Category Archives: St. Louis Cardinals

Chicago Cubs move on to the NLCS


[Box Score]

It’s hard to believe this was the first time the Cubs have clinched a postseason series on Wrigley Field soil in their history. It’s hard to believe that Fernando Rodney and Clayton Richard got holds. I thought the Cubs were in trouble when Travis Wood was on in relief before the fifth frame was completed.

But the Cubs have such star power, and in our opinion their brightest start got the biggest hit.

Anthony Rizzo, with the death blow. It’s nearly a carbon copy of last night’s home run:

Monster home run from forgotten man Javier Baez that swung the entire momentum of the game, while you were driving home from work. Kyle Schwarber with the exclamation point home run that left Wrigley.

Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon were electric in the 8th and 9th. The energy at Wrigley Field was absolutely incredible. This is a team worthy of watching in the NLCS, and they’ve now knocked off the team with the best record in baseball. This is the beginning of a long and glorious run for the Cubs, and it’s good for baseball.



No matter what happens from here, Cubs fans will always have this one night at Wrigley Field. And holy Hell, was that as fun as it looked or what?

The top six players in the Cubs lineup (Fowler, Soler, Bryant, Rizzo, Castro) all hit pretty tremendous home runs deep into the Chicago night. The wind was blowing out, and the Cubs powered past those evil rotten Redbirds from St. Louis 8-6.

Our favorite was definitely the Anthony Rizzo bomb; his first hit in the playoffs:

Sure, the Cardinals hung four runs on Jake Arrieta which is impressive in it’s own right. But Arrieta was nasty enough to strike out nine and get the Cubbies in control of this series.

Tomorrow at 4:37 eastern time when the sun is still in the sky; some late afternoon baseball will against be played at splendid Wrigley Field. We are really hoping this series wraps up tomorrow night and the Cubbies roll onward. Maybe Back to the Future was right all those years ago.

There’s baseball at Wrigley Field Today


One of the most magical days of my life was when I visited Wrigley Field in Chicago. It was an absolutely, picture perfect day from start to finish. That day, we decided that it was one of the most magical places not only in baseball but in all of the world. That day, we decided that the Cubs were not an NL Central evil, but rather something that should be treasured by those who love baseball.

Today, playoff baseball returns to Wrigley Field. It’s the first time since October 2nd, 2008 when the Cubs lost to the Dodgers 10-3. That team was built around Alfonso Soriano, Ryan Theriot, Derek Lee, and Aramis Ramirez. Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano started the first two games of that series. Good old Rich Harden took the loss in game three of that LDS series and the Cubs were swept. This team has a bit better foundation. We knew they would win the other night to ensure at least two games at Wrigley Field.

Tonight at 6:07 PM EST has the makings of a classic: the best pitcher in baseball at the moment Jake Arrieta takes the bump opposing Michael Wacha who is always solid in his own right. The Cubs have a golden opportunity to take control of this series and really as a -210 Vegas odds favorite, something weird is going to have to happen for them not to do so.

And we love it. There’s nothing more boring than the Cardinals grinding out 2-0 wins in the playoffs. It makes us want to move on to another sport. These Cubs however; they’re a breath of fresh air. They’re something new. And it would be good for the sport the longer these guys are alive in the playoffs and that huge market and their rabid fans get to live out the hopes of lifting the curse of the Billygoat and Steve Bartman!

So toast your 312 ale! We’re pulling for the Cubs to do this.

Betting on Baseball Saturday 10/10

A real wiseguy, Jimmy the Greek
A real wiseguy, Jimmy the Greek

Anyone looking for today’s casino bonuses will realize that they can grab the Chicago Cubs as a nice underdog this afternoon in St. Louis. The Cubbies are a +122 underdog currently at the Las Vegas Westgate for instance, with Kyle Hendricks opposing lefty Jaime Garcia.

The Cardinals Cardinal’d the shit out of the Cubs last night. That’s what the Cardinals do. They get home runs from Tommy Pham and great pitching performances from guys like John Lackey who was pumping 95 MPH gas and getting strike calls several inches off the plate. When those things are happening, the public is going to get slaughtered (Jon Lester probably had a huge public backing) and the casino’s and sportsbooks will absolutely slaughter you.

But DO NOT be swayed by all this. The Cubs are a good team. On name recognition sure, more people are going to know 10-6 Jaime Garcia and his 2.43 ERA. Kyle Kendricks is a solid 25-year old pitcher in his own right who has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his last three starts. Meanwhile, Garcia has allowed four or greater earned runs in three of his last four.

This series is going to get evened up today. The Cubs have a lineup with lefties who OPS at a .772 clip against left handed pitching. They can get to Garcia tonight in St. Louis, and they’ll do just enough to get this series to Wrigley all tied up.

