Just 12 More Days, But Who To Choose?

Twelve! Only 12 more days until the Cardinals begin the 2015 season on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

This day presents a dilemma, however — or at least the No. 12 does.

There are plenty of 12s throughout Cardinals history, including one of my uncle Jim’s favorite players Bill White, who wore the number from 1959 to 1965 and later served as National League president from 1989 to 1994. He would definitely be worth writing about (and will be the topic of a future Throwback Thursday post).

As for the dilemma, take a look at the top of this page. Yes, right there at the top of each and every page of Aaron Miles’ Fastball, each and every day, is the No. 12 of Our Namesake, a Cardinal from 2006-2008 and 2010, getting ready to deliver what certainly was an amazing (or at least adequate) heater.

No problem, right? Our Namesake is Our Namesake, beyond worthy of another post extolling his virtues. Yes, but …

Remember 2011, and Game Six of the World Series (other than David Freese) in particular? Remember 2012?

Remember the Twitter hashtag #LBFanClub?

How can we overlook that mortal-enemy-turned-forever-hero Lance Berkman? Is there any way possible to overlook a man for whom a post called “How Do We Love Thee, Lance?” was written?

Can’t be done. Thus, two No. 12s.



And there is a way to tie these two together.

Yes, for your reading pleasure with 12 days until Opening Night, 12 things that Cardinals heroes Aaron Wade Miles and William Lance Berkman have in common. Continue reading

A Look Back At Those Aaron Miles Pitching Performances

There’s not much good that can be said about last night’s 17-5 Cardinals loss to the Cubs. It was ugly, period, and the sole bright spot may have been Daniel Descalso coming in to pitch with two outs in the top of the ninth inning. It’s too bad that Mike Matheny let Randy Choate stay in the game and struggle long enough to allow six runs. Because, once Descalso came trotting out to the mound, at least the crowd finally got into the game.


Scrappiness personified — look at the dirty uniform while he’s pitching!

That’s the beauty of watching a position player pitch. Sometimes horrible blowout games happen — it’s a fact of baseball life. And the entertainment value of staying with a game like that is seeing a non-pitcher out there.

Obviously, this blog’s name is a tribute to the Cardinals’ master of position player pitching. And I did see Aaron Miles pitch in person — the last time the Cardinals gave up 17 runs in a game, actually, on Aug. 3, 2010, against the Astros. The photo is from that night.

Miles made five appearances on the mound for the Cardinals and pitched five full innings, with a career 3.60 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. The five appearances are the third-highest total for a non-pitcher since 1900, behind Vance Law and Eddie Lake. And, courtesy of a post from the early days of AMF in January 2011, here’s a look at Aaron’s outings. (Click the date for the MLB.com article on each game.)

1. Aug. 4, 2007
Nationals 12, Cardinals 1

Cardinals lowlights: Joel Piniero gave up five runs in one inning, though only four earned on his own error. Mike Maroth (remember him?) also gave up five runs, though only two earned on Adam Kennedy’s error. Brad Thompson gave up the final two runs.

Aaron highlights: One inning pitched, 0 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, 0 strikeouts, three batters faced, nine pitches. It was his first time pitching since high school. Continue reading

Cardinals Throwback Thursday: Aaron Miles’ Walk-Off Grand Slam

With the 2014 regular season just four (Yadi!) days away, this will be the final Cardinals Throwback Thursday post for a while. What better way to make an impact than with a career highlight from the blog’s namesake — the only walk-off homer of his career, which just happened to be a grand slam?

AMslamThe date was July 20, 2008. It was, believe it or not, Jaime Garcia’s first major league start and second big-league appearance, and the Cards starting lineup that day included Skip Schumaker, Aaron batting second, Ryan Ludwick, Rick Ankiel, Troy Glaus, Chris Duncan, Jason LaRue and Adam Kennedy. Oh, and Jaime hit eighth.

It was a Sunday afternoon just after the All-Star break, the conclusion of a four-game series against the San Diego Padres. The Cardinals had taken the first three games, plus won their final game before the All-Star break, so they had a nice streak going. According to Matthew Leach’s article at Cardinals.com, it was “a definitively miserable St. Louis summer day.”

