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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

To err is human, but the 2012 Cardinals do it rarely

In the most important stat of all, won-loss record, the St. Louis Cardinals’ major league club and its highest-level affiliate are at polar opposites.

St. Louis is among the top three teams in the National League with its 11-6 record through 17 games. The Triple-A Memphis Redbirds have been scuffling along in Pacific Coast League action, winning just one-third of their initial contests at 6-12.

One area in which the two clubs share early success, however, is in limiting physical errors in the field. Each shares the lead for fewest miscues committed across its respective 16-team league.

In the NL, St. Louis has just nine errors as a team. That ties them with Philadelphia and Washington for the lowest total in the Senior Circuit. Shortstop Rafael Furcal is the only Cardinal with multiples and he has committed just two.

At the other end of the spectrum, two Western Division clubs, San Francisco and San Diego, each have made over twice as many errors as St. Louis, with 19 each. The Cardinals’ current opponent, Chicago, is next with 16 miscues in 17 games.

Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro is all alone at the top of this unenviable NL leaderboard with seven errors. The Giants have three players with four each, catcher Buster Posey, third baseman Pablo Sandoval and shortstop Brandon Crawford.

Down in Triple-A, Memphis is tied for the PCL lead for the fewest errors with 12, along with Nashville (Milwaukee) and Oklahoma City (Houston). They are spread very evenly over the Redbirds roster, with third baseman Zack Cox and shortstop Ryan Jackson being the only Memphians with as many as two miscues.

The big-league Giants shouldn’t be looking for fielding help from Triple-A, as the most error-prone club in the PCL is their Fresno affiliate, with 25 in 19 games. The Bees’ three middle infielders alone have committed 17 miscues among them.

Coming into 2012, one area of expected improvement in the St. Louis club was to be their defense. With a ground-ball oriented pitching philosophy and a staff to match, this seemed very important.

So far, so good. At least in terms of errors committed in the early going, significant progress is being shown. Remember that in 2011, only one NL club, Chicago, was charged with more miscues than St. Louis. Right now at least, no club has fewer than the Cardinals.

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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114 Responses to “To err is human, but the 2012 Cardinals do it rarely”

  1. blingboy says:

    It takes a week to find out Jay has a seperated shoulder. Really?

    • Brian Walton says:

      I am not a doctor, but it sounds like semantics depending on if you take a half-full or half-empty view. From Strauss:

      “X-rays taken of Jay’s shoulder Thursday revealed no structural damage but team doctors initially suspected a sprain of the acromioclavicular joint, technically a separation. Monday’s exam confirmed that suspicion. A shoulder separation is considered far less serious than a dislocation…”

      He is also suggesting the reason the DL isn’t being used is money.

      • blingboy says:

        Do you happen to have anything from somebody besides Strauss?

        I have no faith in the org’s handling of injury issues. The way in which the fans are included in the loop also sucks. In my mind, it is the one area that stands out negatively in an otherwise first class operation.

        I realize last nights loss has me in a sour frame of mind. I’m counting on Wainy tonight.

      • CariocaCardinal says:

        Could you point to where Strauss is suggesting the money issue – i couldn’t find it.

        • JumboShrimp says:

          Good question. Lets keep things on the up and up.

        • blingboy says:

          There are two “Notebook” articles on Jay’s shoulder, Strauss on the 23rd and Goold on the 24th. Brian might have been thinking about the Goold article, although any suggestion is vague. The reference to “separated shoulder” made when the MRI results first came back is gone now, and Goold’s article makes it sound like the results were totally negative. Jay’s comments make it sound like he thinks the results were totally negative. The whole thing stinks, as it always does, with injury issues.

          Now Adams has a hyperextended elbow. Or does he. His agent should line up a second opinion.

          Let’s hope Craig has no more setbacks down in Palm Beach. Is he likely to go to Memphis at some point?

        • Brian Walton says:

          It was via Twitter:

          $$$ RT @lueker: @JoeStrauss Any idea why the Cards are so adverse to the DL? Seems they needlessly play shorthanded for numerous games.— Joe Strauss (@JoeStrauss) April 24, 2012

  2. blingboy says:

    There have been 5 #2 hitters the last six games, so I’m wondering who will precede paper bag boy tonight. Does Cruz catch Wainy again? And does red hot Robinson get to sit or hit eighth? Lets get the lineup card going Mike.

    • crdswmn says:

      Furcal 6
      Schumaker 4
      Holliday 7
      Beltran 9
      Freese 5
      Molina 2
      Carpenter 3
      Robinson 8
      Waino 1

      I’m going to be physically ill…….

      • blingboy says:

        Anybody who knows anything knows that you put your hot hitters in the 7 and 8 spots because they are rooks. Just ahead of you DP machine who can clear the bases for them. That’s what Tony would have done.

        The Skip-Matt 2-3 should add some punch . . .sigh. Would have done that, too.

      • T8Ball says:

        Why so glum, MG?

      • T8Ball says:

        I guess I see it a bit different.

