Mulder’s rehab turns into relapse

Pass the tums, please. Here’s a look at Mulder’s line for Memphis tonight: 92 pitches, 50 for strikes, 4 innings, 7 hits, 5 runs, 4 earned, 5 walks, 3 K’s and a homerun. 2 of the hits were doubles, 2 groundouts to 5 fly outs.

Mulder is done. It’s hard to believe that 5 seasons ago Mulder was a serious Cy Young contender and through 3 seasons Mulder was in the top 10 in the league in WHIP. It’s sad. Mulder seems like a nice, quiet guy and I think that gets confused with some as a lack of fire. I’m not so sure Mulder lacks fire, but he’s been lacking something in terms of ability since the All Star break of 03. As much as I’d like to blame Billy Beane for peddling damaged goods, there’s something to be said about the front office here. I don’t know if the scouts didn’t do their job in breaking down the 2nd half swoon, or if the front office just had to have their "big name"  and refused to listen, but now it’s time to forget this whole fiasco has ever happened and move on. (How is Danny Haren doing these days? That good, huh?)

I posted earlier this week regarding an interview Bernie Miklasz had on his radio show with Dave Duncan, and Duncan said Mulder’s mechanics was messed up when he got here and it’s been a constant battle for him. Perhaps it’s a testament of Duncan’s coaching ability that we actually got a decent 05 from Mulder.

Ride the rollercoaster

And we call Jason Marquis Bipolar Betty? We’re all going to be needing our meds from watching this team play. They fill you with joy and the break your heart. I’m riding the wave of happy! happy! joy! joyland for now after a bottom of the 9th victory this afternoon. Like most of you working schmoes, I was not able to watch the game live but I did record it and it was one of the more exhilarating times I’ve had listening to something that was already long decided.

  • Who da thunk 2 pain in the butt cast-offs like Weaver and Lohse matching up against each other would turn into a pitcher’s duel?
  • How many times has Adam Wainwright come up big in high leverage situations? He came up with a huge K with the runner on 3rd and no outs and luck was probably on his side on the liner to Duncan.
  • Albert had a nice pair of web-gems. People keep saying he’s going to win a Gold Glove someday, I think someday could be this season. Acoording to FRAR (Fielding Runs Above Replacement, Albert’s glove has been worth 17 fielding runs above Joe AAAA in 99 games. In case you’re not familiar with that metric, let’s just say that’s pretty darn good.
  • Duncan continues to tear up the Reds, setting up the "pee in our pants, it’s Albert I guess we should walk him" routine. And that of course set up the walk off single by Rolen, who tied the game in the first place with his solo. Woo-hoo!

I’d like to stay this excited, but the Cubs are coming to town. 

Whoa! Jimmy’s feelin’ dizzy!

Per Bernie Miklasz-

From Joe Strauss, who is on now…(have at it, poachers)…(That would be me here.)

This could be a big deal…

At least, Edmonds has a serious post-concussion syndrome…

not in lineup tonite…not sure when he will play again…

could be diabetes, hypoglycemia…other serious illnesses… checking everything…. team concerned…. ran a battery of tests today, including a vision exam.

Edmonds didn’t even know — a day after — when he came out of the game last night … he thought it was the second or third inning….can’t see very well… had a hard time seeing the ball last night… driving home last night, couldn’t see the traffic signs.

Edmonds talked to Strauss about 15 minutes ago… says he’s really mystified and troubled.

The dizziness is why Edmonds was pulled out of the game last night. Many of you may know post-concussion syndrome is what shelved Mike Matheny for the rest of the season, but as a catcher I’d imagine he’s taken a lot more blows to the head the Jim Edmonds. Here’s the prognosis on Post Concussion Syndrome from Wikipedia:

For most patients, post concussion symptoms go away within a few days to several weeks after the original injury occurs. In others, symptoms may remain for three to six months. In a small percentage of patients, symptoms may persist for years or may be permanent. If symptoms are not resolved by one year, they are likely to be permanent. However, the prognosis for PCS is generally considered excellent, with total resolution of symptoms in the large majority of cases.

If a patient receives another blow to the head after a concussion but before concussion symptoms have gone away, there is a slight risk that he or she will develop the very rare but deadly Second Impact Syndrome (SIS). In SIS, the brain may rapidly swell and be damaged.

