Diamond Diaries

Cardinal baseball, from the girls

Tag Archives: Blake Hawksworth

End of an Era

It has been a while since I’ve felt like putting together a post on baseball.  Life’s been crazy and there has not been a whole lot to talk about.  Yesterday however, the Cardinals made some moves.  Blake Hawksworth was sent to the Dodgers for Ryan Theriot (be expecting a Hawk-dedicated post from Ang any second now…) and in another move the Cardinals picked up a left-handed reliever, Brian Tallet.

Where does this lead me… to my Hot Stove hot button, Brendan Ryan.  If this is the first time you’re reading Cardinal Diamond Diaries, you should know…. Brendo’s a favorite.  If you don’t like BRyan, don’t bother reading the rest.  Fair warning?
Ok…. here goes… Girl rant ahead:
If you missed this article in stloday.com, let me hit the highlights – or rather, the absolute lowest of low points.  The scribes see the writing on the wall and are reporting that Brendan Ryan’s era with the Cardinals is nearing an end. Mr. Mozeliak and the front office are making it clear that Brendan is on his way out.
Ahem…. Excuse me while I find the words to express my frustration with Mr. Mozeliak and the Cardinals organization…
Okay, first let me get this out….
WHAT IN THE WORLD DO YOU MEAN: BRENDAN’S PERSONALITY ISN’T A FIT???!!!”
If Brendan’s loveable, quirky, heart-on-his-sleeve, boy-you-grew-up-with, hilarious, camera-hound, fun-loving and friendly personality is not a fit for the Cardinals then I am seriously wondering how I fell in love with this team.  Maybe I’m not a good match as a Cardinal fan?  Maybe I’m a bad judge of character.  But I loved the team with the goofy shortstop who made us laugh and cry and cheer through the season’s struggles.
Is the true nature of the organization starting to show up – like after dating someone long enough to finally see the true person behind the charade and you discover Mr.(or Mrs.) Right is really a jerk who is actually a slob when you aren’t around? Well, I fell in love with the Cardinals, and my heart is breaking to think it was all a figment of my imagination.  Give me heart and fire and honesty.  If that doesn’t “fit”the team, well….
Brendan has always been one of the main reasons I am glued to the television for every single Cardinal game. I know I’m not alone in that as I meet more and more Brendan Ryan fans.
Brendan isn’t a “fit” for the team??
Brendan’s Gold-Glove caliber defense, his amazing range, his spinning, jumping, and diving plays that put him at the top of all MLB shortstops defensively are something that the Cardinals don’t value?
One last time…The Cardinals are a ground ball pitching staff.  I know this because everyone says so.  Defense behind that type of hurler? It absolutely matters. Remember what it was like in those games when Brendan’s glove wasn’t in the game? It was ugly.
Why does it seem obvious to me that the hole in the middle infield defense was at second base?  Was Mo watching a different team than I was?    The Cardinals decide to fix the middle infield problem by replacing the best defensive shortstop?  Does that make sense?  Really??
I have no problem with this Ryan Theriot guy. In fact I am quite sure that I would love him – at second base.  I’ve read the various opinions, and yesterday Bernie Miklasz had some great info on the comparison of Brendan Ryan and Ryan Theriot.  Link here.
I wish Mo would let me in on the grand scheme.  Beginning with the Ryan Ludwick trade and continuing to this shortstop dump idea, I have absolutely NO CLUE what the Cardinal brass are thinking. In this Brendan situation – IF there had been an available player whose defense was great and whose bat was strong, then I may have understood and accepted the decision to upgrade. Instead I’m left wondering how this Theriot fella fixes the problem.
I am new at this baseball circus and I do know a lot more than I did just two years ago.  However I catch myself wondering how a gal who has followed baseball for only 4 or 5 years can feel so betrayed and frustrated by a series of moves made by baseball professionals and executives who are in this to make money and win?  Have I missed the big picture?  We are trying to win, right? If the Cardinal blueprint continues with this type of shuffling without major improvement, getting ‘veteran’ players past their prime and neglecting the potential of young, talented players in the process then I worry this team has bigger issues than just locking up the historical golden contract of Mr. Pujols.
Maybe I have blinders and cannot see the wisdom behind the madness.  Oh, I certainly hope that’s it.
But for now…
I am a Brendan Ryan fan.  I look forward to seeing him on the highlight reels in 2011 and winning his many future Gold Gloves.  The Cardinals would be crazy to give up on him now.  And I may be crazy for being a Cardinal fan.  Time will tell. ;)
Now, excuse me while I go kick the crud out of the Hot Stove…..