        Offense hasn’t been the greatest the past 4 games, Robinson is a hot bat at the moment, and Skip could be, too. Matheny is searching, doing what he thinks is best. Can’t blame him.

        • blingboy says:

          I realize MM needs to figure out how he wants to use Skip. I have no problem with that, and don’t think he’s that bad a fielder. Perfectly fine as a utility guy. I’m getting annoyed with other things though. Winning tonight would help.

          Nothing ruins crdswmns day like seeing ‘Skip 4’. I’ll have to remember that 🙂

          • crdswmn says:

            It seems pointless to me to argue about this anymore, since it seems clear to me that defense is of little consequence. You would think that after the disaster that was Ryan Theriot that there would be more concern about defense, but apparently that is not the case.

            I want Waino to win this game in the worst way. Putting the worst defender at 2B you have behind a ground ball pitcher who is struggling in my eyes is tantamount to tossing the game away. Might as well tell Waino you don’t give a damn.

            • T8Ball says:

              Maybe it’s just me, but I think you put too much blame on Skip before hand, and reward him little when he does well. Which he does do well from time to time, I’d venture he does well more times than not.

              That’s just me.

              Oh and Skip really has nothing to do with Waino’s inability to throw first pitch strikes.

              • crdswmn says:

                I don’t put “blame” on Skip. It isn’t his fault that he simply does not have the abilities. He can hit for average and he has a good arm, and that I give him credit for. He tries and he has a good attitude, I credit him for that. But it sounds like you are asking me to say he is good when he isn’t. I can’t do that.

                • T8Ball says:

                  Not at all……I just the venom on other sites about Skip, and it saddens me. He does day in and day out what you said, yet, there is some rather strong hate for him. I see your comments about being sick, so I associated that with ElBirdos. Forgive my assumption.

                  • crdswmn says:

                    I don’t hate Skip and I agree that the hatred at VEB is uncalled for. The sick comments were not a reflection on Skip but just the disappointment of what I saw as a poor decision by Matheny.

  3. blingboy says:

    “Manager see; manager do. There isn’t much, if any, space in the modern dugout for independent thinkers.”

    That’s Bernie talking about MM pulling Garcia at 85 pitches and sailing along last night, and lamenting the lack of complete games now-days.

    I’d add the TLR-like stubbornness letting Matt ride out a slump in the 3 hole. Tony did it with his #3, so that’s the way it is done, so I’ll do it this way.

    Us having Matt in the #3 spot right now is like the Angels having Schmalbert there, but at half the price.

  4. T8Ball says:

    The throw that Shane made to home plate last night look pretty strong and accurate. I believe he was too far back for it to matter. Anyone else see the same thing? Shane has a pretty decent arm, IMO

    • blingboy says:

      Didn’t get him. Besides that, I haven’t seen enough to have an opinion. I have heard that his arm is good enough for center field. The only time I can watch are Monday and Teusday nights, so I’ll take your opinion on it as a good sign.

      I must admit that since Ankiel had that two throw night nobody else has impressed me all that much in the throw department. The two throws taken together are the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen on a ball field, and I’ve seen a lot.

  5. T8Ball says:

    I like Beltran’s arm, ball got to the plate well before the Cubbie did. Did Molina get a piece of the runner? I know the runner missed the plate by quite a bit.

    They are saying the Umpire is a replacement ump from the minors. Someone sick? The call irked me, but I feel a tiny bit bad for the ump.

  6. Kansasbirdman says:

    Early on Al Hrabosky said that “Tony, excuse me Matheny said ‘Skip at second puts a bat in the lineup”

    Freudian slip?

  7. Kansasbirdman says:

    Should be 0-0.

  8. blingboy says:

    Wainy struck me as looking rusty early on but looks good now. Curve ball is starting to snap off and he’s locating it. This is the first time i’ve been able to sit and watch him.

    Now, if somebody will get those nerf noodles out of the bat rack. . . .

  9. T8Ball says:

    Another 2 out rally snuffed

    • T8Ball says:

      maybe I should have said “potential 2 out rally”

      • blingboy says:

        Mike has to get Holliday out of there until he gets it together. Reminds me of the ‘buy and hold’ crowd who ride the market all the way down, then when it finally turns around they say ‘see, I was right’. Never mind how much they lost waiting for the inevitable turnaround.

  10. Kansasbirdman says:

    That is going to make the top ten.

  11. blingboy says:

    No bench. a-hem.

  12. crdswmn says:

    Nice of Waino and Yadi to show up to play tonight.

  13. T8Ball says:

    Sit on the bat……don’t swing until you must

  14. T8Ball says:

    Matt likes it low, will Marmol give him the slider?

  15. Kansasbirdman says:

    I will stick my foot in my mouth, Gladly

  16. JumboShrimp says:

    Thats what the Birds needed, on the road. Needed a veteran to step up and hit the darn ball.

  17. crdswmn says:

    I wish they hadn’t waited until Waino was out of the game to score. I know they don’t do it on purpose, but it doesn’t look good.

