A series win at Wrigley, very nice. Perhaps should’ve been a sweep, but I’ll take it. Just a few thoughts on the game, in bullet point fashion:
- I’ve gone from being a Dunc optimist starting to be a Dunc believer. As the season goes on, those HR swings are getting to be more and more beautiful. He’s not longer falling to his knees when he takes a good cut, and it doesn’t seem to matter if the pitch is a fastball or curve, up in the zone or below his knees, he can go yard at anytime. Whether it’s just a hot streak or what, it’s getting harder and harder to believe that he’s not for real. The name ‘Francouer’ comes to mind when you think of mid-season rookie hot streaks , but the difference here is that Duncan actually can show some restraint and selectivity at the plate. Hey, he played good defense today as well. Dunc’s win probability added is 1.01, 3rd among Cardinal hitters behind Pujols and Rolen.
- Who wouldn’t mind having Rule 5 pick Juan Mateo back? That first inning was rough, but as the game went on he looked very sharp. Cubs fans should be pretty excited about his progress from here. With all the pitching woes in the rotation, a guy like Mateo would be nice to have around now. Stupid visa issues!
- Carpenter continues to be nails. He’s just such a contrast from the rest of the rotation. For example, yesterday in the 4th inning Suppan just wilted under the pressure he was under, looking for that perfect pitch to get him out of the jam and taking forever to get with Molina on the signs. Carpenter had a man on first and second due to a silly error on Juan E. But rather then getting rattled, he went right after Nevin and induced a DP. I know the rest of the staff may not have Carp’s talent, but you wish they had his confidence and mental-toughness.
- Is Yadier Molina the most unlucky player in baseball? He stung the ball hard in 3 of his at bats, but to the fielders for outs except for his double. According to PrOPS, (Projected OPS), Yadier should be batting .288 with a .740 OPS. While that’s not terrific, it’s a far cry from his .217/.273/.329 numbers he has going into today’s game. (For those of you who aren’t familiar with PrOPS, it’s developed by JC Bradbury from The Hardball Times and the blog Sabernomics. It’s a formula for predicting what a player’s OPS should be in the future based on batted balls, strikeouts, home runs and walks. ) From watching Yadi, it seems like he hits the ball pretty hard, just to the guys with the gloves. If he could ever .280/.740, coupled with his defense, and the outcry to get rid of Molina would be silenced.
- Hand it to Juan for jumping on a mistake and driving it a long way for a 3 run homer. He ain’t a world beater, but he does have his uses.