Oooof Course He Did…

 

Maybe he hurt his elbow taking this picture?
Photo by @CardsInsider

Fine: I’ll admit it. When I got home from work yesterday and the first thing I heard was that Adam Wainwright – my boy, my favorite – might be shut down before his last start of the season after sleeping on his elbow wrong of all things, my only reaction was to say ‘Of course he did!’ out loud, alone, standing in the middle of my apartment. At this point, nothing will shock me.

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane, shall we? I think we need to look at when all of our busted up boys were shut down…

May: Brad Penny pulls his oblique while hitting a grand slam. He is never seen from again.

June: David Freese rolls an ankle while running the bases. While rehabbing he drops a weight on his toe and breaks it. When he is finally sent out for a rehab assignment in Springfield during the first days of August he injures the same ankle rounding third bases. He has since had surgeries/procedures performed on *both ankles. Sheesh kid. They’re called ankle braces. My volleyball girls wear them. You make more money than them. Invest.

Good thing you’re cute… still, Erika’s calling you
‘Prince Boo-Boo Foot’… are you going to take that?
Photo from STL Post-Dispatch

August: Jason LaRue takes multiple shots to the face and head from the cleats of one Reds pitcher whose name is no longer mentioned within the confines of this blog. After suffering a severe concussion, the effects of which are still lingering over a month later, LaRue decides to retire from the game of baseball. His farewell posts have almost read like eulogies to me, so I don’t even want to link ‘em up for you (Sorry Erika…).

September: One year removed from Tommy John surgery, Jaime Garcia throws a career high innings total that eventually begins to catch up to him. Despite a very solid year in which he leads all rookie pitchers in pretty much every possible category, he was shut down by the team – not for physical issues, but as a preventative measure. I’m still on the fence about this one I guess, but I definitely will throw a ‘plays like a Cardinal’ tag on his locker for his plea to the powers that be to keep pitching after the premature announcement was made to the media for his abrupt end to the season before telling Jaime himself.

Ooooh the aching knees…
Photo by Scott Rovak

Also in September: Yadier Molina is a workhorse of a catcher. In the past two years he has caught more innings than all but two catchers in all of baseball. Squatting for minutes a day is no fun, so turn those minutes into hours and it’s pretty clear that Yadi’s knees have taken a beating. After being sent back to St. Louis for an MRI the announcement was made that Yadi’s kaput for the year as well.

More in September: On Saturday in Chicago Blake Hawksworth was smashed in the face by a line drive off the bat of a Scrubbie (oops, forgot I’m not supposed to take shots at the Cubs on here. Hi Grandpa!) and was immediately taken to the hospital. I screeched when I saw it happen, and my first thought was ‘broken nose’ because those just suck (Personal experience? Yes). Somehow Blake escaped with no broken bones, but around 30 stitches to his upper lip and face. Yikes! Needless to say, I will not be seeing Blake over the last week of the season.

September isn’t over yet?: Yesterday, as stated above, the announcement was made that Waino might be done for the year as well.

Please make it stop. There are only five of us here at the CDD, and we can only bandage so many boo-boos at a time. We love you boys and we want to take care of you, but we would really prefer that you take care of yourselves as well!

Of course, the announcement of Waino’s possible end of the season came as I was writing a Baseball Digest piece about him. Do me a favor and head over to read it anyway, would you? It’s called “Twenty Wins Is A Serious Number”… apologies, it was just too good a title to pass up! :)

i70 Launch Day

There might not be a Cards game today, but we still have some exciting news for you. Today is the launch of i70baseball.com! The site focuses on both the Cardinals and Royals, will have a weekly radio show starting tonight, and is an affiliate of BaseballDigest.com.

Why are we so excited about this new project? Because Erika and I will be contributing to the site on a weekly basis! Erika will have her first piece up there tomorrow, but I have a couple links for you already:

All-Stars At The All-Star Break: A look at all five of the Cardinal All-Stars that are on their way to Anaheim right now and how they perform from the first to the second half.

Surprising Frustrations: The Cardinal Players Of The First Half: Checking on who’s been up and who’s been struggling so far this season. Don’t yell at me about which All-Stars made the ‘frustrating’ lists – read first, then argue! :)

The Cards finished off a series win against the Astros with a W yesterday. Blake Hawksworth had his fourth consecutive outing of 5 or more innings while allowing 3 runs or less. Matt Holliday continued his hot streak by blasting a 3 run home run, and Jon Jay is carrying an 11 game hitting streak through the break.

