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.
Thank you Jimmy Edmonds. The Cardinal’s win expectancy with the bases loaded with 2 outs was 65%. Had that ball Prince Fielder hit landed and got past Jimmy, the Brewers would’ve scored at least 2 runs and the Cardinal’s win expectancy then would’ve dropped to 30.5%. So that one diving grab was worth +34.5% of win expectancy added and it stood as the difference in the game.
The Anthony Reyes saga continues. Reyes threw a lot more 4 seam fastballs which set up his change-up nicely. The results:6 stikeouts in 5 innings, and 2 ground outs to 7 fly outs. That’s a much different ratio then what we’ve seen before with the strict demand that Reyes throw the 2 seamer. Reyes walked 3 batters, and 2 of those walks I found pretty troubling. When Reyes through his 1-hitter against the White Sox, he threw strikes no matter who was at the plate. The walk to 5 pitch walk to Prince Fielder seemed to be out of fear, and the 4 pitch walk to Damian Miller was inexcusable. Where’s the fearlessness we’ve seen before? Horton’s remark after the walk to Miller was that maybe watching the nibblers on the staff is rubbing off on him. Hmm…
Other then that, the 3 runs he allowed were a little unlucky. Geoff Jenkins hit the ball right on the nose all right, but I was suprised to see it stay fair. And if we didn’t have a hobbit at SS, Brady Clark’s liner might’ve not landed for an RBI single. Okay, so both balls were hit hard, just saying with a little better luck (and smarter defense..yeah, Chris, I’m talking about you) things could’ve been better.
But what really got my attention was the difference between Bennett behind the plate tonight and Molina behind the plate. Molina was spaz behind the plate, jumping around and setting up way inside/and outside. And all the mound visits. I think I remember Bennett visit the mound once if that. Mostly, he just sat back relaxed ready to receive the ball. I think too many teams place too high a value on how a catcher handles his pitching staff, and catcher’s ERA seems like a pretty meaningless stat in my opinion, but the contrast between this start and Reyes’s last was night and day. And that’s to say nothing about the pitch selection. I thought Bennett called a good game for the most part, though I still saw a few 2 seam fastballs too many. Most of the time they were balls, and one I seem to remember Kevin Mench slapping past Ronnie Belliard. (Somebody needs to chart this stuff, or at least go in with me to pay BIS to do it.) But I’m sure the issue of throwing the sinker will continue. It took Reyes 97 pitches to work through 5 innings, and I’m sure that Dave Duncan will insist on using it to get the quickie groundouts. There’s just no way around it.
Nice to see Pujols break out. I guess that elbow is feeling at least a little bit better. And memo to Ned Yost:Don’t even think about writing David Bell’s name in the lineup card tomorrow.
Okay, so there is some panic in Cardinal Nation over Anthony Reyes. He’s not ready, he’s not good, overrated, send him back to AAA, blah blah blah. I don’t know if those fans and myself were watching the same game, as I didn’t see a bad pitcher on the mound today. Okay, the 5 walks were weird, but 3 of those walks were to Aramis Ramirez. 2 out of the 3 looked like the "unintentional" intentional walk variety, as Yadier Molina was setting up waaay outside and AmRam has been swing the bat very well lately. On the 2 walks to John Mabry, it appeared they were trying to get the slider low and in on Mabry, and Reyes was just skipping them in there and missing badly. That’s not a way to pitch a .217 hitter.
Of the hits that the Cubs got, the only hard hit ball I remember was Juan Pierre’s triple. The other hits looked like weak little dinkers that found a place to land. Reyes velocity looked fine, I saw the fastball hit 92 on several occasions. The problem was is I didn’t see enough of them, and I didn’t see a single high, riding fastball that we’ve seen before. He was staying down for the most part, and that ain’t the Anthony I know. And it doesn’t do much good if you have a great changeup if you can’t set it up with the fastball.