So as you can see, this could be a few days, or it could be a long, lingering problem. It’s not out of the realm of possible that we don’t see Jimmy for a while, maybe even the rest of the season. We’ll just have to wait and see. Corey Koskie of the Brewers has suffered the same thing, and hasn’t played a game since July 5th. Hopefully it’s not anything out of the ordinary bad. This was caused by Edmonds running into the wall trying to rob Joe Crede of the White Sox of a HR 6/21. If you remember, that’s when the White Sox put a giant noogie on Marquis. The score was already 9-3 before Crede put the Sox up by 7. Ugh. I appreciate the hustle and all but oy. That just plain stinks. I guess we’ll now have to endure a center field manned by So Taguchi and Timo Perez.

I’d be remiss to not say that Carp was nothing short of brilliant last night. Nice to see Belliard bust of his slump as well. I’ll be recording Reyes outing tonight, can’t wait to see how he does.

Dave Duncan on 1380

I got to listen to Dave Duncan being interviewed on the radio on Bernie Miklasz’s show today. I found Duncan very forthcoming and informative with the mess going on with the rotation. Bernie’s got the lowdown at the Pressbox, be sure to check it out in full.

What interested me the most was what Duncan had to say about Anthony Reyes and the 2 seam fastball of doom that I thought was ruining Reyes. In a nutshell, Duncan said that big leaguers feast on pitches up, and he thought the 2 seamer would benefit Reyes in getting the ball down in the zone and getting quick outs. Dunc said Reyes hasn’t taken to it (*big shock*). However, believe it or not, Duncan actually is fine with that. He just wants Reyes to keep the ball down. He also wants him to learn to mix things up better with his pitch selection. Just looking at Reyes’s last couple of outings, and the results he’s got, we’re seeing that. So there goes my conspiracy theory….

Dunc also noted that he’s working with Reyes on learning the cutter. That’s something worth watching. Anyway, I was very encouraged with what Dunc had to say about young Reyes.

There’s a lot of other stuff regarding Mulder, Weaver, Marquis and a possible shakeup there, so again head over to Bernie’s to get the rest of the skinny. Oh, and if I were to guess, when Mulder comes back, based on what I heard DD say, I’d have to think Marquis is in fact the odd man out when Mulder gets back. Seems like they’ve had it with his inconsistency.

Pardon me while I stand up and boo

Baghead Not only did Marquis probably save his job by throwing a semi decent game while simultaneously re-asserting himself as the NL gopherball leader, we just got swept by the lowly Buccos. The Cardinals scored 3 runs the whole series against a team that has been allowing 5.1 runs per. It’s not like we haven’t had baserunners, so I gotta believe the offense will turn around but that doesn’t matter right now, what matters is the L’s getting thrown up in the standings.

And we now lead the league in plunkings (64).There’s a sick side of me that is starting to root for this team to fail. These bums just don’t belong in October playing like this and the sooner the offseason can come the better. The front office has got a lot of work to do this winter, and if the ownership thinks it can handcuff Jocketty again and maintain the fanbase it’s got another thing coming. I need to see some changes here, or else I’ll find something else to do with my time other then yelling at the TV and kicking the cats. (Quick, call the ARF foundation!) I’m not trying to be fairweather, I just think that a team that has solid resources ("small market" notwithstanding) along with a solid core in place like Pujols, Carpenter and Rolen has no reason to be in the fight of it’s life to fend off over-achieving weenies like the Cincinnati Scrap Heapers featuring Adam Dunn and Ryan Freel. If the ownership thinks they can sell me baseball strictly based on hokiness and ghosts of the past with no real substance, then maybe I should just forget it. 

LaRussa had a quote at the official site about fans not going over to football with a Iowadm_1 close division race. I don’t even consider myself a big football fan, but I’m actually looking forward to football this fall, as it will be a nice change from watching frustating baseball 6 days a week.

I guess no one’s putting a gun to my head. Okay so no, I probably won’t give up on the Cards, even though many of the players seem to be giving up on themselves. I guess it’s gotta get much worse then this for me to denounce ‘Cardinalism’. I’ve seen crappier baseball and have been no worse for the wear. It’s just very disheartening to see this team get it’s head kicked in by the worst team in the National League, and that’s not to mention we can’t seem to figure out the rival Cubs, who we play this week.

