Diamond Diaries

Cardinal baseball, from the girls

Tag Archives: Ryan Ludwick

Major League Distraction

As a disclaimer, please remember that I am a rather new devotee to the glorious pastime of baseball.  So while the rest of you have had years to soak up all the extras, I am still playing catch up.  Last evening when I was fairly certain that the day’s news from baseball’s Winter Meetings had dried up for the day, I settled in to watch Major League, a movie that some of you (okay, okay… probably every last one of you) may have seen in the theaters 21 years ago, or at least by the time you turned 12.
Of course, I loved it.  But I also must say that timing is everything.  If I had been dragged to watch a (groan) baseball movie when I had little interest or appreciation for the game, Major League would have been a major disappointment.  However, right now, in the middle of December with the trade flurries, free agent frenzy and rumor mills spinning at high speed, Major League was the perfect escape for an overly loyal and passionate Cardinal fan worrying about the makeup of the 2011 lineup.
Hollywood’s version of the luckless losers who were destined to fail involved a team whose GM was crafting an evil plan to insure a last place finish.  The idea was to round up some old veteran players with bad knees, a bunch of young kids nobody else had heard of and a prima donna superstar who is more concerned with his future contract than playing a hard nine. (True, that last one has no relevance… but the word “contract” did ring in my ear a little louder than usual.) It was entertaining – in an odd but familiar way.
Yes, the spectacled bad boy hurler Rick Vaughn with his Wild Thing theme song, triangled haircut and California Penal League baseball quote were a hoot. The hilarity of Bob Ueker’s creative play-by-play broadcast ramblings to a relatively nonexistent listening audience of a last-place team was beyond funny.  The voodoo cures for the curveball made mustaches and high socks seem…. well, boring.  And as in all contrived theater for the masses, the underdog team rallied, the fair weather fans returned, the guy got the girl and everyone lived happily ever after.
I hope I didn’t ruin the ending for you?  ;)
photo from Jeff Pearlman.com
The Cardinals now have ex-Astro (and temporary Yankee) Lance Berkman penciled into the 2011 outfield.  Yesterday I received word from my dear brother-n-law, a native Houstonian and long-suffering (but loyal) Astros fan. He reassured me that Berkman’s on-base percentage in the 2-spot of the lineup (ahead of Pujols) is a very, very big plus.  I know it hurt him deeply to admit that the Cardinals offense would be dangerous, so that opinion means more to me than any statistical model or official Cardinal spin on the topic. If my Astro fan bro-in-law is correct about the predicted OBP value of our new Cardinal /old veteran with bad knees – and  our buddy Bob’s (@throatwarbler’s) most recent Cardinal history lesson is any indication of the potential, than I am ready to watch this Major League type Hollywood magic come true.
If you prefer to get a shot of positivity from history rather than Hollywood, you really should check out what our friend Bob has to say.  His ability to weave historical similarities into the frame of current events is not only amazing, but also reassuring.  Link here
And as far as the hot stove chatter this morning:
Apparently our old buddy Ryan Ludwick is generating a lot of interest from everyone except us.  Boohoo  L  Link here:
And now the Cardinals are rumored to be talking to Yadier Molina’s big brother Bengie for the back-up catcher spot.  That idea just warms my baseball heart!  ;)
Have a wonderful Wednesday, Cards fans!   =)