It’s hard to believe in all this time, the Cubs and Cardinals met for the first time in the playoffs last evening in their history! I would have missed that trivia question.

Our pick is the Chicago Cubs +122 on the moneyline. Go with the Cubs and make it a winning day.

Go Cubs Go


It’s a Friday night in October. We have nowhere to be, and nowhere to go. The Cubs are playing playoff baseball, tonight against those rotten Redbirds. The only thing that could make this one more picture perfect is if Harry Caray and Bill Murray were toasting at Wrigley Field. Or if the game was being played at Wrigley at all.

The Cubbies think a changing of the guard is taking place in the National League Central. We certainly think they’re the more talented team on paper.

There’s just something that scares us about the Cardinals. They’re pesky. They’ve never needed to be good ‘on paper’ to go to a World Series and ruin an entire October of playoff baseball. They can take over the entire world with Thomas Pham and a can opener.

Just like tonight; it will be a dogfight and probably even a loss for the Cubs. You’ve got John Lackey opposing Jon Lester. Lester is nails in the playoffs. Everything should line up for the Cubs to take game one and get at minimum a sweep or two playoff games at beautiful Wrigley.

Yet we know how this works out for the Cardinals and this time of year. And their Cardinal way bullshit. The Cubs are our playoff horse and we hope they can give us something to really pull for into the next round. Lets end that curse of the Billy Goat together.

One More for the Core


If the Reds are torn apart sometime in the next 48 hours with key members of this core from the playoff run stripped from the roster and fan base, then let it be written that the Redlegs went into the sea of red that is St. Louis and shut out the best team in baseball for the second night in a row, winning 1-0.

Jay Bruce hit his 17th home run of the season off a very good John Lackey, and Aroldis Chapman locked down his 21st save of the season.

It was so baseball. These guys going out and in the midst of all kinds of rumors that have them shipped all over teh globe; they go out and play a sound game to beat a much more sound team.

Anthony DeSclafani threw seven shutout innings and improved to 6-7 on the year. The Reds collected just two hits.

And maybe; just maybe, this is the type of win that tells ownership it’s not time to let the sun set on this group yet. Maybe they look towards next year and aggressively decide that by adding a key arm or two to the rotation, they’ll have the lineup to attempt to make a run at things.

But if not – if they do decide to sell off these guys who were being rumored in deals before the game started tonight – it was perhaps one last signature win to remember them by. It’s the kind you don’t forget.

Miguel Cabrera’s 400th Career Home Run


One of our favorite warriors across baseball has reached a milestone, a night after Adrian Beltre reached the same. He’s 32 years old, and he’s at 400 career big flies.

We’ve always loved the way he’s seemingly quietly gone about his business, overcame the same issues that we all as humans face, played hurt, and just generally went out and mashed.

We’ve all heard the stories of 17-year old Miguel Cabrera down in Venezuela, hitting bombs off big leaguers who were throwing inside on him to intimidate the young man, only to offer him something soft and away that he yanked out of the park.

He’s cut from a different cloth, you see. Miguel Cabrera’s come along once every 30 or 40 years. Or maybe once in a lifetime.

Sometimes a guy like Cabrera gets overlooked because of the Harper’s, or Trout’s, or Bryant’s. It shouldn’t be that way.

When it comes to yoking a baseball – the one he hit today was a blast to dead center in the heart of baseball country, St. Louis; in the rain – there isn’t a man alive who has a more sound fundamental stroke.

And good for the Tigers on beating those rotten, luck-box Redbirds 4-3 in ten innings for the second straight day.



Lordy. Where the Hell did that come from?

Corey Kluber had a historic performance today at Progressive Field, hanging 18 strikeouts on the team with the best record in baseball. He predictably whiffed Mark Reynolds three times in three at-bats. Two first-inning runs were all the Indians needed to coast to a 2-0 win.

Maybe, just maybe this is the game that gets the Tribe going a little bit. And suddenly that little feat of 16 or more strikeouts and zero walks by a pitcher that we mentioned a few days ago has occurred twice within a week.

Baseball can be weird. Very weird.

Are the Cincinnati Reds Good?


[Box Score]

Hold your firesale just a damn minute. Something magical *might* be taking form in the Queen City.

The Reds survived a start by Jason Marquis (he actually, really struck out seven hitters) against the feared St. Louis Cardinals and have now begun the 2015 campaign 4-0 after sweeping the Pirates and a thrilling Friday night victory over the rival Redbirds.

