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

Cardinals prepare for designated hitter in Detroit

The two MLB leagues having different numbers of teams, 16 in the National League and 14 in the American, meant interleague play was never symmetric. Being in the oddball six-team NL Central often meant the St. Louis Cardinals were in the midst of the resulting scheduling irregularities.

This season is no different. When the Cardinals take the field in Detroit Tuesday night, they will be the last NL team to play a road interleague game this season. With it comes their first opportunity to deploy the designated hitter.

The Cardinals plan to shift the responsibility among several fatigued and banged up players, including Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran and Allen Craig. It wouldn’t be crazy if Yadier Molina or even Rafael Furcal might even take a turn at DH, though the expected return of Skip Schumaker from the disabled list will take some pressure off the depleted bench.

Matt Adams seems the most likely recipient of the extra DH-driven at-bats as the extra player most likely to be inserted into the lineup when one of the others sits. Of course, the rookie first baseman has never faced Detroit.

Here are some career numbers of the Cardinals hitters against the two scheduled Tigers starters, Justin Verlander and Rick Porcello plus closer Jose Valverde. “Papa Grande” is familiar to the Cardinals as he spent two years in the NL Central as the Astros’ ninth-inning man following his 2003-07 stint with Arizona. Detroit’s Thursday starter, Jacob Turner, will be making his 2012 debut.

Despite the frequent interleague play between the two clubs, the past histories are still small. It is impossible to draw any firm conclusions, but at least the limited numbers look pretty good for the Cardinals. (Blank cells mean pitcher and hitter have never met.)

Justin Verlander Rick Porcello Jose Valverde
Carlos Beltran 0-3 .000 2K 1-3 .333 2-5 .400 1BB
Daniel Descalso
David Freese
Rafael Furcal 1-6 .167 1K
Tyler Greene 2-3 .667
Matt Holliday 2-4 .500 2BB 1K 1-5 .200 4-10 .400 1HR 1BB 3K
Yadier Molina 9-13 .692 1K 1-3 .333 2-9 .222
Skip Schumaker 2-3 .667 1-3 .333 1-7 .143 1BB 2K

Hat tip to Acta Sports for the data.

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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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29 Responses to “Cardinals prepare for designated hitter in Detroit”

  1. crdswmn says:

    This is off topic, but I want to make an observation about the All Star game. It seems likely that R.A. Dickey will start in the ASG. Buster Posey is now ahead in the vote for catcher. If Dickey starts, and Posey starts, what happens if Posey can’t catch the knuckleball? We all know Yadi can catch the knuckleball because Ryan Franklin threw one. If Posey can’t catch it, that could be dicey for the NL.

    • Brian Walton says:

      No problem. There is no requirement to stay on one subject. People can discuss here whatever Cards topics interest them.

      I guess I remain skeptical about Dickey. The game is still three weeks away and a lot could happen in the interim.

      • crdswmn says:

        This just reinforces my long time rant that fans should not be allowed to make decisions about who plays in the ASG while the game counts for HFA. Either make the game an exhibition game only again, or stop the fan voting practice and let managers, coaches, and others with better knowledge make the decision.

        • blingboy says:

          I would not go so far as to say Franky’s knuckler was comparable to Dickey’s. Just my personal opinion.

          Another off topic item. I heard somebody in the Cards booth, maybe it was Al, suggest that in interleague play the DH should be used in NL parks and no DH in AL parks, so the fans could see something different. I could go for that.

          • crdswmn says:

            It may not be comparable, but at least Yadi knows how to catch one. I haven’t heard that Posey can catch anyone’s knuckleball. It is not like catching any other type of pitch, which is why TLR would often remove a backup catcher and put Yadi in when Franklin pitched.

          • Brian Walton says:

            I would rather the DH rule either be standardized or eliminated.

          • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

            RA’s knuckler isn’t as violent and difficult to catch as some in the past. His effectiveness has to do with its velocity and his willingness to locate a fastball (80’S). The combination of these two pitches has hitters attempting to read a pitches location to far out in front, (as they are accustomed). He has been very effective……….. For money ………….. he loses…………….. Good hitters will crush him with singles………… he throws strikes …………

        • Brian Walton says:

          Actually, I believe the league and the manager do select the pitchers as well as the reserves – except for the gimmicky last player.

          • crdswmn says:

            Yes, they do, but they do not pick the starting position players. Who those players are can affect the outcome of the game so picking them by popularity can hamstring a manager who is trying to put a winning team on the field.