My Hot Stove Wishlist

Last season I was introduced to the concept of baseball’s Hot Stove. Baseball talk all winter?  Yes, please!  ;)
So, I spent my first winter cozied up to that stove longing for any and every bit of news about Matt Holliday. Would he return?  Would Mr. Boras, his evil agent, force him to wear pinstripes instead?  Well, I got my Holliday wish last year and decided that offseason baseball dealings were not only very entertaining, but could make me very happy.
Happy is good.
This offseason has not started off with such warm fuzzies.  Joe Mather, gone.  Matt Pagnozzi, gone.  Personally, I’ll take a nice campfire and a warm Cardinals snuggie instead, thank you.
Maybe that’s what I get for not respecting the Stove?  Maybe I took it for granted that the Cardinals would always make decisions in my best interest?  I guess I still have a lot to learn about baseball.  (thankfully)
So, just in case, the Hot Stove is like Santa and needs a little help in knowing just the right gifts this winter…
My Hot Stove WishList
1.      Save our Shortstop. Yep, I know there is a different player’s contract topping everyone else’s wishlist. But since you all have that one covered, I am going to make sure ol’ Boog doesn’t get forgotten.
Brendan Ryan is irreplaceable.  The fans love him. Brendan’s attitude and personality bring the Cardinals to life and brighten team energy.  Brendan’s got the D.  Plus I have a serious need to be able to watch him leap and jump and dive and be the ballhog that he is in order to fully appreciate Cardinals baseball.  Brendan will be a better hitter than he was last year.  I promise.  Surgery and fiddling with his batting stance messed him up.  With another year of experience, maturity combined with the right ADD meds, we are bound to see a better batter.
Trust me on this.  Brendan stays.  Got it?  Good.
2.      Now, I am no expert on salary figures and balancing budgets, so I am going to head over to my happy place and pretend that I can wish for absolutely anything here.
Two free agents the Cardinals must snag?  Cliff Lee and Mariano Rivera.
Don’t burst my bubble here… I’m dreaming of a 2011 rotation with Wainwright, Lee, Garcia and Carpenter for a moment.  It’s glorious.
      You can see it too, right?  Yeah, I thought so.  ;)
3.      As long as I am not being restrained by common sense, I’ll take Ryan Ludwick back too please.  Power outfield bat?  Restored.  Luddy back in the Birds on the Bat?  Priceless.
4.      Now this is where I need a little help because I’ve read all sorts of chatter about Orlando Hudson, Dan Uggla, Edgar Renteria and other guys who might be able to step in and give us some relief in the middle infield (hands off the shortstop position though, remember?!)
This is where I sit back, let the ol’ stove heat up and listen and learn as all you smart baseball folk tell me why one ballplayer is better than the other. Just keep in mind that I’m one of those fans who gets attached to the players we already have – and I LOVE to see the Memphis boys finally get their shot.  Sentimental?  Yes.  Loyal?  Absolutely.
I am ok with bringing in someone new IF that means we keep Skippy (probably platooning) and Daniel Descalso gets a good shot at proving himself in the big club.  Can we keep Jon Jay and Allen Craig too while we’re at it?
I haven’t done the math, but I’ve probably got about 12 players on the field already.  So, I’ll stop here.

Similar to writing a letter to Santa, it is best to keep it short.  I wouldn’t want to be too greedy.  The Hot Stove may not like that.  ;)

Social Media Night & Welcome Back Ludwick!

Social Media Night (I was kinda far back, sorry!)  McGraw emceeing.
Social Media Night at Busch Stadium…about what I expected it to be; a great idea, and room for improvement in the years to come. I am very happy I had the opportunity to attend and meet a couple of the people I frequently tweet with on twitter. I had a great time and don’t necessarily have anything bad to say about the event at all, I just wasn’t sure I had the best opportunity to mingle with other social media users as much as I would have liked because by the time the brief presentation was over, the game was set to start within 20 minutes or so. Basically enough time to get to our seats. I do expect that the Cardinals will do their best to make the event on a weekend or in the summer next season in the hopes of having more people attend. And, from talking to several Cardinal employees, that is what they intend to do. I most definitely look forward to being able to meet even more of my twitter friends from Cardinal Nation and an even better event next year!
John Mozeliak answering fan Q’s from twitter.
As far as the event this year, it was interesting to hear from different writers and social media club representatives about how social media has affected their jobs and lifestyles. I enjoyed particularly hearing from Derrick Goold and Matthew Leach about how social media has effected the way they do their jobs and how much more accurate and responsible they have to be with their coverage because of how quickly it has to be reported. Take the Jaime Garcia thing this week for example; within a matter of 24 hours, it went from Tony LaRussa saying in pre-game media questions that Garcia would be shut down for the season, to him not being shut down but just skipping his next start. I understand it has to be hard. The fans have adapted to the very quick turnaround of twitter/social media and they expect to hear something almost every time reporters are in the locker room. They are working hard to give the fans what they are looking for, but still responsible for being informative and fun without pushing people away. I appreciate that they were so open and seemed to make themselves open to suggestions. I kind of knew that anyway; I always see Leach and Goold responding to [reasonable] questions and thoughts on twitter…both have responded to me in the past. I wish I would have had a chance to chat with them. I hope there will be another opportunity to do so. We all know that everything happens much faster on twitter. In fact, I know that many of my friends who don’t have twitter or stay connected to social media of any kind are usually an hour to 24 hours behind on information depending on how hot of a topic it is. I don’t need to explain to you how great of a tool it is; marketing and otherwise, but its obvious that there is a need for social media in the world of sports and it its popularity is continuously growing.
View from our seats for Social Media Night
Anyway, after a quick chat with McGraw Milhaven (I had to say hello, after all, he was the emcee and my former co-worker at KTRS), my friends and I headed to our seats in right field. I must say, pretty amazing seats for this event. Because this post is just way too short with the social media night event alone, I had to come up with something else to write about today. After Jacqueline’spost earlier this week about everyone “fighting” about who are the better, more die-hard fans; those who still believe no matter what or those who are realistic and base their opinions off the obvious, I was inspired to think about another topic that has seemed to plague my twitter feed since July 31st.