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Catching Up With The Cardinals: Happy Retirement, Jake Westbrook

Quick, who was the winning pitcher for the Cardinals in Game Six of the 2011 World Series?

Jake-WestbrookYes, it was Jake Westbrook.

And just like the other sometimes forgotten hero of that game, Westbrook too has now retired. He leaves with a 105-103 career record and 4.32 ERA, with his numbers during his four seasons as a Cardinal pretty similar: 36-32 with a 4.27 ERA.

Yet he did have some highlights as a Card.

Happy retirement, Jake!

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Hopefully, Cardinals, That Will Be The Only Star Wars Night

What’s that saying — it’s all fun and games until somebody takes a line drive off the elbow?

Westbrook 8-7

Yes, Jake, we felt the same way. (Photo: St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Yeah. That was Star Wars Night at Busch Stadium. Two pitches, a Carl Crawford liner, Shelby Miller out of the game.

Then there were the nine runs allowed by Jake Westbrook (including six during his first inning of relief), four allowed by Keith Butler and four RBI by Skip Schumaker as the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the St. Louis Cardinals 13-4.

But, hey, Rob Johnson pitched! Yes, the Cards backup catcher faced Dodgers relief pitcher Paco Rodriguez — and got a strikeout. (Not even our blog namesake ever got a K in his five career innings pitched.) It was the first time a Cardinal position player took the mound since Mr. Schumaker himself, back on Aug. 23, 2011, coincidentally against the Dodgers (and our namesake had a role in that game as well).

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If You’re Wondering Where Aaron Miles Is …

If you’re wondering where Aaron Miles is these days, we are here to help. We’re not named after his pitching prowess for nothing. (And if you’re not wondering about him — well, it does get your mind off the current Cardinals’ troubles momentarily.)

You’ll remember that Aaron was with the Dodgers last year. (You of course recall his homer off pitcher Skip Schumaker in that terrible sweep in August, right? It was his revenge on the Cardinals.) He was a free agent after the season ended and remained unsigned through spring training and up until a few weeks ago, when he signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers.

Aaron made his debut at Triple-A Albuquerque on May 21. Yesterday, the Isotopes faced the Round Rock Express — and their new pitcher Roy Oswalt. That batter/pitcher match-up prompted our fellow Cardinals blogger Chris Mallonee of Birds on the Bat 82 to snap and then tweet me this picture.

And that picture launched a hundred more tweets.

Or, rather, the plumpness of our old pal’s posterior did.

Yes, Miranda and I are not ashamed to admit that we spent time conversing with several of our Twitter pals about that very topic — and its increased size from what we remembered.

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And Now We Know What TOOTBLAN Means

Why didn’t you leave this habit in Chicago?

With all the good that happened in last night’s game — and there was so much, yet again — it’s foolish to focus on the one and only bad part of the game.

Yet I am.

Yes, Ryan Theriot was 3 for 5 last night, raised his average to .323 and had an RBI. But, along with that RBI, we saw for ourselves what TOOTBLAN means.

It was the fourth inning, Kyle McClellan (who had a couple of tremendous at-bats facing Clayton Kershaw) was on first after being walked and Theriot was up. He hit a long fly deep to left-center that bounced off the wall. McClellan to race around the bases to score. Yay! And, though Tony Gwynn Jr. fielded the ball right away since it bounced off the wall, Theriot kept zooming along right past second base. Perhaps he thought he could make it to third since Juan Uribe threw the relay from Gwynn to home? Or perhaps he just didn’t think. Regardless, Rod Barajas alertly threw to third, which Theriot was not even close to yet. So he stopped, caught in a rundown. Casey Blake threw to Aaron Miles and, in a moment of hilarity and some weird former Cub cosmic convergence, Our Little Namesake chugged along and caught up with Theriot to tag him out. (See the play here, positively labeled “Theriot’s RBI double.”) And there you have it, TOOTBLAN.

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