Cardinal baseball, from the girls
Tag Archives: Jason LaRue
|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!
Wow. First, I cannot believe how long it has been since I’ve blogged here. My last post was in July?! A lot has happened – including our week-long blog hiatus while we Diamond Diaries gals met up in St. Louis to watch our boys plays some ball. Fun trip. Absolutely amazing! I finally met Angela and Chris in person -plus a few other great Cardinals fans we knew from our Twitter baseball watch parties. The trip was wonderful even if the Cardinals gave up two games to the Astros and the devastating news broke that our hop-a-long hotcorner David Freese would have season-ending surgery to rebuild his ankle. But enough about that….
MLB’s disciplinary actions targeted 5 players and both team managers:
With one glaring exception, I found the penalties acceptable. MLB made a point with the managers, and 4 of the 5 players did not deserve anything worse. Johnny Cueto was the only player in the melee who went berserk – violently kicking Chris Carpenter in the back and Jason LaRue in the head and ribs with his spikes, leaving Jason with a mild concussion and stitches in his lip. Cueto’s actions were reprehensible and thankfully LaRue was not more seriously injured. In my opinion, this was where MLB dropped the ball. Cueto’s repeated thrashing of his spikes at the heads and bodies of players posed such risk to every player in that mobbed backstop that I believe he should be jailed for assault.
The Cardinals won much more than a sweep in this past series against the Reds. Their bond as a team is now iron-clad. Conversely, the Reds lost more than just these 3 games and 1st place in the NL Central. Cincinnati may now be playing as a team divided. With proud former Cardinals Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds in Reds’ uniforms, Brandon Phillips’ comments make him an unpopular teammate, and Johnny Cueto’s conduct was a disgrace.
And if you happen to be looking for more baseball reading, I wrote a story for i70baseball earlier this week about Surviving August Baseball. You can check it out here.
In sweeping the Reds, the Cardinals provided the heroics and dominated the villainous antics of the Reds to take a one-game lead in the NL Central. The series featured a familiar cast for anyone who’s read Buzz Bissinger’s classic “Three Nights in August”: Tony La Russa, Dusty Baker, Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds. Yet the drama and intrigue provided during these two nights and an afternoon went far beyond anything that happened during that pivotal August 2003 Cubs-Cardinals series.
Of course the main antagonist is well known by now: Brandon Phillips. The desperate-for-attention statements he made Monday provided him with the media attention he apparently craved, but also united the Cardinals as a team in a way we haven’t seen all season. Yes, the Cards have played with spark and energy at times – such as in April and during July’s eight-game winning streak – but these three games were different and more intense, particularly when they discovered what Phillips had said about them.
Yet even before the Cards knew how they’d been disparaged, they were on a mission during Monday night’s game when the combination of scoring seven runs in the fourth inning and Chris Carpenter’s pitching brought them victory.
Tuesday night, Yadier Molina played like a true Cardinal: standing up to Phillips’ shallow attempt to play nice after his words were blasted everywhere, and then hitting his most memorable home run since game seven of the 2006 NLCS. (The fact that Reds fans booed him the rest of the series, just like Mets fans still boo him today, proves how monumental the homer really was.) Jaime Garcia was able to rise above the literal fray that happened as he was ready to pitch and provided a solid performance that led the Cardinals into a tie for first place.
Yesterday the Cardinals completed their statement to the Reds and moved to a season-high 15 games over .500, thanks especially to birthday boy Colby Rasmus and Adam Wainwright. Waino further enhanced his Cy Young qualifications, moving into a tie with Ubaldo Jimenez for the league lead in wins with 17 and lowering his ERA to 1.99 (just above current leader Josh Johnson’s 1.97). His numbers for this month are astounding: three wins, one earned run allowed in 23 innings pitched for a minuscule ERA of 0.39, one complete game shutout (and he was certainly on track for another yesterday until the rain came). And those are only through Aug. 11!
His numbers weren’t the only impressive ones of the sweep. Matt Holliday hit .636 (7 for 11) during the three games and had four RBI. Including his Monday grand slam, Skip Schumaker hit .455 and had five RBI. Colby drove in six runs during the series. Yadi hit .417 for the three games, plus had a stolen base on Tuesday in addition to his homer. Jon Jay hit .385. Albert only hit .274, but his four walks definitely had an impact (particularly the intentional ones). Pitching-wise, the bullpen bounced back from last week’s struggles and turned in admirable performances. Fernando Salas especially deserves mention for his 1.2 innings pitched Tuesday night.
It was, by far, the series of the season.
Now, after a 4-1 road trip, the Cardinals return home and enjoy a day off today. Fittingly, after such an impressive sweep, they take on the Cubs this weekend for one night and two afternoons in August. (How can this really be the Cubs first time in St. Louis this season?) With Chicago currently in fifth place, the action won’t necessarily be as important as that August 2003 series – but it is still the Cubs vs. Cardinals, after all. And that always means something.
Now for a few chick comments …
Thanks to Twitter, Erika and I discovered we are not alone in our fascination with the now clean-cut Jason LaRue. His pre-game interview on Fox Sports Midwest to discuss his battle wounds from Johnny Cueto’s unbelievable form of fighting drew plenty of complimentary tweets yesterday morning. (There’s something rugged about seeing those stitches on his lip too, right? In addition to that scruff …) Hopefully Jason will be healed up very soon and, more importantly, hopefully Cueto gets the punishment from MLB that he definitely deserves. If you didn’t have the chance to see Jason’s interview, it’s available here.