As fans of a specific team, are we allowed to continue to support and cheer for a player who was traded in the middle of the season (or even the offseason)?

pointing to luddy (4/09)
If you follow me even remotely closely on twitter, you should know how I felt (feel) about the Ludwick trade earlier this season. At first, extremely upset, then eventually coming off the ledge and realizing that is just what happens, but still a tiny bit upset that my favorite player for the past couple years is really playing for another team. I completely understand the whole “we gave him his first-time-back-standing-ovation, now he plays for another team” argument. Believe me, I do. I mean, look at Jim Edmonds; when he was traded, we still cared about him but had to get over it cause he ended up being traded from the Padres to the evil Cubs. But, I still don’t want to buy it, and I think I have the right to feel this way. Are we not allowed to be fans of different players even if they don’t play for the team in which our loyalties lie? Why can’t we be allowed to appreciate players for their heart, their play, and the place they have in our hearts? To me, Ryan Ludwick will always be a Cardinal. I know we might not have had the payroll option to keep him next season anyway, but at least that would have given me some time to have closure. I am still feeling like I was cheated out of seeing a guy who played with heart.


Meeting Ludwick at WWU 2010 – was telling him how
much I liked his walk-up song…he was laughing at me.
When Luddy came up to bat for the first time on Thursday night, I knew there would be nothing but cheers and applause for the former Cardinal. And, I was proven right. Before they even announced him, people began clapping and I was rising to my feet with many others around me. At the same time, my friend Amanda said, “wouldn’t it be cool if they played his song?” in reference to Brass Monkey by the Beastie Boys. “Nah, I don’t know….”, I began to reply as I heard the music to Brass Monkey begin to play over the loudspeakers. I was speechless. The standing ovation lasted for a minute or so and Luddy showed his appreciation with the tip of his batting helmet for all the fans in St. Louis that evening. The twitter account @FollowThePadres was very insightful on Luddy’s return to STL Wednesday and Thursday. Before the game on Thursday a tweet said that Ryan Ludwick expected his return to be very emotional when he would be greeted by the fans. Needless to say, I have a feeling it WAS very emotional for him. I think he had “a moment” when he received his round of applause and heard his song played at the stadium, but that’s just me. :) I continued to clap and cheer all night for Luddy and I saw several Ludwick jerseys and t-shirts all around me, so I know he was very appreciated for his time here — and missed now that he is gone.
Two fans cheer (one still wearing Ludwick’s jersey) as
Ludwick took his place in RF on Sept 16, 2010.
The reason I bring this up is because there have been several instances on amongst Cardinal fans since he was traded away where feelings have outweighed loyalties. Some people may believe “once a Cardinal, always a Cardinal” and some may believe that once they are traded it is time to part ways. I agree with both. Fans in Cardinal Nation still applaud David Eckstein when he comes back to Busch Stadium, and wave to him from the seats when he is warming up…and he ALWAYS waves back. Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds still get applause from the fans at Busch Stadium, while it may not be quite as much for any of those 3 now as it was the first year after they were traded. John Mabry still gets love from many Cardinal fans and even though he too was a Cub, his loyalties obviously lie with the Cardinals as he comes back for Winter Warm Up and other Cardinal events. There are plenty other former Cardinals that have been traded and are welcome when they come back to Busch Stadium with their new teams. The initial enthusiasm may wear off, but the special place in members of Cardinal Nation’s hearts for ex-Cardinals will always be there.

