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St. Louis Cardinals: Fourth of July musings

Happy Independence Day, Cardinals fans! A time where we summon our inner Bill Pullman (from ID1, not ID2) and drink beer and act free. A time where fireworks are shot into the sky and into people’s hands. It’s also a good time to pour a whiskey and take a look at those Cardinals. Where are they going and how the next 30 games will go?
Or, we could just talk about their current lineup and interject some odd musings into those discoveries. I won’t sit here and blast you with stats and complex theories. Just what I am seeing from a club stuck in mediocrity.
  • Lance Lynn isn’t hurting his trade value with his performance. The Marlins got to him for four runs today, but only two were earned. These kind of performances won’t chip away at his value. Teams know what he is, and that’s a guy who is going to be solid over six innings. The lack of innings in 2017 can be attributed to Tommy John surgery, or the fact that over 886.2 career innings and 145 starts, Lynn has averaged 6.1 innings during that time. Lynn has a 3.42 ERA for his career, and has a few above average seasons left. The Cards can’t sign him in November, so they need to trade him-contending or not-at the deadline.
  • Let’s dig further. If you want to compare Lynn to a different former St. Louis athlete, think about Kevin Shattenkirk this past winter. Doug Armstrong knew they couldn’t re-sign him, so they made a trade, and it bolstered their club, and sent them on a great run. Mozeliak will be wise.
  • I appreciate the contributions of Alex Mejia over the weekend, but he’s about finished with his cup of coffee. When in doubt, he’ll always have July 1st, where he collected an RBI single and home run off Gio Gonzalez. That’s great, but his offense is overall weak and his defense is decent. When Kolten Wong returns, Mejia will go.
  • Welcome back Luke Weaver. He hadn’t stretched out in his St. Louis clothing before finding his way into a game Monday. He looked a little rattled, but make no mistake, Weaver has the goods to be successful at this level. He got a taste in 2016, but wasn’t ready. Too raw to compute. However, Weaver did have a 4:1 strikeout to walk ratio last season and a near 6:1 ratio this season at Memphis, so watch out Michael Wacha…and Adam Wainwright.
  • Speaking of Waino, I don’t care if it was 11-0 or 5-0, but Waino was left in three batters too long Monday night. He turned a 11-0 game into an 11-6 game real quick. When #50 bedevils a lineup, it’s the work of an old magician, but one who is going to run out of tricks. He ran out yesterday in the fifth inning, but was left in to collect a win. He’s 9-5 with an ERA over 5.00.
  • Stephen Piscotty isn’t a #3 hitter, at least not this season. His .389 slugging percentage is a pathetic mark for a hitter’s spot designed to drive in runs. Why Mike Matheny continues to hit him there is peculiar only to the degree of wondering, “if not Piscotty, then who?”
  • Let’s answer that last question. How about Luke Voit? Slide him up from #4 to #3, and see what the big guy can produce. Voit launched home run #1 of his career into the hot air of Monday’s night, collecting four RBI. He’s raw, but talented. Voit can also work a count and doesn’t swing at everything outside the zone.
  • Randal Grichuk was who we thought he was. You can send this guy to Palm Beach or Bermuda, and it won’t change who he is as a hitter. He collected a pair of home runs against the Pirates and Reds, but quickly defused to strikeouts and weak throws from the outfield. He’s hitting .220 with a weak slug. When Dexter Fowler comes back, Grichuk should go back down. the kid while he has value.
  • How about Yadier Molina? After a paltry May, Molina produced a .296 batting average and .469 slugging percentage in June. We can chant all day that he isn’t a fifth place hitter, but right now, his hitting is disputing the notion. He just stung a 102 mph single up the middle that hitting instructors would drool over.
  • Will Matt Bowman’s arm fall off before August? No, but don’t expect a strong second half.
  • Is it weird that I forgot Don Mattingly managed the Miami Marlins? He’s not as prominent as his days with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
  • Is it weird, volume two edition: Is it weird that I openly negotiated to have Giancarlo Stanton and Bryce Harper switch uniforms this weekend? They are exactly what the Cardinals need to be successful over the next 5-10 seasons. A bona fide superstar who hits in the middle of the order and mans an important position in the field. “In a world, where the Birds had fallen, and the streets had grown weary, one man named Giancarlo would attempt to solve the mystery of RISP for St. Louis…”
  • Minor League Player Boner of the Week: Dakota Hudson. The Springfield Cardinals righty is turning it on at the AA level, increasing his innings per start. In five of his last six starts, Hudson has gone at least seven innings and allowed less than three earned runs. I call that a high quality start. Hudson is 22 years old, and is steamrolling his way towards Memphis. Together with Sandy Alcantara, Austin Gomber, and Jack Flaherty, Hudson is the fleet that Cardinals fans have to be patient in waiting for.
  • Prove me wrong, Greg Garcia. The utility infielder that could has turned the tables this past week. After an ice cold June where he couldn’t buy a hit, Garcia has found some of his lumber again. Wong’s return will make things interesting, but Garcia is finally showing a pulse.
  • Dexter Fowler’s chronic heel issue doesn’t make the next few seasons sound appetizing, but if I know one thing it is this: he shouldn’t move Tommy Pham out of center field upon his return.
  • Last but not least, Pham is the kind of baseball story one should be inspired to follow. An injury prone baseball career that followed a troubled childhood is hitting the high notes at 29 years old age, fighting for every parcel of success. He’s a great story, and a study in extremes. He was on base five times Monday night before wearing the golden sombrero today.
That’s it for now. Pop open a beer, tell a family member they are good, and relax. The Cards may be 40-43 and running only to stand still, but they will make the next three months of baseball exciting….and nauseating. Buy more bourbon.
Thanks for reading,
Dan Buffa
Baseball has a way of bringing out the good, bad, and ugly in all of us. All I have is an opinion. Pull up a chair and hear me out. St. Louis born and bred.
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