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"Things Are Sliding"

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  • "Things Are Sliding"

    i woke up to this in the post-dispatch this morning:

    Irked by a lack of urgency, Cardinals center fielder Jim Edmonds said Sunday that "things are sliding" within a club that absorbed its sixth shutout in a passive loss to the San Diego Padres.

    "There's no reason why we can't score a run here and there off any given guy at any given time. If things aren't working, we've got to change them. We need to figure out why they're not working and make an adjustment," said Edmonds, who is dealing with a slow start following two off-season operations and a truncated spring training. "We just can't keep coming up with lame excuses day in and day out why we're not winning."

    La Russa and numerous hitters were riled by an impotent attack against Padres waiver claim Justin Germano.

    The postgame clubhouse has become a ritual. Starting pitchers are asked about pitching with little run support and try to cite their own responsibilities without pointing fingers.

    La Russa, for one, was in no mood to assign blame to Sunday's starter, Anthony Reyes, who remains winless while receiving the least run support of any major-league starting pitcher. "I definitely worry about it," La Russa said about Reyes potentially becoming overwhelmed by a record marred by poor support. "He's really kept it together so far."

    La Russa has voiced concerns about starting pitchers consistently working with no cushion. Reyes has received eight runs in seven starts.

    "It's sad that we send a young guy out there and not give him anything to work with," Edmonds said. "We've just got to somehow snap out of this. It's getting a little bit old, and we're all to blame."

    The Cardinals did not accept a walk Sunday against a pitcher whose seven-inning outing was the longest of his career.

    Reminded that this team used to make relentlessness its trademark during 100and 105-win seasons in 2004 and 2005, Edmonds said flatly, "This is a different team."
    the entire article by joe strauss is here.

    and larry borowski had this great post over at viva el birdos:

    did you know the cardinals have hit 1 homerun --- one --- in the 12 games since josh hancock died? did you know they've averaged only 6.3 hits per game over that span? only 1.1 extra-base hits a game?

    the cards haven't hit well at any point this season, but before hancock died the offense was merely struggling. now it's asphyxiating. the cardinals scored an average of 3.5 runs a game in the 23 games before hancock's death; they've averaged 2.4 runs in the 12 contests since. more details of the sad before-and-after:

                      G  R  HR AVG OBP SLG 
    cards thru 4/28   23 81 16 .249 .310 .360 
    cards since 4/28   12 29  1 .203 .281 .243

    before hancock died they had been outscored by a run a game (81-104); since then, they've been outscored by almost two runs a game (29-55). before he died, the cardinals' batting line was almost indistinguishable from their opponents':
                           AB  H  2B 3B HR AVG OBP SLG Base Runs 
    cardinals thru 4/28   780 194 33  3 16 .249 .310 .360 89 
    opponents thru 4/28   784 193 34  8 21 .246 .312 .390 99

    the only meaningful difference was that opponents had outhomered st louis by 5; the cards were 10-13 in that stretch, a pretty accurate gauge of their performance up to that time. now compare the lines since hancock died:
                            AB   H 2B 3B HR AVG OBP SLG Base Runs 
    cardinals since 4/28   374  76 12  0  1 .203 .281 .243 27 
    opponents since 4/28   401 103 28  1  9 .257 .322 .399 55
    they are getting their brains beat in. they're defenseless. in half the games since hancock died, the cardinals have lost by 5 runs or more; in the other half they are 5-1. they are quite literally hanging on by their nails. but how long before that tenuous grip finally breaks?

    after their first game post-hancock (a 7-1 loss to milwaukee), i mused: "the cardinals already were unsure of themselves before [hancock's death] happened, already equipped with thin reserves; i'm sure we'd like to see them 'dig down deep' or whatever the cliché is, but there isn't a lot of depth to mine." to my eye, the cards' discouraging effort in the month of may is very obviously a direct consequence of what happened on the next to last day of april. let me be clear about this: i'm not trying to make excuses for the team, nor suggesting that we should accept lifeless play because the team is grieving. i'm merely trying to understand what's happening --- trying to understand why a team that was struggling but still battling in april can now be so easily beaten. we're not supposed to talk about it; the cardinals don't want pity, nor even sympathy. but i think --- speaking without pity, without sympathy; just stating what i see --- that whatever sense of resolve the cardinals carried into the season got kicked to the curb on april 29. these are tough guys, mentally tough --- tough enough to win game 7 vs the mets last year, and to come back against clemens in game 7 of 2004; tough enough to survive, 1 out from elimination, and make the astros earn their pennant in 2005.