Courtney & I with the Ludwick cutout last season.
So, Cardinal Nation, let those who wish to keep cheering for former Cardinals do so. I see nothing wrong with continuing to support those players. Once they leave, it is not so much that bitterness for the club because of the trade exists, but simply that there is a love and appreciation of how those players play the game. Those who don’t think it is OK to root for a player who is no longer with their team, that is fine, just don’t criticize others for wanting to do so. We all know that Cardinal Nation is the stronger tie, but we can continue to wish the former players well and root for them to be successful with their new teams; as long as it isn’t at the Cardinals’ expense of course! :)

There is a time…

I may be the daughter of a preacher, but have never been great at quoting scripture.  I can however point you to the scene from “Footloose” where you can hear Kevin Bacon mention
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven:”
My mind is always drifting to baseball. So naturally, my translation would be: there is a time for every emotion during baseball season.  In 2010 we have had time to cheer; time to cry, and (lately) plenty of time to be frustrated.
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A time to reflect:
I was watching a game this week – well, I watched them all – but there was this one game – when it struck me how different the August Cardinals are from the starting lineup back in April.
Remember back then?
On April 5th the Cardinals won the first game of the regular season.  They beat the Reds with a final score of 11-6. (The Reds!)  The Cardinals had 12 hits that day, with four homeruns: Albert Pujols hit TWO, Yadier Molina had his first career Grand Slam and Colby Rasmus went yard as well.

That evening Matthew Leach, writing for MLB.com, compared the Cardinals’ performance to the anticlimactic crash of the 2009 postseason effort:
The last time the Cardinals were seen playing games that mattered, they were an offensively futile team. A great deal has changed — from the stage to the ballpark to the opponent — since that NLDS. But the Redbirds have changed, too. They’re an improved offensive club, one that can be dangerous at all eight everyday lineup spots.”
That was certainly our time to hope.
A time for change:
The faces on the field are different now. Some favorite players are gone for good and some we just haven’t seen for a while. (To be honest, this topic gave me a much needed chance to post some pictures of the Cardinal faces I have been missing!  Mtime to be sentimental, I guess.)
Freese, Luddy and Joe — We miss you terribly!
But looking on the bright side (yes, I have been accused me of overusing that Pollyanna trait lately, but stick with me here!) … there are some wonderful new Cardinal faces we have come to enjoy.  Okay, just another excuse to post pictures of my favorite BabyBirds.
Glad you boys are getting a shot!
The Cardinals still have time to play, time to win and time to rally.  So until that final Cardinal out of the 2010 season, we fans have time to enjoy the game.


Time To Welcome!
Like the Cardinals, we here at Cardinal Diamond Diaries have added a new face.  Thankfully we didn’t have to trade anyone to a Padres blog group or lose anyone to the Disabled List!
Welcome Jacqueline!!!
We are thrilled to welcome Jacqueline Hadley Conrad to our gals club here at CDD.  Like Angela, Chris and myself, Jacqueline is a devoted fan of the St. Louis Cardinals, and we are looking forward to reading more of her unique charm and humor here on the blog.  In the days ahead, we will get her information added to our “About Us” section and she will be checking in again next week.
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Until then… If you missed the chance to read Jacqueline’s inaugural post yesterday, do not delay one minute longer. Grab a tissue and be prepared – it is a beautiful and touching tribute, steeped in family tradition and Cardinal baseball history.  “Ma mere Tootsie’s Gift”
Today the Cardinals are taking on the Washington Nationals again. Game time: 6:05pm CT.
Hopefully it will once again be a time to win!

GO CARDS!  =)

Jon Jay – Rookie Luck or Here to Stay?

Welcome to your Tuesday Baseball Fans!


Warning! Slow baseball week ahead!

TWO Cardinal off-days (Monday and Thursday)  plus a day game on Wednesday will leave a lot of evenings to fill with something other than Cardinals games.  Last night I caught the Padres/Cubs game on WGN and watched our old pal Ryan Ludwick in San Diego blue as the Padres beat the Cubs (something the Cardinals should have been able to do in their last two games).