For those of you interested in the Futures All-Star game that was played yesterday evening, Shelby Miller (Team USA) and Eduardo Sanchez (Team World) both appeared and had flawless outings, facing a total of 5 batters, hitting 95 MPH on the gun and getting 5 groundballs. Somewhere, Dave Duncan has a huge smile on his face!

Tonight’s All-Star festivities include the Home Run Derby (Go Holliday!) and the Celebrity All-Star Game. It’s not Cardinal baseball, but at least we’ll see a few St. Louis hats out there tonight, and with any luck, Ozzie Smith will be there and playing!

Short post today, because we want you to head over to i70 Baseball and check out what is already going on over there. We’re excited about the new project and hope you enjoy it!

All Star Musings on the Off Day

Most of the free world had yesterday off to continue on with their Fourth of July fun, so what better day for the Cardinals to have an off day, right? No, wrong. What’s worse is that the Mets couldn’t do us a favor and take a game from the Reds. Losing ground when you don’t play is no fun at all!

Speaking of the Reds, Erika spoke yesterday about the Cardinal All-Stars, and I think Joey Votto for the Reds got a raw deal by not being selected to the team. If you’re into that sort of thing, head over and vote for Votto to be the final player on the NL squad. I admit – I watch every second of the All-Star festivities and love it to death. No, the game doesn’t really mean anything, despite what MLB tells you about home field advantage. I don’t usually make comments on who is on or off the rosters, and I won’t even stand up here and argue that Jaime Garcia should be in or anything like that. I will say 3 things: 

  1. Ryan Howard over Joey Votto is a joke. I don’t really care that Howard is a St. Louis product – he’s crazy overrated, and the most annoying three true outcome player ever. You know that the managers don’t actually care about the outcome when Charlie Manuel states that he chose Howard just because it was ‘his guy.’ If he really cared he’d put the best players on. You’re not going to change my mind on this.
  2. I support Stephen Strasburg not being on the team. That probably contradicts what I just said about having the best players on, but they already are not pitching wise when the second best ERA in the league didn’t make the team. Yes, the second best ERA belongs to Garcia (fine… *honk honk*). Also, the NL squad has one lefthanded pitcher. AL squad? Five. Solid roster Manuel.
  3. I definitely support Albert Pujols not being in the Home Run Derby. He is tired of it, LaRussa hates it, and despite their denials of this, I hate what it does to Albert’s swing for the first week or two after the break.
This has probably been the least Cardinal centric post to ever appear on this site. Apologies for that, but I will make it up to you by rolling out a new post over at Baseball Digest. It talks about Cardinal teams in the second half under Tony LaRussa, and what we can hope to see for the second half. It was a labor of love for me, so please head over and check it out.

Blake Hawksworth has been officially announced as tonight’s starter for the Cards in Colorado. You might disagree with me, but I’m happy to see him getting sent out there over Jeff Suppan. Game time is 7:40 PM – Go Blake and go Cards! :)

Photo Thursday

Photos? We’ve got your photos!

The Cardinals kick off a four game set against those pesky Milwaukee Brewers at 7:15 PM tonight. This is the Cardinals’ third such series this year, with the boys going 1-3 in Philadelphia and sweeping the Braves at home. Go Cards!

In a game where a starting pitcher is pinch running,
you know something strange was happening!
Scott Rovak – US Presswire
…and happen it did! A pitcher pinch hitting and scoring
the winning run? Only the Cardinals!
Scott Rovak – US Presswire
2 home runs in one game? Just Albert being Albert
Scott Rovak – US Presswire
Is CC whistling? Can we get a video camera on this?!
Chris Lee – Post Dispatch
Get well soon David!
Love, the ladies of CDD
Chris Lee – Post Dispatch
‘Okay, well… uh… candlesticks always make a nice gift.’ (Bull Durham)
Chris Lee – Post Dispatch
If having Albert staring you down while you are warming up
doesn’t scare you into pitching well, nothing will!
Photo by Chris
Hawk pitching with determination on Saturday.
Charlie Riedel – AP Photo
Turning the double play and making it look easy
Charlie Riedel – AP Photo
Rrrrrreach!
Charlie Riedel – AP Photo

Technical Difficulties

Chris has a great post for today, but she’s having technical difficulties. Hopefully we’ll get it all squared away later this afternoon!

In the meantime, check out this story by Bernie Miklasz on the Cardinals’ suddenly older bench. Glad I’m not the only one speaking out on this (far from it).

Tonight’s starter?