  18. T8Ball says:

    If the BP can get it to the 9th, then Motte will have a chance at redemption. I wonder how he’ll feel after 30 plus last night?

  19. T8Ball says:

    Don’t want to put him on base

  20. T8Ball says:

    Interesting…….if Motte comes in, he’ll face La Hair right away. Would keeping Rzep in for that batter be a move Matheny is willing to make?

    Just throwing that out there. Not something I advocate.

  21. blingboy says:

    For what it’s worth. The Angels have a reliver named David Carpenter who is not the David Carpenter that we traded to Houston for Pedro Feliz. That later is still with Houston.

    Scmarte’s Angels got shut out again. The mang putting up another Ofer, so I figure our lineup must rock if our #8 hitter is out homering and out RBI-ing him. The fans will start getting surly out there pretty soon.

  22. T8Ball says:

    A little Descalso late inning magic to knock Shane in?

  23. blingboy says:

    Now’s the time for Pedro to put one down the 3rd base line into the corner.

  24. blingboy says:

    Here we go, its Skippy time !

  25. Kansasbirdman says:

    Son of a

  26. T8Ball says:

    That’s a FurBobble

  27. Kansasbirdman says:

    Furcal needs to read your article Brian

  28. T8Ball says:

    Can Tyler be a hero?

  29. blingboy says:

    Who is our long man anyway? KMac, I’d guess. If we go for a while.

  30. T8Ball says:

    is it me, or would this game be a good one for instant replay advocates?

  31. T8Ball says:

    I wonder if Mike had some good Christian words to pass along?

  32. T8Ball says:

    Campana clearly out last night if Tyler didn’t drop it, and now Campana clearly out and it looks like the Ump dropped it.

  33. blingboy says:

    Who is the back up manager?

  34. T8Ball says:

    Lord, Salas….ughh

  35. crdswmn says:

    The offense was awful, the umpires were worse and I don’t know what to say about Tyler Greene.

    • blingboy says:

      What I’d say is we had our second worst second baseman out there at the critical time because our best second baseman was playing 3rd because our backup 3rd baseman was playing 1st because we decided not to bring up a first baseman when Berkman went down.

      To be fair, he didn’t look any worse than Furcal on his bobble.

      Another Ofer with RISP.

      • crdswmn says:

        What I’d say is we don’t have a good second baseman, and until we get one we are going to continue to go round and round about this. And we don’t need another first baseman.

        I don’t think Greene is that bad either, I think he is snake bit. But nevertheless, I don’t think Cardinal fans are ever going to accept him.

        • JumboShrimp says:

          Some fans are disappointed Anthony Reyes is not in the Hall of Fame by now. We are running a business and cannot mollycoddle every crazy notion held by fans.

        • friendmouse says:

          You’re right…not accepting him. And why should we…specifically what great (or even good) feats has he accomplished, at the Major League level, to warrant such blind acceptance?
          On the other hand, Schumaker is a proven winner and has accomplished much. I don’t understand why this is so difficult. I’ll give Greene his due (why?), in that he’d beat Skip in a foot race longer than 6 feet and shorter than a mile, and he’d likely clobber Schumaker, head-to-head, in a Home Run Derby. Oh, and he’s taller. That’s about it. Skip wins everything else.

          • blingboy says:

            Tyler will probably stick on the roster all year because there is nothing else the org can do with him. I still hold up hope he will eventually become more of a steady hand. He wasn’t a train wreck in the minors. It’s hard to explain his pathetic MLB track record.

      • JumboShrimp says:

        Its fantasy to think we should bring up Adams. He has his hands just being introduced to AAA and is not on the 40 man either. Our first sting 1Bman is out of action, so is the backup, Craig. We are lucky to have Carpenter as 3rd string. Two other 1Bman at Memphis are hurt, Hamilton and Hill.

      • kray66 says:

        Very good analysis blingboy. I don’t really agree with pulling Freese for DD unless it’s a blowout and Freese needs to rest the ankles. I don’t feel like Freese is a liability at 3rd, at least not any more than Greene is at 2nd.

        • blingboy says:

          I think DD went in at 3rd because Freese was pulled as part of a double switch, rather than as a defensive substitution. As to Greene being a defensive liability at second compared to Descalso, I don’t know really, but crdswmn is sure right about Greene being ‘snakebit’. I’ve never seen a player any better at looking bad than Tyler Greene.

          Although we got rooked by the umps, we didn’t do enough on the field defensively or offensively to win a ball game. Wainy looked good though, and my hunch is Yadi managed him very well, contributing to the successful outing.

          • blingboy says:

            All will be made right if we pound the crap out of them today.

            • kray66 says:

              Absolutely. A very lop-sided win will make two close losses more tolerable. Although I refuse to admit we lost to the Cubs last night. We didn’t win, but that wasn’t a loss. And it’s not a tie. I don’t know what it is. Let’s just move on with a big win.

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