In defense of Ronnie Belliard

I admit it. I was on the Free Hector Luna bandwagon. But since fans and writers alike are beginning to bomb on Ronnie Belliard and dismissing him as a non-hustling, non-hitting fat piece of poop I feel compelled to state a fact: That fact is that Ronnie Belliard does not ****, and in the end, this trade actually could make some sense. I know it’s been dismissed as not one of Jocketty’s finer deals, and I see the logic but I really think people are overvaluing Hector Luna.

The facts are is Hector hit .263/.335/.384 over his 6 year minor league career. Between 02-03 he posted a decent .738 and a .727 OPS but it wasn’t good enough for the Tribe to decide to put him on their 40 man so the Cardinals scooped him up. We all remember 04 where Luna hit like he belonged in the minors, but we did look like he had the potential to be a decent utility player. He couldn’t beat out Abe Nunez out of spring training in 05 and went down to Memphis where he hit .224. He was only called up out of neccessity and something seemed to click as he hit .285/.344/.409. He did benefit from some very good luck as his BABIP (BA of balls in play) was .342.

The story is the same for Luna in 06, where he hit well .292/.355/.417, but that BA seems to be fluky with a BABIP of .330. That’s pretty high considering Luna’s a groundball hitter.

I’m not trying to trash Hector Luna. I think he could be a decent regular in the future if things break right for him, but he wasn’t going to get the chance to be one here in St. Louis. And I think we should be using the same healthy measure of skeptism we take with Chris Duncan, and that is his minor league numbers have not forecasted greatness, and while he hit well in limited duty over the last 2 seasons, I think much of that has to do with LaRussa spotting Luna well against lefties. Since coming over to Cleveland, he’s hit for a .374 OPS in 25 plate appearances, so I’m sure some fans are moaning over losing Belliard for a piece of poop just as we are fussing over giving up Luna for Fat Deuce.

Now to Belliard. The trade does not make sense if Belliard is indeed a rental, but if he’s not if it’s true that the Cardinals are interested in resigning him then it doesn’t seem so bad. Belliard has posted VORP’s of 16.6, 24 and 29.9 (06-04). That’s good for 6th, 6th, and 3rd among all AL 2nd baseman. He projects okay over the next 2 seasons, about as good as the other available second baseman available this winter like Ray Durham, Todd Walker, Adam Kennedy and Mark Loretta.

I guess I’m just tired of hearing about how Belliard is worthless and how’s ruining this team. Let’s give him more then 10 games before we make this judgment. And I admit, I wonder he’d would’ve been received better by some fans if he didn’t have braids and wear his uni baggy.

Why I’m optimistic about Chris Duncan

After another big game for Chris Duncan Thursday, message boards went abuzz as Cardinal fans were jumping on the Dunc bandwagon and are ready to anoint him as the next Cardinal star, while others are less hopeful. I don’t think he’s a star, but here’s a little reason for a positive outlook for the coach’s son.

In 1000 Minor League at bats, Duncan’s contact rate has been 74% (AB-K/AB), which is mediocre. His contact rate in the majors before his last call up was even worse, 62%. Since he’s been back up this July, his contact rate is 83%, which is about league average. Why the jump?  According an article in July by Joe Strauss, McRae is trying to get Duncan to swing "out, not up". The emphasis, which I think is a very good one, is to get Duncan to staying in the zone longer and hitting line drives instead of running into the occasional homerun. Running into the occasional homerun seems to fit Duncans minor track record of 100’s of strikeouts, and 16 homer seasons here, and a 20 homer season there coupled with mediocre batting averages.

If the change is to stay, he still isn’t going to continue to hit .307 but .270 could be a real possibility. Couple that with his average to above average plate discipline and good power and I’m thinking a .270/.340/.480 season could be a achievable as soon as 2007. I’m not sold it will happen, mind you, just saying it could happen. Interestingly, PECOTA’s top comparables are George Scott, Derrek Lee and Nick Johnson. The last 2 are pretty lofty company, the Sawx’s "Boomer" seems the most similiar out of the 3. If you ask me for a comp, I’m thinking Chris Shelton of the Detroit Tigers, who recently was ousted to AAA in favor of the veteran Sean Casey. Shelton’s streaky, can be victimized by K’s but has decent power and walk rates. Dunc’s 25, Shelton’s 26. Shelton doesn’t need to be platooned, Dunc probably does.

All in all, I do think he can be more then a .250 hitter that many have projected him to be given the McRae factor. But it’s something he needs to stick to, and not go back into swing for the fences mode.