The Reds appear to have their on-field leader back. This is as close as anyone has seen to 2010 Joey Votto in a long time. Votto hit a pair of home runs – the first was a prototype Votto two-run shot to left field to give the Reds a 2-1 lead – and the second was almost the same exact home run to give the Reds a 4-3 lead.

The Cuban came on in the ninth to lock down his 114th save in a Reds uniform, his second of the season, and blew away the final hitter with 101 MPH gas to match what his license plate on his fast car says.

The Reds are winning with timely hitting, quality starts (which seem unlikely to continue), and….. a little bit of luck.

Billy Hamilton is also worth mentioning for a reason why the Reds are winning. He’s getting on base, and he’s stolen eight bases in four games.

Johnny Cueto goes tomorrow afternoon for a chance to start something really special.


It’s Easter, and there’s real, live, counting regular season Baseball at Wrigley Tonight!

First off, happy easter. Second off, HAPPY BASEBALL SEASON!

In just a few short hours, the standings will no longer be stuck on all those goose eggs. I keep thinking about how great it would be to be present at historic torn up Wrigley Field tonight. Getting to see two rivalry teams who I feel will be pretty solid kick things off.

Opening Night has always kind of felt like Christmas Eve to me – even though the first one I remember was Ray Lankford leading off the top of the 1st in 1994 with a bomb off Jose Rijo! How many Reds fans out there remember the Ray Lankford game? He ate them up that night.

And then there was my favorite Opening Night game of all-time, 1997 Yankees-Mariners at the old Kingdome (don’t try to tell me the Kingdome wasn’t beautiful looking on the inside). To an awkward 14-year old kid at the time, Ken Griffey Jr. was a God in baseball cleats. He hit two moonshots that night off David Cone to start the season on a nice even ‘2’ out of the gate. I remember doofus Chris Berman remarking ‘so Ken is on pace for a solid 324 home runs, decent’ or something stupid that Berman says and actually believing that Ken won’t of course get there, but he could hit 100!

Today, I’m sitting at my mom’s house celebrating Easter. I’m thinking about some of the things I like about tonight’s game; I’m pretty excited about Anthony Rizzo getting a piece of Adam Wainwright tonight and getting that rabid Cub crowd fired up. There’s a great read about Rizzo over on ESPN’s newly-designed baseball site that they’ve rolled out just in time for the new season.

I just can’t believe that; yes we’ve made it, and there will be a real game to react to and recap tonight. And every night following for the next six months. And tomorrow will be even better! But we still have tonight! And my mind starts to spin out of control from there.

So for those out there who are like me, enjoy Easter with your families and when that ends; enjoy tonight. Opening Night in baseball is really about celebrating the year to come in the sport that we all love. There’s nothing like it in any sport.

Jason Heyward says the Braves limited him as a hitter


Let me preface this post by saying I have zero doubts you’re about to see the best Jason Heyward you’ve ever seen in 2015. No one; and I mean no one out there has the ability to polish a turd up nicely and have it work out like the damn St. Louis Cardinals. They’re going to find a way to fix this guy and turn him into a really good all around player. He may come close to reaching the lofty expectations scouts once set (and his first half of his rookie season was phenomenal).

But I take issue with Heyward saying the Braves hitting him lead-off limited his power:

When describing how stymied he felt at times batting leadoff for the Atlanta Braves, Gold Glove-winning outfielder Jason Heyward borrowed an analogy from the field. It’s playing long toss and really wanting to cut loose with a full-strength throw but having to hit a target 90 feet away.

“You feel like there’s a governor on you and you’re not letting it ride,” Heyward said. “You have to think of other ways.”

Greg Walker was one of the shittiest hitting coaches in big league history. If you’ve followed the Braves even on a surface level the past few seasons, you know he had his hand in fucking up a number of big league hitters and doing more harm than good to their approach.

Fredi Gonzalez also jerked Heyward around from day one – platooning him with replacement level players and hitting him all over the damn lineup instead of penciling him in the top five and leaving him the Hell alone. This is where I figure Heyward began to get lost deep in his own mind and naturally tinker with his approach which was best in the minors and the first half of his rookie campaign.

But Jason Heyward’s power was stymied because of his own fidgety ass movements in the box, all the movements in his hands and uncomfortable demeanor and stance. If Heyward let a hitting coach change him to the point where he couldn’t really functionally be the player he was, it’s his own fault. I’m pretty sure if he took his own approach out there and succeeded, a hitting coach would do a good job of doing no more than reminding the successful young player of the things he already knew. That’s really the job of a hitting instructor anyways.

Every time I watched a Heyward at-bat the last few years I just couldn’t believe what I saw. His plate discipline had eroded, he was taking fewer walks, swinging at more pitches, neglecting to use the entire field and rarely hitting balls hard. He didn’t handle breaking balls particularly well, leading to a sharp decline in the number of fastballs he saw.