Really, what I think it boiled down to was pitch selection. I don’t think his location was that bad, really. I saw him hitting Molina’s targets, I just think the targets were bad some times. And the pitches thrown weren’t the right pitches. I saw Cub batters look foolish on several occasions swinging way out in front of the changeup. But I also saw them at times taking it like they knew it was coming. And the only pitches that he missed badly were junky 2 seamers or sliders that were skipped in.
Where is this coming from? I’m still in blame LaRussa mode. I still remember Tony this spring saying he didn’t like Reyes because he was "up in the zone" too much. And I seem remember reading TLR say Reyes "couldn’t be successful" without the 2 seamer. If Reyes is not good, how in 240 innings of work in the minors did he strike out 10 batter per 9 innings in the minors, while only allowing 2 walks per 9 and allowing less then a HR per 9? Sure, the big leagues are tougher, but pitchers who have had that sort of success usually translate into success in the majors. He’s not hurt as far as we know, and he’s not a mental case. So what’s the problem?
Ryan at the Diaspora makes an excellent point. If you aren’t going to let him pitch to his strengths, why bother keeping him? Let the kid do his thing. Reyes ain’t broke, so why try and fix him? If he can’t be himself in a Cardinal uni, then let him be himself elsewhere and at least get a good return on him.
Sad and maddening.
EDIT: According to Will Carroll, Walt pitched Reyes and others to the Fish for Dontrelle and was turned down. Bummer. We could pick up Shawn Green after the non-waiver deadline…yippee. That’s the big bat? Sigh. Green wouldn’t be awful, but I don’t see him as the answer, either.
But you can’t walk Brad Ausmus. He was what, like 1 in his last 44? I don’t understand it. He’s walked more hitters in a few games in the bigs then he did in like 10 starts in AAA. I know this ain’t the PCL, but stick to your strengths young Reyes.
I don’t know if it’s Dunc-ism that’s changed his approach, or it’s just Reyes stuggling with his command. It’s not like he’s pitching a terrible game but where did the tenaciousness go?
Okay, I’m really sick of getting teased. Earlier this morning, the Post Dispatch ran a story that Ponson was getting sent to the bullpen. Due to his less then stellar performances as of late, I was assuming this was a permanent move and that Reyes would finally make his way into the rotation for good. But I guess I forgot for a moment that Tony La Russa manages this team. Here’s a blurb from the Cardinal’s official site.
La Russa minimized talk about Anthony Reyes making another spot start. Reyes, Triple-A Memphis’ ace, has pitched very well in two Major League starts this season, registering a 1-0 record and a 2.25 ERA. Reyes, 4-1 with a 3.04 ERA and a 65/8 strikeout to walk rate in Triple-A, threw on Friday night for Memphis, allowing four runs in six innings, one of his worst starts of the campaign. He struck out three and didn’t walk a batter. "Evidently, he’s not ready," La Russa said.
Oh, come on! Has Tony looked at his other starts, like say, earlier this same week? So one bad start is enough to keep you damned to AAA? When will this stupidity end? Don’t get me wrong, La Russa is far from a stupid manager, and I’d consider myself a fan of his overall. But this statement that Reyes isn’t ready over one game….well I’m just at a loss here. If I were Anthony, I’d be pretty ticked off that my efforts were consistently being undermined. If Reyes was on just about any other team, he would’ve been handed the job long ago and told it was his to lose.
So if Reyes isn’t starting this week against the White Sox, who is? Ponson seems to be in the doghouse, and not just for his poor pitching. Apparently, according to Bernie Miklasz at the P-D, the other starters have taken exception to the fact that he doesn’t do any pregame running, and so have the coaches. Plus, he’s put on weight since the season started. I’m sure this has to do with the fact he can’t pitch more then 5 innings, and he’s not overpowering anybody. At spring training, Ponson looked like he was in better shape and he displayed a good attitude. What’s changed? What an extremely lousy way to treat the team that gave you a second chance. Miklasz predicts that Ponson is on the way out, and if what he says is true, Ponson’s exit will is more then well deserved.
EDIT: More from Bernie: He says Ponson isn’t happy about the demotion and wouldn’t be suprised if he asks for his release. Wow. Didn’t he say in the spring he was willing to do whatever it took? Nice.