            • Brian Walton says:

              I can appreciate the balance between striving for perfection and building fan interest. MLB gets a lot of miles (and clicks) from fan voting. The weekly voting results generate a lot of buzz for several months leading up to the game (exhibit = this discussion).

              Personally, I don’t have a major gripe about the current system. The managers and coaches have made some strange Gold Glove and Silver Slugger votes, too. Every system will have its weak points.

              • crdswmn says:

                I’m sure the Texas Rangers in 2011 really appreciated that MLB got a lot of “clicks” from fan voting. 😉

                • friendmouse says:

                  I live in Texas, and I say “Who cares” what the Rangers appreciate! Frankly, I believe the ASG should ALWAYS be played in an NL city as a penalty to the AL for brashly changing the rules and, consequently, the game itself with the idiotic DH rule! (Don’t get me started!) 🙁

                • blingboy says:

                  Nothing says Tony has to start Dickey. Bring him and Yadi in later. Dickey is surely pro enough to understand he can’t throw to a guy who won’t be able to catch them.

                  I suppose the Giants could find somebody to throw Posey some knucklers between now and then. Of course, if Dickey implodes in the mean time, so much the better. Posey too.

                  • crdswmn says:

                    Now bling, you are not getting the point of this whole thing. Buster Posey should not be winning the ASG vote in the first place. 🙂

                    I was heartened the other night when I heard one of the ESPN analysts on Baseball Tonight say when discussing the voting, “I love Buster, but Molina is a better catcher”. From his lips to fans’ ears. Not going to matter to anyone, I know.

                    Oh well, I guess belaboring the point is a waste of time. It will be what it will be. Moving on now.

                    • CariocaCardinal says:

                      Why shouldn’t Posey win the vote? Who made you the God (Goddess?) of the voting criteria? As soon as it became a fan vote (many years ago now) the all-star starting position went from being who is the best player at his position to who is the most popular. No reason Buster shouldn’t win that.

                    • Brian Walton says:

                      Molina’s offensive numbers are better than Posey’s, he is considered a better defensive catcher and he has a longer track record. In a quick scan, I don’t see an objective measure in Posey’s favor.

                      Further, I would guess that 98 percent of the voters don’t know that and 95 percent don’t care.

                    • crdswmn says:

                      I was expressing an opinion CC. I’m sure you are familiar with those.

        • CariocaCardinal says:

          “The process is there, like it or not. Don’t like it? Don’t participate, but denigrating those who do just makes you a douche.”

  2. friendmouse says:

    We all tend to dabble in “what if’s” and speculations on possible scenarios, so here’s a hypothetical that’s been weighing on my mind of late…

    It’s the end of the regular season, and the Mets (90-72) and Cardinals (89-73) are the Wild Card winners. The game will pit 23 game winner (23-6) R.A. Dickey (2.49 ERA) versus 25 game winner (25-5) Lance Lynn (2.43 ERA). Dickey has thrown 239 innings with a 1.06 WHIP. Lynn logged 206 innings with a 1.06 WHIP. Dickey pitched 7 complete games, 4 as shut-outs, and 3 1-hitters. Lynn pitched 2 complete games…both were shut-outs. I could go on, but too much make-believe is stupid.
    The question is…”Who wins the Cy Young Award?” One or the other will.

    I think we know the answer. Who said life is fair? 🙂

  3. friendmouse says:

    Back “On Topic,” I would think this may be a good time for us to log some “DH” time to relieve Beltran and/or Holliday from so much “leg work.” I would also imagine that Schumaker will get the start in CF tonight? I believe hitting SS #2 behind Furcal may just be the catalyst to begin Raffy’s resurgence to his earlier form. He’s struggled without either Skip or J-Jay hitting behind him, which is understandable.
    This should be some game tonight! And I always look forward to competing against P-Fielder. Can’t wait!!

  4. blingboy says:

    Holliday DH, Skip CF, Craig LF

    1. Rafael Furcal (S) SS
    2. Carlos Beltran (S) RF
    3. Matt Holliday (R) DH
    4. Allen Craig (R) LF
    5. Yadier Molina (R) C
    6. David Freese (R) 3B
    7. Matt Adams (L) 1B
    8. Skip Schumaker (L) CF
    9. Daniel Descalso (L) 2B

  5. JumboShrimp says:

    The cards are not in good shape, dropping two to the Royals at home. They could fall far off the pace, on this road trip.

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