I realize this is someone they said would be the gem in all of the game in a few years, and I realized that something had gone terribly wrong along the way more likely than Heyward being a bust.

Heyward seems to be a fragile player mentally – that’s the type of statement bloggers get in trouble for saying – but it’s something I’ve picked up on. He needs his confidence rebuilt, and I think over time in St. Louis some big hits in big moments for a successful organization are going to help accomplish that.

Heyward can’t fully blame the lead-off spot for the lack of pop in his bat. His own swing he developed over time and his approach were just as much the culprit.

And in closing, Fredi Gonzalez is the worst manager in baseball. Train-wreck hire from day one; if Bobby Cox could have hung on another five years, Heyward would likely still be in Atlanta and a perennial All-Star. Nothing good comes from Fredi Gonzalez.

Rest in Peace, Oscar Taveras


I’m by no means a Cardinals fan, but I am a huge fan of talent; and I am an even bigger fan of young phenomenal talent.

When I got a text message from a friend while at dinner last night that Oscar Taveras was dead, I had to take a moment to read it several times. I didn’t want to believe it.

Oscar Taveras’s don’t die – they marvel us with their talent. They win Rookie of the Year awards. They hit .353 at a ridiculously young age. They play 15 years in the big leagues and we hate seeing them come to town to play our team because they spend a series filling the box score. The win championships and continue to build the legacy of one of the best organizations in the game.

They don’t pass at age 22; not on a night when they could have been playing in the World Series if the ball had bounced a bit differently.

It still doesn’t seem real to me. I can’t believe I’ll never get to buy a ticket and go watch the second coming of Vlad Guerrero play live. In a weird way, I was looking forward to Taveras torturing the Cincinnati Reds over the next ten years. He would have, too.

I’ll always remember where I was when Oscar did this in the rain the first time we got to witness his talent:

I’m sad to say I didn’t see his last big league hit on television, or his NLCS home run off Jean Machi. And unfortunately, I’ll remember forever where I was standing when I got the horrifying text that Oscar Taveras died, hoping somehow that there had been a mistake; and then learning that it was reality.

Rest in Peace, Primo. Like all things in life, this remarkable young talent had an expiration date. It doesn’t make it any easier to understand or deal with. I will forever go on wondering what this young man could have accomplished if things had not ended tragically, maybe more so than anyone I’ve ever followed in my three decades of loving baseball.

An Ode to the 2014 Washington Nationals


Welp, that’s a wrap. For all intensive purposes, baseball season ended for us tonight a bit prematurely. In a matter of hours, two teams we love to watch completed the foursome of elimination in the League Division Series with the Cardinals getting past Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers and the Giants breaking the hearts of the Nationals out in the Bay Area.

I never dreamed when this postseason started that a World Series would exist without at least one of these two teams. It almost seems unfair – but it’s not. The Giants and Cardinals took the fight to these teams. They just went out and took it, with the help of a little more clutch hitting and better management.

I spent a TON of time watching Washington and Los Angeles this season. They were entertaining, yet flawed teams. Until the spring comes, I won’t see them again. If you want to see the remaining teams left in the playoffs, find and buy sports tickets to do so.

Happy Oscar Taveras Day


You have probably heard that Oscar Taveras was called up from AAA for the St. Louis Cardinals, and the long wait for those who love young prospects is over. Today, Oscar Taveras becomes a made man.

Here’s the scouting report on young Oscar, from Baseball America:

Taveras, 21, is at .325/.373/.524 this season at Memphis with seven home runs and a team-best 40 RBIs. He’s been especially good in the past 10 games (.462/.481/.641) with nine RBIs in his past nine games. He has hit righthanders and lefties at almost an equal clip, showing his usual knack for the barrel and plus power from the left side.

The Cardinals have not been shy about touting Taveras’ talent. Mozeliak has called him the best hitting prospect the club has produced since Albert Pujols.

Taveras has a lightning-quick bat, honed in part by unusual tactics such as swinging at a tire lashed to a fence or at bottle caps. He’s a bad-ball hitter but doesn’t strike out much (25 in 191 at-bats this season) and has present strength and promise of more power. He’s an aggressive hitter and thus won’t draw many walks.

He’s a swinger folks. We have already seen some of the success that an aggressive hitter can have early in a career before there is a book that exists to get a guy out with (see Puig, Yasiel). For this reason, we would guess that Taveras enjoys some early success and becomes a real shot in the arm for the Cardinals. Plus; they are the Cardinals, it’s not like they have things not work out and blow up in their face as an organization.

Happy Oscar Taveras Day!