    but man, do they look tired. they look weary. edmonds is right; it's not the same team.

    here are some other slice-n-dice statistical oddities of the season:

    -the cards now stand 1-9 in "revenge" games --- that is, games against teams they beat in last year's playoffs (mets, padres) or against starting pitchers they chose not to re-sign (marquis, suppan). in those 10 games they have scored 13 runs (or 1.3 per game) to their opponents' 51; they're getting outscored by nearly 4 runs a game. three revenge games vs the tigers loom this weekend . . . .

    -corollary to the preceding: the cardinals have a winning record in non-revenge games (14-11), despite being outscored 97-108 in those games.
    against opponents that, as of today, have a winning record, st louis is 2-12; they have been outscored 70-29 in those games, an average deficit of 2.9 runs.

    -against opponents who currently stand at .500 or below, the cards are 13-8 --- again, despite having been outscored in those games (81-89).

    -in games where they have allowed more than 2 runs, the cardinals are 2-20. that's not a typo: 2 wins, 20 losses when they allow more than 2 runs. they're 13-0 when they hold the opposition to 2 runs or less.

    -in the 7 games started by anthony reyes, the cardinals have hit .178, slugged .205, and scored 8 runs; only 4 of those runs scored while reyes was still in the game. they have produced just 4 extra-base hits (3 doubles and a homer) in his starts. in all other games, they are batting .247 and slugging .351.

    reyes didn't pitch great yesterday, but as always he contained the damage and kept the team within striking distance. and that's all the cards are hoping to do at this point --- contain the damage, stay in the game, keep it close enough that they still have a chance.
    Last edited by hubkittel; 05-14-2007, 11:00 AM.

  • #2
    here's the bullet points (quoting strauss and borowski):
    • a lack of urgency
    • things are sliding
    • passive
    • we've got to change
    • lame excuses
    • impotent
    • pointing fingers
    • no cushion
    • we're all to blame
    • this is a different team
    • it's asphyxiating
    • sad
    • getting their brains beat in
    • defenseless
    • hanging on by their nails
    • unsure of themselves
    • there isn't a lot of depth to mine
    • they look weary


    • #3
      Reading this makes me sad. You are the World Series Champions! Tuff times for the Cards I guess.

      I was just peepn' out the St. Louis board since you are in MoTown this weekend for IL play. I am flabergasted at the lack of participation and naysayers I have found here.

      You are the World Series Champions of 2006!

      Good luck Ya'll
      Still a long suffering TIGERS fan


      • #4
        Originally posted by malt-tones View Post
        Reading this makes me sad. You are the World Series Champions! Tuff times for the Cards I guess.

        I was just peepn' out the St. Louis board since you are in MoTown this weekend for IL play. I am flabergasted at the lack of participation and naysayers I have found here.

        You are the World Series Champions of 2006!

        Good luck Ya'll
        Remember that the Cards only won 83 games last year. They did get hot in the post season and it certainly was fortunate that everyone was healthy at that time, but I thought that the 2006 Cards were the weakest team to make it to post-season that LaRussa's had since he's been here, with a possible exception being the 96 club.
        It Might Be? It Could Be?? It Is!


        • #5
          Originally posted by 64Cards View Post
          Remember that the Cards only won 83 games last year.
          that's the thing that everyone is forgetting. putting aside the postseason, the cards have been playing sub .500 baseball for a year now. i went on vacation this time last year and the cards didn't win a single game while i was gone. and that was the beginning of a slide that continues to this day.

          yes, they caught lightning in a bottle and we are the world champs. to think that we don't appreciate that is not accurate. however, we're also realistic enough to see what's going on with the team. those of us who watch this team on a daily basis understand the extent of the problem. we love our team, we root for our team, we have hope that things could turn around. but we know bad baseball when we see it and we're not a bunch of kool-aid drinkers who are going to say things are great when they're not.

          we celebrated our championship. we revelled in it. but this is 2007 and, to quote bob dylan, 'things have changed'.


