40-man roster. The team would have to make a move to free up a space if they wish to participate in December’s Rule 5 draft.
Matt Kelsey is a Royals writer and the content editor for I-70 Baseball. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Posted on 24 October 2010.
“Well if the Cardinals are all that great, why do they keep losing to the Royals like they did in the World Series?”
I had no reply. I never bothered to come up with one. It was at this point in the conversation I realized that this was going nowhere, so I should just change the subject or find some other way to move on.
I was actually born one year to the day after game 7 of the 1985 World Series. By the time I was old enough to really follow the team and know what was going on, the ‘Whiteyball Era’ was long over, and the only two names that I really knew of from those glory days were Ozzie Smith and Willie McGee. In my house, Ozzie was a legend, and McGee a villain.
Yes, you heard me. I thought Willie McGee was awful when I was little. It is not my fault – that is how I was raised. Actually, everything about my upbringing was strange if the topic is baseball. Despite the fact that I grew up about an hour north of Kauffman Stadium and have never actually had a permanent residence within 300 miles of Busch, I was always a Cardinals fan. I actually had no idea that I was in the wrong until I was 7 or 8 and some well-meaning adult asked why I was a Cardinals fan instead of Royals.
“Who are the Royals?”
I knew my Cardinals, and I knew that the Cubs, Braves and Mets were enemies, but at that point, there was not enough time in the day to figure out who the Royals were and why I should care. That mindset changed once interleague play started in 1997. Suddenly the Cardinals and Royals were squaring off once or twice a year and I had a reason to go with my family to that place in Kansas City known merely as ‘the K.’ It was also around then that the 1985 series first entered into my life.
I never disliked the Royals. Just to appease friends I told them that when we went to Royals games I could be a Royals fan as long at the other team was not wearing the birds on the bat. But the minute they mentioned 1985 I bristled, and eventually that question came back. Why didn’t the Cardinals win the 1985 series? A casual inquiry (this was before I really got into baseball history – it was enough for me to know all the players in the starting lineup back then) led me to “The Call,” and for a few years I actually was convinced that one blown call had literally lost the World Series for the Cardinals back then.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. I know that now. Back then I obviously had no clue. I can claim ignorance, because who is going to yell at a 12 year old girl who was living and dying with every game in the present? I was already an enigma, and people were impressed that I knew the roster and could follow along with a scorecard. They were not about to fault me for not understanding something that happened before I was born.
I figured it out after reading Wizard, an autobiography of Ozzie Smith. The call was in Game 6, and there was no reason for the team to roll over and play dead in Game 7. The series was winnable, but the Cardinals lost. It happens. However, understanding 1985 was not helping me in the early 2000s when I was living in Royals territory and trying to singlehandedly defend my boys’ honor against all my friends. They knew the Royals stunk, but they had 1985 to hold over my head, and I had a string of playoff appearances but no titles since that fateful year.
In 2006, I was in college. I no longer lived in Royals territory, and no longer talked to most of the people who gave me so much crap when I was growing up. Right when I had something to rub their faces in…
Posted on 26 July 2010.
The Cardinals have Monday off then will travel to New York to take on the Mets for three games and return home to take on Pittsburgh for a 3 game series. As always the Cardinals have plenty of fantasy value and it will continue this week.
Albert Pujols might have a career low batting average right now but all other numbers are very productive. He still ranks towards the top in all of fantasy. Do not even think about sitting him. As always, Pujols should be active in all formats. Matt Holliday continued his hot hitting last week by ending it with a 11 games hit streak. There seems to be no slowing down for Holliday now. In July he is batting .314 with 7 home runs, 19 RBI’s, and scoring 12 runs. Another bonus for this week, Holliday is batting .571 against Pittsburgh and New York this season. He is an elite outfielder and should be active in all formats.
Colby Rasmus has done little to get back into the swing of things since returning from injury. Since the All-Star break, he is hitting .107 with 0 home runs and 1 RBI. Rasmus is healthy now and will have to hit his way out of the slump. Overall season numbers are still above average but until he starts to hit like he was pre-All-Star game, sit him and monitor production. Once he starts to produce, he should be active in most formats. Ryan Ludwick has returned from the disabled list. I would hold off activating him right away. Most likely he will not get a full week of action. Ludwick is a streaky hitter so monitor his production this week. Jon Jay will most likely take away at bats from Rasmus and Ludwick. The way he is hitting the ball, Jay will find more at bats. If you need batting average help, Jay should be activated in NL only or deep mixed leagues as long as he continues to hit the ball like he is now.
