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Cardinal Talk: KXnO FOX Sports Radio: Last Homestand

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’ recent problems in Cincinnati as they slip back toward the pack in the National League Central Division and then set up the final homestand of the season, starting with the Colorado Rockies. Next will be the Milwaukee Brewers and those troublesome Reds again. Also mentioned was Giancarlo Stanton’s gruesome hit by pitch in the face.

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 (6:39)

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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 “Cardinal Talk: KXnO FOX Sports Radio: Last Homestand”

  1. JumboShrimp says:

    15 games left, 9 at home, 6 on the road. I hope can eke out 9 wins, get us to 89 for the season. We need to beat up the Rockies, that would get things off to a good beginning.

  2. JumboShrimp says:

    At least Scruggs is playing tonight, though so is Ellis, five million dollars of nothing.

  3. JumboShrimp says:

    It has been a rough 2014 for Ellis. Before this season, he has socked 105 home runs, good for a middle infielder. But this year, goose-egg in the HR column. Miserable failure.

    Whats his OPS? .476 in 174 at bats. Whew, what a stink.

    Who has been worse, Old Wiggy or Old Ellis? Didn’t Wiggy cost $5MM over two years? Old Ellis is squandering $5MM in just one year.

    One good thing about Old Wiggy was he was so bad, Mo tossed him in the dumpster circa July of last year. The biggest problem with Ellis is he is still around, though he has been awful. Because Ellis is still around and Mad Mike uses him, I would have to vote that Ellis has been worse than Wigginton. Its a tough competition and Wigginton was miserable, but Ellis is even more damaging.

  4. JumboShrimp says:

    Exciting, the Rockies are starting another lefty tonight. It would be nice to see Grichuk and Scruggsie smack some long ones.

  5. Bw52 says:

    Adams and Jay starting.Bourjos and Scruggs ride the bench. WTH is MM thinking? Is he thinking? Jeeez

    • crdswmn says:

      Jay hits lefties well. So does Wong. Adams doesn’t. Matheny apparently never looks at splits.

      Grichuk is the flavor of the month. Bourjos went 0-2 last night, so he will ride the pines for a while. Of course he rides the pines for a while after he hits well too, so it makes little difference. He makes a good bench ornament apparently.

      Matheny rarely repeats a lineup, even one that wins.

      As for the thinking part, the answer is…..only in a manner that no one can understand. But I wouldn’t want to understand it because it would scare the crap out of me if I did.

  6. JumboShrimp says:

    If we make the playoffs, Kozma should displace Ellis in a Wong platoon. Pete did hit a bit better this year at AAA.
    Adams is not competitive against LHPs. We should go with a Scruggs platoon. We would have to do this to advance much in the playoffs. We have to be able to mount some offense. Scruggs may be a surprise, but any team can use an unexpected guy to contribute.

    While Mad Mike can make odd decisions about lineups and relief pitchers, he seems to react to criticism from Bernie and the Post Dispatch. This is one saving grace and cause for hope, however faint. The Cards can be shamed publicly by the press into smarter personnel management.

  7. JumboShrimp says:

    The 9th inning reminds me of another pet peeve, the low success rate on umpire appeals. The Cards seem incompetent on ump appeals. Its an embarrassment. This reflects on, guess who, Madcap Mike.

  8. crdswmn says:

    So I am watching the Cards game at the same time I am following the Cubs/Pirates game on Gameday. Both games were almost exactly in the same place at the same time. The Cubs got the last out less than a minute before the Cardinals did.

    The Cubs also had a big lead that they let get away from them in the later innings. The Cardinals’ game was closer though at the end. Too close, thanks to Matheny’s bumbling and stumbling with the bullpen. Why wasn’t Maness warming up sooner? Even Dan and Al were incredulous, and they are usually Matheny apologists.

    Every day that goes by I get more frustrated and disgusted with Mike Matheny. I don’t know if I can take 3 more years of him.

    • crdswmn says:

      That was supposed to be Dan and Ricky, not Dan and Al. Pretty much interchangeable to me. 😉

    • Bw52 says:

      Using Rosey the night before with a 4 run lead was a dumb move by MM.

      • Brian Walton says:

        Didn’t they have a four-run lead both nights? Rosenthal had not pitched in six days.

        • crdswmn says:

          This is my problem with Matheny. He can’t find a workable middle ground between over use and under use. He is mired in this managing by muscle memory and role playing.

          Use players, both pitchers and position players, by their strengths. Look at the data and figure out which are the best situations to use players in order to maximize their talents. He gets bogged down in left or right handedness and SSS batter v pitcher match ups that don’t have any value. Have a fly ball pitcher like Shelby Miller? Put your best OF defense out there. Ground ball pitcher? Use your best infield defense. Study the opposing starting pitcher. What are his strengths and weaknesses and then put your lineup out there that best exploits those weaknesses. Batters have tendencies, know those and use them.