Cards are out on the West Coast tonight at the late late late time of 9:10 PM CST. In a strange twist, reports are coming out that Blake Hawksworth will make the start. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a big fan of Hawk – but I’m confused as to why P.J. Walters is being tossed into the pen as a long reliever. Are we looking at a bullpen game?

The Rollercoaster Ride of May

A little late, due to some technical difficulties*

After having a terrific first month of the season, May was a little bit tougher to take. Losing a 5-game division lead? Swept by the last-place Astros while home at Busch Stadium? That struggling offense, and being shut out four times? Yes, it all happened – but as the month ended, the Cardinals were tied with the Reds for first place, heating up hitting-wise and on the plus side with a 15-14 record (and 30-22 overall).

It was definitely a month of extremes. The Cardinals scored their most runs of the season this week, with 12 runs against the Reds on Monday (May 31). But they also allowed their most runs of the season, 10, to the Angels on May 22. They had two 3-game losing streaks, May 4-6 against the Phillies (after winning the first game of the series) and the already mentioned sweep by the Astros May 11-13. The longest winning streak also was 3 games, May 1-3, although they did win 4 of the last 5 to end the month. And the hot streak the offense went on in those four victories (scoring 8, 7, 9 and 12 runs on 15, 11, 14 and 16 hits) definitely improved the stats for some familiar names who spent much of the month struggling.

So who helped make this rollercoaster month what it was?

Biggest Surprise
Dennys Reyes
He had a 0.00 ERA for the month (which actually was a surprise when I discovered it). In 14 appearances covering 10.1 innings, he allowed 2 hits, struck out 5, walked 6 and allowed no runs (earned or unearned). Another unrelated surprise I found while looking up these stats: he is 6-foot 3. He just always seems kind of, well, short and squat (and sweaty) when he’s out pitching. Maybe that listed weight of 250 is a little kind? All that aside, great month for the Big Sweat (see No. 6).

Other Surprises
Jason Motte
In 11 innings pitched during May, he only walked 1 and struck out 15. While his nickname is Mayhem, he wasn’t causing any this month.Brendan Ryan
The bar was set low since he finished April batting .179 (and it went down from there once May began), but Brendan finished the month batting .217. The May 27 game (where he went 4 for 4 with his first homer of the year) definitely helped. He also struck out much less in May: 9 times, compared to 19 in April.

Skip Schumaker
After a bad April for Skip also, he improved in May after being moved out of the lead-off spot. He had a .271 average for the month (compared to .212 in April) plus had 9 RBI, after only having 3 last month.

Biggest Disappointment
Colby Rasmus
We now know Colby needed new contacts but his May was definitely disappointing after being on of April’s biggest surprises. His average for May was .226 (compared to .323), he had only 1 homer (6 last month), he struck out 33 times (up from 22) and he walked 11 times (compared to 17). June is getting off to a better start, so let’s hope those new contacts really are the key to getting back to more April-like production.

Other Disappointments
Blake Hawksworth
Not a good month for Diesel either. (Maybe it was the disgusting looking chili and chili dogs he ate on camera in Cincinnati?) After not allowing a run during 9 innings in April, he allowed 12 earned runs in 11.1 innings pitched in May for a month ERA of 9.53. He allowed 4 homers, with 5 walks and an equal number of strikeouts.

Trever Miller
The man who handed out the nicknames (and still doesn’t have one?) didn’t fare too well in May either. He had a 5.14 ERA for the month, allowing 4 earned runs in 7 innings pitched — plus he hit 2 batters and allowed 2 homers.

Consistently Good
David Freese
His batting average wasn’t quite as good for May as April – .315 compared to .324 – but he had a better slugging percentage (.491, after .412 in April) and had 17 RBI compared to 14 last month.

Ryan Ludwick
He had the same batting average for May as he did for April, .291. He improved on his RBIs, with 16 compared to 10. Add to that the great catches he made in the outfield and it all adds up to another reason to celebrate Ryan Ludwick Appreciation Day.

Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia and Adam Wainwright
Can we call them the Cardinals “Big Three”? For May, they were a combined 9-4 with a 2.44 ERA.Surprisingly Not Disappointing
Albert Pujols
The end of the month definitely helped! (Or maybe it was Erika’s post?) While his average was only .291 for the month (after .345 in April), he finished with 20 RBI – one more than last month – and struck out 12 times compared to 14 in April. He had a pretty good day last Sunday too.

Matt Holliday
While he only had 1 home run compared to 4 in April and he struck out 17 times after 13 Ks last month, his other stats look pretty good. His batting average was .325 (.284 in April), he walked 13 times (4 last month) and he had 12 RBI (10 in April). Both he and Albert are continuing their hot streaks in the first few games in June, which is promising.