Adam Wainwright has a record of 14-5 with an ERA of 1.94 on the season. There has been no pitcher better in July. He is 3-0, with an ERA of 0.31, 22 strikeouts, four walks, and has given up one earned run in 29 innings pitched. Be looking for a possible two start week since Tony La Russa has mentioned he might move him up a day to give Jaime Garcia an extra day of rest. Wainwright is an elite fantasy pitcher and should be active in all formats. Chris Carpenter is scheduled to pitch Saturday against Pittsburgh. His last appearance against the Pirates he struck out eight, walking none while allowing two earned runs over seven innings. Carpenter continues to pitch deep in ball games and should have be active in all formats. Jaime Garcia is scheduled to pitch Tuesday against New York and to be a two start pitcher. As mentioned above, that could change with Garcia moving to Wednesday. He has continued to be a viable fantasy starting pitcher this season. Garcia is 2-0 in July while allowing five earned runs and striking out 20 in 22 2/3 innings pitched. Continue to monitor his productivity for signs of fatigue. Garcia should be active in most fantasy formats. Ryan Franklin has continued to be solid all season. His ERA is currently 3.28 and he still has not allowed an earned run since July 6th. Franklin has converted 18 of 19 save opportunities. Since he plays for one of the best team in the majors, there should be many save chances to come. Keep him active in all formats.
Fantasy Minor League Profile of the week:
Carlos Matias is the Minor League Profile of the week. He was signed this season during the International Signing Period. Matias is currently a starting pitcher in the Rookie Dominican Summer League. He may not be in the official Minor Leagues right now but is worth mentioning if Cardinal fans do not know who he is. Matias maybe small at 6 foot 165 pounds but can bring the heat with a 99 mph fastball. If you are in a deep keeper league, I recommend picking up Matias now even though he is at least five years away from the Major Leagues.
Posted on 15 July 2010.
Now with that being said we will take a look at what the Lee to Texas deals means to the rest of the league and more importantly the two teams in Missouri. If Lee would have gone to the Yankees, the trade season could have ended right then and there. But now that the Yankees have missed out on their biggest target, more trades are sure to follow. It is safe to say that the Yankees will still be in the trade market for another pitcher even though they are publicly saying they were only after Lee. Even if the Yankees are telling the truth the Rays, Tigers, White Sox, Twins, Phillies, Mets, Cardinals, Dodgers and Reds all kicked the tires on Lee. This means that there are still a bunch of teams going after the main targets left on the market which are most likely Roy Oswalt, Ted Lilly, and Dan Haren.
Oswalt has a very short list of teams that he is willing to go to so that basically leaves most of the league now bidding on Haren followed by Lilly. This means two things for fans here in Missouri. If you are a Cards fan it means that the trade market just got more expensive because teams with trade chips have more leverage and because the Yankees did not get their guy in the first round of bidding. The good news in St.Louis is that Lee went to the Rangers and not the Reds, Phillies, or Dodgers. The Lee trade could also mean that teams like the Cardinals now feel like they now have to move down to the second or third tier players that are on the trade market.
If the Cardinals move down the trade list the amount of top end talent they will have to give up will lessen. This in my mind is the best scenario for the team because a rental player seems like a reach for a team that is struggling to stay in the wildcard hunt.
If you are a Royals fan the Lee trade is a great thing because the dark horse team won the auction. All of the teams that were said to be the favorites to get Lee lost out. If nothing else the fact the Yankees, who pay their infield more than the whole Kansas City roster, lost something has to feel good.
It also means that every pitcher that the Royals have just got a little more value added to them on the open market. A player like Kyle Farnsworth now looks like a better option to teams needing pitching help but have realized that a starting pitcher will cost too much in a trade. Players like Brian Bannister and Bruce Chen also are now one step higher on the talent ladder thus demanding another prospect be added to any deal. The last ripple is that some teams might turn their focus away from pitching and on to on base base guys like David DeJesus and Jose Gullien.
In the end the Lee trade has made life on the trade market a little more difficult for the Cardinals, while only increasing the value of the chips that the team across the state in Kansas City has on the table.