While I will always cherish the fond memories I have of Luddy wearing the Birds on the Bat and patrolling right field for the Cardinals, there is this new fella that has helped ease my heartache.  Jon Jay has stepped up and become the new darling of the Cardinal rookies.  *Sorry Freese… absence is not making my heart grow fonder! ;)*

Today I profile Jon Jay at BaseballDigest.com.
You can find it here.

Give it a read and let me know your thoughts/opinions.  Has Jay peaked as a rookie already or will the baseball magic continue?

Cardinals vs Brewers (2 game stand at Busch Stadium starts tonight at 7:15pm)
GO CARDS!!

July in Review: Good Cards, Mediocre Cards

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?

Biggest surprise
Jon Jay
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!

Other surprises
Kyle McClellan
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.

Jason LaRue
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.

Biggest disappointment
Trading Ryan Ludwick
Yes, it still stings. Luddy, we already miss you!

Other disappointments
Albert Pujols
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).

Ryan Franklin
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.

Welcome
Mike MacDougal
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!

Best game
July 18
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.

Worst game
July 6
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
Adam Wainwright
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
Jon Jay
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

Bye-bye Luddy

At least Ryan Ludwick’s last play as a Cardinal was an important one: scoring the only run of the game early this morning for a 1-0 return-to-first-place victory. And he scored that run after being on base via a pinch-hit double to lead off the 10th inning.

There seems to be much shock over the trade of Luddy to the Padres in a three-way trade that brought Jake Westbrook to the Cardinals. (The Cards get prospect Nick Greenwood from the Padres too.) With just under an hour left until the trade deadline, maybe John Mozeliak still has another move in the works to address the Cardinals seemingly biggest need: a bat to help them score runs. We shall see.

Luddy is definitely a fan favorite – which was especially apparent in the Twitter reaction to this trade – and one of our favorites here as well. We even celebrated Ludwick Appreciation Day back in May. So we are definitely sad to see him go at this point in time, even though we are (reluctantly) happy for the opportunity he now has with the Padres – he has better offensive numbers than any of San Diego’s current outfielders. And, long-term, we knew that perhaps he wasn’t part of the Cards future following this season. But that was to think about during the hot-stove season. I honestly was blindsided that seeing him score that run early today was the end of his Cardinals career.

Matthew Leach has a great summary of Luddy’s career:
Ludwick, 31, has revived his career as a member of the Cardinals since signing with the organization as a Minor League free agent in 2007. He was an All-Star in ’08 and in four seasons with St. Louis has hit .280 with a .349 on-base percentage and a .507 slugging percentage.

In 2010, Ludwick has a .281/.343/.484 line with 11 home runs, 43 RBIs and 44 runs scored in 77 games. He missed nearly a month with a strained left calf, returning last weekend for the Cards’ series against the Cubs.

He would be a third-year arbitration-eligible player this winter, though, which means he will almost certainly receive a significant raise for the 2011 season. Rookie Jon Jay has impressed in his first 48 games, hitting .396 and slugging .604, evidently convincing the club that he is ready for a bigger role in the short term. The deal might also open up some playing time for rookie Allen Craig, who is hitting well at Triple-A Memphis.

In closing, here’s a tweet from our friend Neal Bradley that sums up our thoughts perfectly. “My final say on Ludwick. He played like a Cardinal should. Not perfect, but always 100% effort and 100% class. Good luck Luddy (until Oct).”

Oh, yes, welcome Jake Westbrook! We’ll think about you a little later.

First-Place Deadline Madness

So, the good news is the Cardinals are back in first place by half a game after that 1-0 win over the Padres early this morning. (Yay Brendan! But too bad you couldn’t have done that in time to get Carp a much-deserved victory!)

Yet all that seems to be very long ago right now, as all the talk on MLB Network and Twitter is that the Cardinals are on the verge of acquiring Jake Westbrook from the Indians (who was scheduled to start this afternoon) and that it’s actually a three-way deal that also involves RYAN LUDWICK going to the Padres. What??? How can we trade Luddy???

Stay tuned …

Truth and Consequences, Plus Some Fun

RUMOR:
photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images
No Cardinals blog would be complete without at least mentioning the current rumor that the Cardinals are looking to make a deal with the Astros for their star pitcher Roy Oswalt before the July 31st trade deadline. And apparently Mr. Oswalt favors the Cardinals as well? Sounds like a match made in baseball heaven to me… as long the front office can avoid the hurdles of budgetary constraints (with Albert Pujols’ epic contract negotiations looming) and depletion of the farm system. This one sure got the chatter going.  What if???


