Hopefully That Was The Last Cardinals-Cubs Game Of 2015

Interesting weekend, wasn’t it?

And by “interesting,” I mean nauseating.

Interesting/nauseating to see the sports media giddiness revved up even higher over the Cubs.

Looking-AheadInteresting/nauseating to see the “speeches” Joe Maddon makes that get breathlessly covered by that same sports media infatuated with his “wisdom.” Like his brilliant “we don’t start stuff, we finish stuff” on Friday — the same day Dan Haren hit Matt Holliday in the batting helmet yet poor, poor Anthony Rizzo had his pant leg beaned (prompting, of course, the above tough-guy words from Maddon); the day after Chris Coghlan finished something, for sure — Pirate Jung Ho Kang’s season with a slide far to the right of second base and with his leg up to hit Kang in the leg and fracture his tibia (and a slide by Coghlan that looked all the more egregious when shown again yesterday afternoon on CSN Chicago after the Cubs broadcasters were comparing Yadier Molina’s slide into Addison Russell to that play — which was an inning after Yadi’s slide happened, and to which there was really no comparison at all other than both slides were toward second base); and the day before Kolten Wong was hit by both Fernando Rodney and Trevor Cahill and Greg Garcia was hit by Hector Rondon (and no Cubs were hit).

What’s that saying about actions speaking louder than media-friendly speeches?

Anyway, may yesterday’s game please be the last time the Cardinals have to face those Media Darling Cubs, their Style Over Substance Manager and their Breathlessly Amazing Roster of Players (Jake Arrieta! Addison Russell!! Anthony Rizzo!!! KRIS BRYANT!!!!!!!!!) in 2015.

Before the weekend even began, I knew that if any kind of postseason match-up involving these two teams were to take place, it would be torturous. Living closer to Chicago than to St. Louis, I’ve had the privilege of seeing the fan bandwagon grow and grow and grow ever since Maddon became their manager, the media attention increase more and more and more as the months go along — and I’m ready for it to stop. Especially after this weekend.

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Cubs As The Cardinals Competition: Yay or Nay?

shirtAnother Cardinals vs. Cubs series begins in about 15 minutes, and I’ve prepared myself by donning the appropriate attire — this new t-shirt I received from a coworker about a week ago.

Awesome, isn’t it? For me personally, it would be better if it had the word “anymore” at the end (and that complete story, if you don’t know and do care, is available in the About section) but my story is certainly a rarity. Cardinals fans become Cardinals fans and stay that way; Cubs fans become Cubs fans and stay that way.

It’s also rare that series between the two teams are actually of any baseball significance. Sure, the rivalry is usually important to fans — for bragging rights or trash-talking or the chance to be obnoxious to that rival fan you know or are related to (which, in my case, is a pretty large number). Yes, there was that important Three Nights in August series back in 2003 though the season ultimately ended up with the Cardinals at home in October, plus Cards fans will always fondly remember Carlos Marmol and his role in 2011’s magical September run to the wild card.

Yet this year is different. We’ve heard since Joe Maddon was hired as Cubs manager that THIS IS IT!!!! for the Cubbies, and the hype has just continued on. To be fair, their performance has been good enough to give them the fourth-best record in the majors — though just the third-best in the National League Central — and firmly into the second wild card spot. But I’m not sure the hype has matched the accomplishment thus far.

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There Is A Bright Side To The Cardinals Losing To The White Sox

Obviously, it’s never fun when the Cardinals lose a game — even when they have the best record in baseball (though, even after two losses, the next team closest to their 51 wins is the Astros at 47) . It’s even less fun when they lose two in a row to a team that is as bad as the White Sox.

Positive-AttitudeYet that’s where we are right now, after the late-and-very-rain-delayed 7-1 loss in which Seth Maness and Randy Choate created quite a mess for Marcus Hatley to wade into during the ninth inning (yes, the water-logged description was intentional) and make his major league debut. A 2-1 Sox lead grew out of hand into that final score.

Ah, well. That’s baseball.

Want to know the bright side?

Seeing the Sox sweep the two-game series from the Cards annoys Cubs fans.

Just Tuesday night’s win did the trick.

I got a message from my long-time friend and long-time Cubs fan Debbie yesterday. “So how can the Cubs get swept by the Cardinals and then the White Sox find a way to win last night?? Just doesn’t seem right!”

Sure, it’s a mild annoyance — and the fact the Cubs have won two straight over the Mets to now trail the Cards by only 9 1/2 games in the NL Central helps improve their moods, I’m sure.

Still, there is one thing that can unite Cardinals fans and White Sox fans everywhere: success that ticks off Cubbies fans. A two-game sweep by the Sox over the Cards is obviously nothing like the South Siders winning the World Series in 2005 followed by the Cardinals winning in 2006 as far as really annoying those North Siders fans.

But it’s enough to take the sting out of these two losses a bit.