On another note, Ruly at I Bleed Cardinal Red has joined the Mlblog family. Stop by and say hello.
I’ll take advantage of the rain delay to post here…
First of all, it’s Father’s Day! I’d like to say thanks to my Dad for all he taught me and his support. And if you’re a dad, be sure to kick back, relax and enjoy yourself today. Hopefully, we’ll get a sweep today.
Juan Encarnacion has officially got the heat off of him yesterday, hitting 2 homeruns. I don’t know if Juan has finally found his acceptance with the fans now or not, because I don’t think he took his curtain call last night. But he sure deserved it with the way he’s stepped up his game lately. Here’s a peak at his 2 homeruns via Hitracker.
True distance of 365 for the first one.
And 412 for #2.
Well, I’m sure most of you have heard this by now, but Ponson is out of the rotation. I’m sure it’s pretty safe to assume Reyes will be taking his spot. Inside, I’m dancing a jig for joy that Anthony will finally assume his well deserved spot. Out of all the struggling starters, Ponson going to the pen makes the most sense. He’s only averaging around 5 innings per start. And as the oldbirdwatcher pointed out at Vivaelbirdos, after a good start, Ponson has now left a pretty big (and round) crater out there in the ground, as he has come back to earth pretty hard.
- Starts 1-3 BA .263, OPS .662, SLG .367
- Starts 4-6 BA .345, OPS .957. SLG .560
- Starts 7-9 BA .580, OPS 1.571, SLG 1.000
I could see him doing well in the bullpen, where he’s much less exposed and could be used in long relief or to get a groundball when needed.
Hopefully the rain clears up soon….
Anthony Reyes had another great game, allowing 2 hits, 1 walk, 0 runs and striking out 9 over 6 and 2/3 innings pitched. He now owns a 2.77 ERA with 62 strikeouts to 8 walks over 65 innings. There’s just nothing more left to prove for Anthony, and you gotta believe that with the struggles the rotation has been having that room must be made for him and soon. I wouldn’t be shocked to see a space open up here before the month is out, and I’d be shocked (and very irritated) if one wasn’t made for him before the trade deadline. There’s a report that the Cardinals were interested in swapping Mulder for the Yankees’ Robinson Cano, but weren’t interested. I guess I could see that happening, as Cano would bring some stability and affordability to the keystone, but he seems to me he’s Aflie Soriano lite. Bad glove, mediocre on base skills. But he’s still young and could improve his eye, and word is his defense is coming around. But it’s all moot now, as the Yanks aren’t interested in moving him.
Word has it from the Beaver County Times that the new asking price for Craig Wilson, who I posted about earlier today, is Adam Wainwright. Dream on, Littlefield. I guess that’s how these things work, ask high to start. Hopefully, the Pirates will settle on some good but lesser minor league talent, a la Chris Lambert.
Or maybe they won’t budge, which could substantiate this rumor regarding a swap for Springfield closer Mark Worrell for the Met’s Victor Diaz. Worrell has saved 15 games, but his ERA is inflated (5.27) due to some big innings and long-balls. He still has about a 3:1 K/BB ratio, so I think he’ll do better, but now may a good time to swap him. Diaz is only hitting .245/.310/.371 in AAA Norfolk, I’m not sure what’s going on with him. He’s not going to get any play with the Mets anytime soon, but he wasn’t likely going to get much time being blocked by Xavier Nady and now Lastings Milledge, as Nady is on the DL. Looking at Victor Diaz’s 5 year PECOTA projection, he’s very comparable to Wilson, only with a few less stikeouts and a lot less walks. Both of their 5 year forecasts see their EQA’ in the .277-.287 range, which is pretty decent. Diaz is only 24 years old, and would be a cheaper and more long-term option, and PECOTA sees Diaz healthier as being the younger, and therefore worth about 3-4 wins above replacement the next 5 years. My only concern is why he isn’t hitting right now? Is he hurt? Pouting because he’s exiled in AAA? If there are any Met’s fans out there who happen to read this, please feel free to enlighten me.