In addition, the dugout shots of Jason and his fellow wounded warrior Chris Carpenter sitting side by side Tuesday night were great. When Dan McLaughlin mentioned that the two had just been shown on the kiss-cam at Great American Ballpark and Carp obliged by kissing his pal on the cheek, my immediate reaction on Twitter was where’s the footage of that? My sentiments were not unique, I was happy to find out, although we unfortunately never did see video or a photo of the moment. And I wonder how the camera operator in Cincinnati felt following the kiss? My guess is that person purposely chose Carp in hopes of getting some negative reaction from our fiery ace. So way to go, Chris, for smooching your buddy and showing your softer side to the Reds crowd. Your intensity not surprisingly returned when you were discussing the fight following the game (you can see his reaction on the Fox Midwest link also), and we once again saw the literal and figurative hot Carp who we love.
Photos: top, Gary Landers, Cincinnati Enquirer; bottom, New York Post
Well, how about that month of July? Wow. It’s like the Cardinals were two different teams – playing, as Bernie Miklasz described it on Twitter during that 13-inning game against the Mets, bipolar baseball. The Good Cards were definitely more fun to watch, while the Mediocre Cards were just frustrating.
Record-wise, the Cards definitely were good: 15-11. A big part of that win total was the Good Cards 8-game streak, the longest since winning 9 straight in 2004, which began the Sunday before the All-Star break and continued through July 21. Before the All-Star break, the Mediocre Cards were definitely taking the field nightly. We don’t want to remember much of that, given that the sweep at Colorado was part of it. And right after the 8-game streak ended, the Mediocre Cards reappeared again – and even were shut out in back-to-back games for the first time since 1995.
And it’s interesting when the Good Cards and the Mediocre Cards tended to appear in July. The Cards record at home for the month was 11-3 – including 7 of the 8 wins of the streak. On the road – traveling to Colorado, Houston, Chicago and New York – they were 4-8. Ouch.
It wasn’t necessarily only the team that was Good and Mediocre – Chris Carpenter exemplified that trend perfectly in July. He had his worst start of the year July 3, allowing 7 earned runs in the 3 innings pitched. The start after that, he gave up 4 earned runs in 6 innings. Then he headed to Anaheim as an All-Star and, though he didn’t pitch during the game, he’s certainly pitched like an All-Star ever since: two 8-inning outings where he allowed only 1 run, a 7-inning outing against the Cubs where he allowed 3 runs and his start Friday night where he pitched 8 scoreless innings. Thankfully, though, Mediocre Carp seems to have faded away. Let’s hope the same can be said for the Mediocre Cards.
The Cardinals started July 1 1/2 games behind the Reds and ended the month a half-game ahead of them and in first place. Let’s hope the Good Cards continue what they started this weekend, with the offense being so productive.
So who helped make the Good Cards and Mediocre Cards have the kind of July we went through?
We knew he was having a terrific month, and he hit .431 in July with a .500 on-base percentage and .647 slugging percentage. He’s hitting .383 overall. And he’ll continue to play regularly now, thanks to the (unfortunate) trade of Ryan Ludwick to the Padres at the trading deadline. So, yay for Jay!
Although he was the losing pitcher in the 11-inning loss to the Phillies to end the 8-game winning streak, Kyle actually had a great month. He allowed only that one run – via a homer by Placido Polanco – in 14.1 innings pitched over 12 games. His ERA for the month was 0.64.
Although he gets mentioned more for the clean-cut look we all approve of, the back-up catcher hit well during his limited playing time in July. He had a .385 batting average with a home run in 7 total games.
Trading Ryan Ludwick
Yes, it still stings. Luddy, we already miss you!
While his numbers aren’t bad, they aren’t Albert-like and he began August with a .299 batting average. His average for July was .267, his worst for any month this season, and he also had a season-low 11 walks for an on-base percentage of .333 (also a season-low).
Although he had 4 saves, he allowed 6 earned runs in 10.1 innings pitched for the month. Yes, those runs all came in one particular game we’re all trying to forget … but Ryan still had a 5.23 ERA for July.
He made his Cardinals debut against the Mets on July 28, picking up the win in the 13-inning game with a scoreless inning. He pitched 3 scoreless innings in 3 games at the end of July, allowing only 1 hit. And, based on Twitter, there are plenty of us who are willing to take him out for some pasta and help him gain a few pounds!
Cardinals 5, Dodgers 4
When the lineup was announced, everyone basically wrote this off as a loss – no Albert, no Yadi, Jeff Suppan pitching. And the Dodgers had a 4-0 lead in the seventh inning, but that’s why they play the games. The Cards came back and won, thanks to birthday boy Allen Craig – picking a fantastic way to celebrate turning 26 – and All-Star Matt Holliday, who drove in the walk-off winning run in the bottom of the 9th.
Rockies 12, Cardinals 9
Does anything more need to be said? (If you somehow need to refresh your memory, here you go.)
Pitcher of the month
Even with his worst game of the season against the Mets on July 28, Adam still finished the month with a 3-1 record and a 1.85 ERA – and with a scoreless inning pitched during the All-Star Game. His 14 overall wins at the end of July were second in the National League, his ERA of 2.23 was third and his WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) was fourth with 1.03.
Player of the month
One more time: yay for Jay!
Although there’s only been one game in August so far, it was definitely a great showing by both the offense and the continued stellar pitching of Adam Wainwright. And now tonight will bring the Cardinals debut of Jake Westbrook – as well as the first of two Cardinals Diamond Diaries nights at Busch Stadium! (You mean that’s not listed on your schedule?) It’s a road trip for the three of us and the chance to watch the next two games together, which we are all highly anticipating! So we’ll be taking a little break from posting until later in the week. In the meantime, GO CARDINALS!!
Photo of the game of the month by Chris Lee, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
|photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images|
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