          • #6
            I have always appreciated the Cardinal fan base and their excellent knowledge of baseball. You are also great people who know what hospitality is. I am a Braves fan, but I wish you all a great season. You have certainly had some rough spots recently, but I believe you will overcome this adversity.
            Good Luck.


            • #7
              Things will come around. It's still very early.
              Bleeding Cardinal Red since 1985
              In the stands for every home playoff game since then -- 2006 and 2011 were well worth the wait!


              • #8
                i certainly hope things turn around and believe that the potential is there for it to happen. if it's going to happen though, it needs to happen now. the cards have the pirates, the nats, and the rockies over the next ten days and they're going to have to make hay against the weak sisters of the league if they want to right the ship (how's that for mixing metaphors ).

                the danger is that some of the guys may have already given up on the season. the rumours are that once carpenter went down, the mood in the clubhouse really got dark and defeatist. it's possible that tlr has lost the team. it's likely that the players view him as a lame duck. the front office is divided. the organization is adrift. the team needs to play about 20 games over .500 from this point to get to around 88 wins and the playoffs.

                the interesting moment is going to come in july when, if this team continues to struggle, the decision has to be made whether the team dumps players at the trade deadline and who those players will be.


                • #9
                  We now have the lousiest rotation in baseball and a batting order that frightens few pitchers. I won't even mention our extraordinary slowness afoot.
                  Kiss this season goodbye.


                  • #10
                    Detroit feasts on the Cards

                    Originally posted by musial6 View Post
                    We now have the lousiest rotation in baseball and a batting order that frightens few pitchers. I won't even mention our extraordinary slowness afoot.
                    Kiss this season goodbye.
                    I would concur..but but totally..The Cards are a lot better than the record shows--at the moment..but when a team gets in a losing groove, it sorta snowballs..just look at 06's Indians..when it went south, it got far in 07, the Tribe looks awesome..and give the tigers a run..this season..

                    as for the recent series, the Cards look flat and listless..and the Tigers
                    literally pounded on them...except for one game..Even Leyland, was sad that his old friend-was taking it on the chin..

                    I guess the next few weeks, could dicate what direction this team will go..

                    or perhaps having a ' fire sale ' and starting there any thing at AAA, or AA ?? and the team's brain trust, needs to focus what they need to return to the elite..

                    gotta be not much fun, watching a favorite team swoon....hang in there
                    Cards fans....


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by skeletor View Post
                      The Cards are a lot better than the record shows
                      there are two ways to look at it.

                      if you want to say that, based on past history, the cardinals should be better than their record indicates, i would agree. if pujols, rolen, and edmonds simply were having average years (for them) at the plate then the cards, regardless of their pitching woes, would have a better record.

                      however, based on how this team has played so far, this team is not better than their record indicates. in fact, they have out-performed their numbers. their pythagorean win-loss record is 13-28 while their actual record is 16-25. you can look at that and say that they're three games better than their stats indicate. in reality, those three games really don't statistically mean much and, therefore, you can say that the cards are simply as bad as their record shows them to be.

                      pre-season statistical projections showed that the cardinals would have problems scoring runs. i don't think anybody realized how nightmarishly accurate those predictions would be. the cards are currantly last in the league in runs, hits, triples, home runs, rbi, and stolen bases. they're 15th in the league in slugging% and doubles. they're 14th in the league in on base %.

                      gotta be not much fun, watching a favorite team swoon....hang in there Cards fans
                      it makes for a long, hot summer in stl when the cards are losing but, in the end, it's just a game and life goes on. nobody's throwing themselves off the eads bridge. we just keep repeating to ourselves "we're the defending world champs, we're the defending world champs, we're the defending world champs..." it helps ease the pain.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by musial6 View Post
                        We now have the lousiest rotation in baseball and a batting order that frightens few pitchers. I won't even mention our extraordinary slowness afoot.
                        Kiss this season goodbye.
                        Agreed. Pujols will come around, but injuries may be catching up to Edmonds and Rolen. I wouldn't be surprised to see them try to unload some big contracts in mid-season, but I don't know who would be interested.
                        It Might Be? It Could Be?? It Is!