          There are mounds and mounds of data available to use. It isn’t that hard. Matheny manages by the seat of his pants and by hunches and feelings. This is a bad way to manage.

          • blingboy says:

            The TLR/DD duo has a certain appeal right now.

            I am on record predicting that Mike’s job will be in jeapordy unless the Cardinals reach the WS. The reason I believe that is because I am certain Mo is astute enough to see the same things you do. MM must possess attributes that appealed to Mo at the time, but it seems obvious that Mo was not looking for the right attributes. The Cardinals method of fielding their major league roster is not going to change because it is the result of a decade of work by the organization. It is not going to adapt to the attributes of the manager. A manager with the right attributes to fit the job is necessary. I believe Mo has a better idea about that now as we all do.

            It is true that the team is atop the Division and about 3 games off the pace for the best record in the NL, but this does not preclude action to address a glaring weakness.

            • crdswmn says:

              I can’t agree that Matheny’s job is in jeopardy. I just don’t see it. Regardless of how Mozeliak may or may not feel about MM’s managing (for all I know he is just fine with it) there are just too many downsides to firing a manager who is successful on the surface (we can argue what, if any, part of the team’s success he can legitimately take credit for).

              Even if Mozeliak is not happy with MM’s managing, perhaps he feels he can deal with it without resorting to something as drastic as firing him. Remember that Mozeliak has his own people to answer to, and we don’t know how the DeWitts et al, feel about Matheny.

  9. JumboShrimp says:

    Matheny has a contract through 2017. This makes the bar for removal high. He probably will be retained for 2015-16 at a minimum. If some bad things happen during the next two years, then they might consider replacing him for 2017. I doubt they would eat more than one year on his contract.
    For 2015, the Cards could look to rejigger the coaching staff. If Mike is making tactical mistakes, this could reflect on the bench coach. The Cards could look to make a change there. If he is not handling pitchers well, this could reflect on the pitching coach.
    They definitely need to figure out a brand new formula on appeals of umpire calls. During 2014, these appeals have made the Cards look like utter stumble-bums. Its bad for fan morale.

  10. Bw52 says:

    If any coach feels the heat from this seasons anemic offense it could be Mabry and Aldrete.But then maybe MM can say offense was down a bit everywhere this season and ownership might agree.Pitching has been more than adequate and has kept the Cards banjo bats in many games.So pitching coach should be fine.

  11. Bw52 says:

    Nice job by Marco Gonzales.A win is a win is a win.Peralta has been a fine signing.I think there was a andy Choate sighting today and also Mark Ellis for the 3rd game in a row.

  12. JumboShrimp says:

    Something is amiss with Adams. Not even Mad Mike would bench Adams for zero HR Descalso unless Adams is not able to go. Adams presents two problems: can’t hit lefties and he is hurting.

  13. Bw52 says:

    I thought Scruggs might get a start today at 1B.Descalso had a couple of hits but I wonder if all the Ellis ABs is to get him ready for the playoffs.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      The Cards have a tendency to use an over the hill veteran on a playoff roster instead of a AAA graduate. In 2009, DeRosa was the 3rd baseman and had a bad wrist. For the playoffs, instead of adding healthy David Freese from AAA to backup DeRosa, the Cards went with Troy Glaus, who had been injured nearly the whole season and could no longer throw the ball from 3B. Glaus had a big contract, so he got the nod and struck out three times, while the Cards were ignominiously eliminated in 3 games. Freese had to wait until 2011 to become a WS hero.

      There is potential for the same kind of nonsense in 2014. Ellis, even more than Glaus in 2009, is washed up. The right thing is to leave him off the playoff roster, if we are trying to win. The most useful guy to add instead would be Scruggs, because Adams is hurting plus can’t hit southpaws when healthy. Chances are, however, the Cards will go with Ellis (big contract) or Kozma. Its a shame, but Mo will have to change to do otherwise.

      • Brian Walton says:

        I agree that Ellis would not seem to be among the top 25, but how about we wait for two weeks and see who is healthy and who is not? It may also give us a better chance to see more of Scruggs in the interim. With just seven at-bats and an error in the field so far, he hasn’t exactly earned a roster spot, either.

        • JumboShrimp says:

          The Brewers start three RHPS, but the Reds plan to use a southpaw on Friday. Scruggs has probably seem him already in the minors.
          There is enough data to justify an intelligent decision. Adams is not good versus southpaws, whereas Scruggs hits them well. The two men are perfect for a platoon, at least during post season, when an extra player can be carried.
          And whatever ails Adams, its goiing to still be there in a couple of weeks.

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