TRUTH:

Ryan Ludwick, who last played with the Cardinals on June 25th, says he could be back with the club by the weekend.  After spending nearly a month on the disabled list with a strained calf, Luddy has shown he still has what it takes, hitting two homeruns in two games during his rehab stint at AAA Memphis.  

Welcome back Ludwick!!  We would all love to watch you and Hunky Matt Holliday have your own version of a Cardinals HomeRun Derby throughout the coming months.

DILEMMA:
With the return of Ryan Ludwick, the question is which player gets bumped back down to AAA?  Jon Jay has been the darling of the BabyBirds in the big leagues, batting .462 since his July return.  Allen Craig has had 6 rbi and a homerun during his recent 5 games with the Cardinals, batting .286. Tyler Greene will likely stick around as platoon in the infield until David Freese returns to action.  So, my guess is that Allen Craig will be getting his mail in Memphis again.  But then again, we never know…

CHECK OUT THE INK!

Jason LaRue may be rocking the clean cut look lately, but video from Wednesday gave us a sight we rarely see.  The biker boy has tattoos!  I guess I should not have been surprised, but for some reason I was?!  That’s a lot of ink Jason! 


Finally!  POSITIVE BRENDAN NEWS:
Buried at the bottom of a MLB Cardinals news report on July 21st was this tidbit:
Courtesy of the Cardinals media relations, Brendan Ryan leads all middle infielders with eight double plays turned since the All-Star break.”  

Sometimes you just have to focus on the good.
Yay Brendan!!

Today the Cardinals face the cubs at Wrigley Field for another afternoon matchup. Game time 1:20pm CT.  

How about another 8 game winning streak?  
GO CARDS!   =)  

Talking about Toes..

Last night when I turned off the television and my computer for the evening, the Cardinals had just won their 6th straight game.  And what a game it was!  FOUR homeruns!  Albert Pujols kicked off the long ball party in the bottom of the 5th inning. Then Allen Craig followed suit with his first Major League homerun.  The very next batter, Skip Schumaker, stepped to the plate and hit his 3rd blast of the season.  Then in the 6th inning Randy Winn added his own dinger over the right field wall to make the score 8-4.  Throw in some spectacular defense from Brendan Ryan and I was a very happy baseball fan!

Want to watch the highlights again?    Click Here

Winning – I could get used to that!

Even  more amazing is that the Cardinals are winning with our substitute starting pitchers Jeff Suppan and Blake Hawksworth. Plus manager Tony La Russa has rested several key players in the past two games, getting creative with starting lineups that have scared many fans.  But those beloved Baby Birds up from AAA are filling in quite nicely. Jon Jay continues to tear it up with a .372 batting average.

The Cardinals have stepped up their game since the All Star break and are playing some amazing baseball.  Whatever is in the water, I hope they keep drinking it, because THIS is the team I was expecting to show up in April.

More Good News! Ryan Ludwick is returning from the DL, heading to Memphis for a quick rehab stint before rejoining the Cardinals possibly this weekend (at least that is what Luddy thinks.)

Bad News of the Morning: David Freese has apparently broken his left big toe by dropping a weight plate on it during a workout. Are you kidding me???  I am very thankful the Cardinals have figured out how to win without their complete starting roster, because Freese seems to be accident-prone.  If we were losing games, that news would have hit me a lot harder, but with the way things have been going lately it is hard to complain.  Hurry back David, before we forget why we loved you so much!

Maybe somebody should wrap him in bubble wrap for a few weeks to keep him safe!

Have you read the rumblings about the lack of clubhouse chemistry?  Apparently GM John Mozeliak even commented that a midseason trade might add more personality to bring a positive vibe to the clubhouse.

You probably can imagine how I feel about it, but just in case you want to read more of my rant, check out my post today at Baseball Digest.com.  Just click here.

And over at i70baseball.com Angela has a great look at the resurgence of our Cardinals.  Here’s a shortcut for you!

Have a great day, Cards Fans!  Tonight our boys are working on their SEVENTH STRAIGHT WIN!  Maybe they can crush those nasty Phillies again with another Cardinal HomeRun Derby?!

GO CARDS!  =)

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