Best Game
May 30
Cardinals 9, Cubs 1

Albert breaks out with 3 homers, Holliday has 4 hits, all the runs score with 2 outs, Adam Wainwright pitches 7 strong innings – and all against the Cubs at Wrigley Field? Hard to top that.

Worst Game
May 26
Padres 1, Cardinals 0
There were a lot of bad losses to choose from, but this was by far the most frustrating. Adam Wainwright did all he could, allowing only 4 hits (including a homer to Jerry Hairston Jr. for the only run) while striking out 12 in 7 innings. The Cardinals actually had more hits than the Padres, 7 total, plus had the bases loaded with only one out in the first inning – yet were shut out.

Nicest Moment

P.J. Walters getting his first major-league victory on May 27 in San Diego.
Pitcher of the Month
Jaime Garcia
The Cardinals pitching overall continues battling the Padres for the best ERA in the major leagues, and Jaime Garcia is a key reason why. Our Rookie of the Year candidate was 3-1 in May with a 1.53 ERA, giving him an overall record of 5-2 and a 1.32 ERA (second in the National League).Player of the Month
David Freese
As mentioned above, the other Rookie of the Year candidate continued what he started in April and it made a big difference during this month’s offensive struggles.

After all that, we can be glad May is over, and that June is off to a good start. Hopefully this month will be a little bit less of a rollercoaster!

*The Geek Squad still has possession of my laptop, but tell me they were able to recover everything from it. Not that the original version of this post will help me much now! But it will be nice to get my laptop back (and working again), plus all of its contents, very soon.

Making Moves

We’re still new at this blogging thing, which is why I think this is the first time any of us have ever completely changed course after a game. My plan was to write about Aaron Miles, but that’ll have to wait for another day.

I crack up when pitchers hit big home runs. You never see them coming, and half the time the pitcher is just as surprised as you the fan are. Brad Penny, before last night, had not hit a home run since 2003! So forgive me for still being giggly when I saw the Fox Sports Midwest commercial break cut back to the game prematurely and players, Tony LaRussa and Barry Weinberg (the Cardinals trainer) are all wandering the field. That’s never good, and my euphoric feelings were flushed away when I saw Penny heading down the dugout steps.

Hurry back, man. (no pun intended… okay maybe pun intended).
Chris Lee, Post Dispatch

Lat strains are no laughing matter. All of my physical education and sport first aid textbooks from college (finally putting my PE degree to use) state that the less you the first responder are involved, the better. Strap the arm to the body in a sling and send ‘em in for an MRI. Injury expert Will Carroll, when asked how long Penny might miss, responded with this:

@miklasz Pitcher, so 4-6 is about right.less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone

Will Carroll

Safe to say the Cardinals are making a move. The immediate reaction was to put PJ Walters on a plane to St. Louis, and to that I say excellent. PJ has had a rough year in real life, but has had a very nice start to the season, so I was hoping he would be the one to get the call. The question I have seen is which pitcher gets shut down – Penny or Blake Hawksworth, who is nursing a sore groin that also troubled him in spring training.

First of all, yes I am being a Hawk apologist here to say that I’m glad there was a reason for his recent struggles. Despite his claims that the groin only bothers him when there are men on base and he quickens his motion to the plate – the fact is still there that it bothers him. He obviously needs to rest a few days and re-evaluate, which is what the Cardinals were planning to do this weekend with Monday’s looming off-day. However, I fully expect Penny to be the one that is shelved, assuming the Cardinals only make one move.

Should the Cardinals make a second call to Memphis for a relief guy? Glancing quickly at the Memphis stats, the only relievers that are standing out in any way are Rich Rundles (WHO???) and Oneli Perez. Josh Kinney and Rich Hill, our two in the Memphis pen with the most major league experience, have been less than stellar this year. Therefore, my answer is no – there should not be another phone ringing in Sacramento (Baby Birds are on the road right now) today.

Obviously the next two games could be a grind. With Kyle Lohse starting today, Mitchell Boggs and Jason Motte each going 2 innings and Trever Miller and Ryan Franklin as the only two that didn’t see action out of the pen last night, the pen is stretched. Now, thankfully Walters was scheduled to start today for Memphis. I imagine if Lohse has a rough game, Walters will get the call to mop up the rest of the innings, giving the pen a relative day off. Today’s game will be an interesting one to be sure, and we’ll see where we stand at day’s end.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: