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

Cardinal Talk: KXnO FOX Sports Radio: Solving the Cubs

Weekly St. Louis Cardinals-focused chat on KXnO FOX Sports Radio 1460 in Des Moines.

As is the case each Friday prior to the St. Louis Cardinals pregame show, I joined Ken Miller and Jim Brinson on KXnO FOX Sports Radio 1460 in Des Moines in our weekly series to discuss the St. Louis Cardinals.

This week, we discussed the Cardinals rotation, specifically the struggles of Justin Masterson and the potential of Marco Gonzales, the short patience of fans with young players like Javier Baez and Oscar Taveras and the outlook for the Cubs series this weekend.

Once again in 2014, Cardinals followers in central Iowa are able to catch St. Louis Cardinals radio broadcasts on KXnO as well as my regular segment each week throughout the season, either over the air or via streaming. Or, if you miss it live, you can always catch the replay right here at The Cardinal Nation blog.

Click here for audio: Brian Walton with Ken Miller and Jim Brinson (6:01)

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60 Responses to “Cardinal Talk: KXnO FOX Sports Radio: Solving the Cubs”

  1. JumboShrimp says:

    Good job last night by Shelby Miller, eating 7 innings and giving us a chance to prevail.
    Neshek has had a great season, but did not have it last night.
    Holliday and Peralta, the steady veterans, drove in the runs, no surprise.

    One oddity is why Mike Matheny places his highest on base guy in the 8th slot in the lineup. This makes sense only inside the mad, mad, mediocre mind of Mike Matheny. If we had a competent manager, he would move Jay up to leadoff or 2nd, and drop Wong to 7th and Taveras down to 8th. If Jay ultimately wins the batting title, it will look very odd that he bats 8th.

    Possibly Mike thinks Jay is providing helpful “protection” for Oscar. If so, this is nuts on multiple grounds. Don’t invent fairy tale theories, just use the bottom line statistic of on base percentage. If Jay has the highest on our team, put him high in the lineup. Oscar has to learn to fend for himself. If he cant get the job done, send him down to AAA for more seasoning. Don’t baby him by putting Jay behind him, because high on base guys should be high in any lineup.

    This reminds me of Mike holding back use of Choate in Pittsburg because he thought Hurdle would counter with a right swinger. Mike immobilizes himself by thinking too much. Bat Jay high, Wong low, don’t attempt useless favors for Oscar.

    • blingboy says:

      I think the master plan is that Wong bats second and Jay will not be a starter, if on the team at all. (Ellis was told that Wong was the starter and playing time would be scarce. Bourjos was told no such thing.) This was not a problem when Jay was not hot early on. (Due to the bench time in favor of Bourjos). Now that the Bourjos experience is over and Jay is hot it is a problem.

      Mike is not the type to deftly respond to current reality. He has no idea what to do with one of the hottest hitters in the league. There is really no way to plausibly argue that point. Mo is smart enough to recognize this sad fact. He will have to break the news to Bill, just like with Wiggy. I think his approach should be that he desperately needs another special assistant.

      Bill ate around $3.75M spread over a year and a half when the Wiggy mistake was corrected. (A year and a half at $2.5M per.) I doubt Mike makes that much. It will be an easy pill to swallow, spread over 3 years, especially considering the alternative. The batting coaches will have to go as well. It may not be their fault, but they are not helping. That much is obvious.

      If we somehow manage to go deep in post-season it will make for an awkward situation changing out the staff, but Mo will just have to man up.

  2. JumboShrimp says:

    Mo says maybe they will give Wainwright more rest. What goof moved Wainwright up in the rotation in order to make two starts on the last road trip, losses in Philly and Pittsburg? Matheny.

    Baseball players are mortals, even a fine pitcher like Wainwright. If you look after a good pitcher, he will do the job for you. He deserves rest just as much as Miller. If you ride Wainwright into the ground, performance is going to sag. Its not rocket science.

    • Brian Walton says:

      I have to agree. Perhaps the manager is listening too much to his players. I am sure Waino would pitch every fourth day if they would let him. There is a balance to be struck between winning today and remaining relatively intact to fight at the end. The last point is the same area I was going with the one-run article.

  3. Bw52 says:

    Brian
    What about your yearly article about Cards September call-ups? Running a little later than usual isn`t it? Just wondering because you mentioned it on the message board one day that you where working on it.

  4. Bw52 says:

    So far today and last nights game the punchless Cards have been humiliated,mangled and totally sucked.Cards have been outscored 10-3 outhomered 7-0 and generally played like a bunch half-aqss jacklegs.Way to go Cards.That really shows everybody that you are a serious contender.

    • blingboy says:

      The natives might be starting to get restless. I heard a few muted boos on the telecast, but I have a feeling there are some efforts to minimize it over the air. One of my sons at the game is saying he’s surprised to have heard some booing at Busch, it is so unusual. If it gets noticeable, I expect Mike to express outrage and disappointment, at the fans not at the quality of play. As if the customers are not entitled to expect a quality product.

      • crdswmn says:

        Matheny a while back told Derrick Goold (or so he mentioned on Twitter) that he did not believe the media or the fans had any function in holding him or his team accountable. Apparently he believes they are only accountable to themselves (and I assume the higher ups in the organization).

        Nice way to blow off any criticism. “Eh, it’s not your business”.

        • blingboy says:

          I feel sure BDW does not share that view. He is a businessman and surely recognizes that in a smaller market it is imperative to keep the customers satisfied with the product. The civility and patience of the Cardinal fan base does not change that, it only makes the extent of dissatisfaction harder to spot before it gets out of hand.