From The Cardinals: Statements from DeWitt, Mozeliak Regarding Investigation

The Cardinals issued the following news release.

The St. Louis Cardinals Chairman and CEO William O. DeWitt Jr. and Cardinals Sr. Vice President and General Manager John Mozeliak this morning shared their thoughts regarding Tuesday’s news of a federal investigation of the club related to a possible security breach of the Houston Astros’ database.

Saint_Louis_Cardinals_logo“These are serious allegations that don’t reflect who we are as an organization,” DeWitt said. “We are committed to getting to the bottom of this matter as soon as possible, and if anyone within our organization is determined to be involved in anything inappropriate, they will be held accountable.”

DeWitt said that several months ago, after the team was made aware of the allegations, he and Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak engaged Jim Martin and the law firm of Dowd Bennett to assist the team in providing requested information to the federal government and to conduct an internal inquiry to attempt to identify any employee that may have engaged in the alleged conduct.

“The alleged conduct has no place in our game,” Mozeliak said.  “We hold ourselves to the highest standards in every facet of our organization.  It has been that way forever and is certainly true today.  We are committed to finding out what happened.  To the extent we can substantiate that these allegations have merit, we will take appropriate action against anyone involved.”

“The internal inquiry is not yet complete,” said Martin. “In the meantime, we wish to respect the process and avoid saying anything which would interfere with the government’s investigation.”

The Cardinals Just Keep Rolling Along

On the day the St. Louis Cardinals had the fifth player from their Opening Day roster go onto the disabled list, they did what was expected: won.

happy faceIt was win No. 40 of the season, and on June 12. The Cardinals are the first team in MLB to reach 40 wins this season. The next NL team to reach that plateau won’t do it until at least Tuesday, if the Dodgers win their next four straight. No AL team will reach 40 wins until at least Wednesday, if the Astros (how awesome is that?) now go on a winning streak after destroying King Felix Hernandez and the Mariners last night.

Not surprisingly, the Cardinals still have the best record in MLB, and also have the biggest division lead — the second-place Pirates are 6 1/2 games back. (If the Pirates were in the NL East, they’d be in first at the moment.)

As for last night’s game, Jaime Garcia was impressive — again. He pitched eight scoreless innings, allowed only four infield singles, struck out six and didn’t walk a batter. In fact, he hasn’t walked a batter since his season-debut on May 21 … four starts and 30 innings ago.

And while Kolten Wong, Matt Carpenter, Mark Reyonds and Yadi all went hitless, it didn’t matter. Jon Jay hit a first inning triple that drove in Everyone’s Favorite Man (and Woman) Crush Randal Grichuk, who’d singled. Jaime was up next and singled to score Jay.

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And Now Another Cardinals Pitcher To The Disabled List …

There’s another Cardinal name to add to the growing number on the disabled list: Lance Lynn.

nurse-e1397756375763During his start last Sunday night against the Dodgers, Lynn’s forearm tightened up. He left the game after throwing 98 pitches in five innings. On Tuesday, he traveled to St. Louis for an examination on his forearm and the current diagnosis is a strained muscle in his right forearm. More details from STLtoday.com:

Mozeliak added that the club believes Lynn’s 15-day stint on the DL, which will be backdated to Monday, will provide sufficient time for him to recover from the injury. Lynn is expected to miss two starts.

Taking Lynn’s spot on the roster is Tyler Lyons. Here’s further information from the Cardinals press release.

Manager Mike Matheny has tabbed Lyons to start tomorrow afternoon’s game against Kansas City.

Lyons, 27, will be making his second appearance of the season with the Cardinals, after having made three starts (13.0 IP/17 strikeouts) from May 5-16.

Following his option to Memphis on May 16, Lyons has been one of the top pitchers in the Pacific Coast League, going 3-1 with a 2.36 ERA (26.2 IP/7 ER) his last four starts at Triple-A. Lyons’ overall mark at Memphis is 5-2 with a 2.61 ERA (seventh in PCL) in eight starts, striking out 56 (sixth) while walking only nine in his 48.1 innings of work.

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If We Can’t Watch A Game, Did It Really Happen?

Oh, where to begin with last night’s Dodgers-Cardinals game?

Or should I say alleged game? For all I know, it could have been an elaborate hoax like a modern day version of “The War of the Worlds” since the game was only on the radio for many of us.

And perhaps I wouldn’t have gone to such dramatic lengths to find and keep up with the game were that contest not the one chosen for the annual United Cardinal Bloggers Progressive Game Blog — I had the first inning to recap, so knowing exactly when it started was obviously of prime importance. Here’s more on the UCB progressive blog, plus an intro for the game. This is the eighth year for the project, and the game chosen is traditionally one on FOX that’s available to all the bloggers involved regardless of where they live (since many of us don’t live in St. Louis).