          • crdswmn says:

            Even yet, I don’t think any dissatisfaction is enough to lead to the demise of Matheny or his coaches. Definitely won’t be any changes while the season is going on.

            Perhaps in the offseason, some coaching changes will be made, but Matheny is here to stay for the duration.

            • blingboy says:

              “.. Matheny is here to stay for the duration.”

              The same as to Allen Craig was a universal truth disputed by no one in Cardinal nation last year. Unlike Mike, Mo, or at least BDW can and will react to reality.

              I have been told by several posters that Matheny will not be replaced this winter. I have not heard a convincing reason why he will not be. IMO, it will take winning the NL pennant to keep him here next year.

        • Brian Walton says:

          Interesting. I had missed that.

  5. Bw52 says:

    If the Cards don`t pull their head out of their ass and start hitting and playing better baseball they are going to be watching the playoffs at home on TV.Pirates are sneaking back in.

  6. Bw52 says:

    How embarrassing will it be when the Cubbies sweep the weekend? So far nothing has happened to make me think Cards even win a game from the Cubbies.

  7. Bw52 says:

    Nice job by Marco Gonzales.Cards finally man up and figure out that its okay to hit the ball OVER THE FENCE.Gonzales did good tonite but can he be a real regular rotation guy……………..I have my doubts…………….unless he picks up a little velocity to go with location I see the bullpen in his future.

  8. JumboShrimp says:

    So the Division is up for grabs during September, a virtual three way tie. The Central Division may contribute both wild card teams.

    One big plus is return of Molina. He adds another steady vet bat, which we need. Since we do not have a monster hitter, we need as many good contributors as possible.
    Another plus is Cruz should not have to play anymore, given the arrival of Pierzynski. Every little advantage counts.

    Tyler Lyons and Marco Gonzales offer interesting alternatives to Masterson. Lyons has had 3 years at AAA and the majors, so is ready. Gonzales has had a strong minor league season, spread among three teams.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      For perspective, Bourjos has a higher OPS than Allen Craig obtained this year. Matheny should play Bourjos a bit more, especially against LHPs, instead of jay. Matheny does not play matchups enough.

      • blingboy says:

        I would play Jay every day while he’s hot. He can play all three outfield positions so it doesn’t have to keep Bourjos on the bench 24/7.

        Not that I care if Bourjos ever sees the light of day.

        • Bw52 says:

          Blingboy.
          Yeah Jay can play all three outfield positions poorly.He`s lousy in CF,he has a rag arm.plainly put; he a poor CF.Not that I care if Jay sees the light of day.He`s a singles hitter who plays a lousy CF and he doesn`t steal enough bases to make a difference to offset his defensive woes.I am glad he has some big hits this year but I hope he`s elsewhere next season.Cards don`t need another singles hitter who plays poor defense.

  9. blingboy says:

    Wow! Two offensive eruptions in a row. Kozma contributes a rocket, Holliday clutch, earthquakes, volcanos, dogs and cats living together . . .

    • Bw52 says:

      I am glad Holliday seems to be getting his power stroke back.Nice comeback by the guys.Today was the first game since Grichuk was recalled that he didn`t get a hit..He is 5 for 16 since his return.

  10. CariocaCardinal says:

    Obviously the worst team of all time ever to be in first place this late in the season (at least if you read this board)

  11. JumboShrimp says:

    Mad Mike got lucky yesterday, we could have suffered a devastating loss at home to the hapless Cubs. Instead, improbably, we rallied from a 5 run deficit.
    Good job by Lackey to grind out 6 innings.

    The benching of Adams for of all people little Descalso may indicate something is hurting with him. Or it indicates Mike is loonier than I can imagine.

    Mikes worst decision yesterday was starting jay in CF versus a LHP. Jay has been hit 14 times, he deserves off days against a southpaw. Meanwhile Bourjos has energy and defense and deserves a spot start. Since we won, it does not matter now, but starting Jay in CF was ill considered and vintage Mike.

    • Bw52 says:

      MM didn`t really have a lot of options……………….I agree Bourjos should have started in CF.As for Descalso at 1B…………Adams been slumping and the only RH bat on the bench was Bourjos or Kozma.Having a short bench forced his hand.Another case of 12 pitchers means having a 5 man bench (4 actually because backup C ).Cards have went with 12 pitchers all year so MM should be ready.It worked out in the end.Cards need to make it a priority this offseason to get a versatile RH hitting or switch-hitting INF reserve (Alexi Casilla,etc) someone who will allow MM a little more options in game.

    • blingboy says:

      Mike can do whatever he wants if we win.

  12. blingboy says:

    We could have a 99 win season.

  13. blingboy says:

    The game story in the P-D mentions Kozma as a candidate for an infield UT spot next year. That didn’t take long.

    (Not that I mind if he wants to reprise his 2012)

  14. Bw52 says:

    Another comeback win.Holliday finally hitting his pay rate.Nice going Cards.It seems like Cards have had more comeback wins in the last couple of weeks than the whole previous part of the season.Maybe Brian`s crack researcher can find out.

  15. crdswmn says:

    The Cardinals have played better baseball the last 3 games. That’s encouraging.

    But they are going to have to keep doing it, keep scoring runs and winning games. No more surges and then regressing like they have done all season.

    When they open up a substantial lead on the second place team, then I will be a believer. I am just not ready to get out the streamers and the confetti. I have seen too much screwing up all season to buy into this team as a World Series contender yet.

  16. blingboy says:

    What, no rehab assignment for Ellis?

    kkkkk

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