Unfortunately, FOX did not cooperate with the UCB plan in choosing their games and who would see see what in their home market. That was the first glitch, as evidenced by the broadcast schedule from 506Sports.com.


Yes, lots of Cardinal red on that map — much of the U.S. would see the game. But I live in the Quad Cities, which is represented on the map above right on the border of Iowa and Illinois with the QC … in green. Yes, green for Royals and Cubs as my FOX game of the week. Because we didn’t have enough of those teams last Saturday, apparently.

Yet as game time approached, I discovered Mother Nature must be a Cardinals fan — the Royals and Cubs were rained out. Hooray! That had to mean I’d get the Dodgers-Cardinals game, right? There’d be no way I’d end up with the Red Sox-Rangers, not when that was being shown in so few markets.

Then we discovered Mother Nature must really be a Sawx fan, or perhaps a Josh Hamilton fan. Because she made it rain in St. Louis too. Enough that everyone got to see the start of the Sawx-Rangers. Not that I really paid attention …

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Remember This Cubs Tweet From Saturday Night?

If you frequent Twitter and were checking it Saturday night, perhaps you saw the Cubs’ reply to the Royals’ tweet about the outcome of that evening’s (unfortunately) rain-shortened game.


Clever, right? Ha ha, the Cardinals lost, thanks for the huge favor of putting the Cubs one game closer when May isn’t even over yet, Royals! Fist bumps all around!

Sure, it’s great that the person now handling the Cubs Twitter account has a sense of humor and is engaging and interacting with fans. And, sure, it’s certainly Twitter friendly to play up the long-time Cards-Cubs rivalry — look at the number of retweets and favorites of that for proof. Yes, the Cardinals Twitter account certainly could step up the creativity and the interaction … and maybe even take over the “#WeAreGood” hashtag the Cubs account (and Cubs’ fans) love so much.

But have you paid attention to what the Cubs have done since beating the Diamondbacks on Saturday night, after the Royals beat the Cardinals?

On Sunday they lost to the Diamondbacks 4-3, which resulted in them losing the series as well — Arizona won in 13 innings Friday night.

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Since The Cardinals Last Played The Royals …

It’s been nearly a year since the Cardinals last played the Kansas City Royals. And the Cards in-state rival is certainly in a much different place now that they were when the teams matched up in 2014.

Kansas_City_Royals_logo_gif_360x540_autocrop-True_q85Last year, the Cards hosted the Royals for two games at Busch Stadium on June 2-3 then were the visitors for two at Kauffman Stadium on June 4-5. It was definitely not a good four-game series for the Redbirds, as they lost both games at home before winning the first in K.C. and losing the second. After the final game, the Cardinals record was 31-30 and they were in second place in the NL Central and five games behind the Brewers. We obviously know how that Milwaukee lead held up …

Winning those three games gave the Royals a record of 29-31 and boosted them up from last place in the AL Central to a fourth-place tie with the Minnesota Twins — though both were just four games behind the division-leading Detroit Tigers.

Obviously, things improved from there as the Royals went 60-42 throughout the rest of the regular season to clinch one of the AL wild card spots. After the crazy comeback win in 12 innings over the Oakland A’s in the wild card game, they swept their way through the ALDS over the Angels and ALCS over the Orioles to meet up with the stupid, awful, lucky San Francisco Giants in the World Series.

And the Giants are the team the Cardinals saw last October also, in the NLCS, as we unfortunately remember. Before playing for the NL pennant, the Cards went 59-42 through the rest of the regular season to win the NL Central plus defeated the Dodgers in the NLDS.

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The Bullpen Had A Rough Night, But …

Yes, things got a little ugly from the bullpen last night — unexpectedly rough performances from Mitch Harris and Seth Maness in particular as the Detroit Tigers ended up beating up on the Cardinals by a final score of 10-4. I will admit I turned the game off in the top of the ninth inning (although that was also because I had to be up very early this morning more than anything).

MediaWiki_Emoticons_StareA quick check of social media last night and this morning shows that — as expected — there was great furor from many Cardinals fans over the eight runs allowed once starter Carlos Martinez pitched five innings and allowed two runs.

However …

Last night was one game, and the Cardinals still have the best record in the majors. They’ve played 35 games now, with that being only the 11th time they’ve lost.

I’ll put my sparkly pom-poms away now and take a look at some numbers instead.

Even with last night, the Cardinals still have the best team ERA in baseball.

Overall ERA

They have the best starter ERA in baseball.


And, while yesterday at this time they had the best reliever ERA in baseball at 1.90 or something similar, they didn’t fall that far based on one bad night.

Reliever ERA

Plus, since every day is a new day in baseball, the bullpen disaster can be all forgotten starting at 1:15 p.m. when the Cards and Tigers are back at it again. Sure, a starter match-up of David Price vs. Tyler Lyons might make you cringe a little bit — but that’s why they play the games.