And Now There Are Just 27 Days …

Quick — when you hear No. 27 for the Cardinals, who’s your first thought?

Am I the only one who still thinks of Scott Rolen first? Sorry to Jhonny Peralta and to the never-forgotten second love of Miranda’s baseball life (after David Freese) Tyler Perry Greene and, apparently, Ron Villone (I’ve purged my memory of the 2007 and 2008 Cardinals, to be honest). But I still think of the third baseman from what’s my tied-for-first favorite Cards team, 2004. And now we’re just Scott Rolen days until Opening Night at Wrigley Field.

St. Louis Cardinals v Chicago CubsAh, yes, 2004 … that wonderful year when the MV3 of Rolen, Albert Pujols and Jim Edmonds dominated; when Larry Walker was traded to the team in August; when Chris Carpenter showed why he was worth waiting through those shoulder surgeries for; when Jason Marquis, in his first season as a Cardinal, had yet to become the Guaranteed Loss Night pitcher and and won 15 games; when Matt Morris and CC joined Marquis with 15 wins each and Jeff Suppan had 16; when the team won 105 games; when they swept the Dodgers in the National League Division Series and both teams shook hands afterward (something we know would not ever happen with the current Dodgers and Cardinals); and when the season ended after that wonderful, seven-game National League Championship Series against the Astros.

Right? The Cards won the pennant, then lived happily ever after as NL champs. Continue reading

Wacha Wows In One-Hit Winner

Wacha 2All too often, kids come into professional baseball hot off of a collegiate career with potential through the roof. It’s not unusual for the transition to pro ball to take some time. It IS unusual for a guy less than a year removed from his final college game to not only be invited to Spring Training, but also force his way into the conversation about the Big League rotation.

When Cardinal veterans like Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright jump on board, you have to believe there’s something to it.

This spring, Molina said the 22-year-old Michael Wacha was Big League ready. Wainwright, when asked about the 2014 rotation said, “He’ll be there.”

Cardinals fans know first hand what happens when a guy doesn’t live up to the astronomical expectations. Colby Rasmus? Brendan Ryan? Tyler Greene? Not pretty. And with a rotation of Wainwright, Jaime Garcia, Jake Westbrook, Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller (which left out Joe Kelly and Trevor Rosenthal), there was no need to rush Wacha. Continue reading

Yes, The Cards Are Down, But No One Is Out

Yesterday’s doubleheader could have been a chance to flip the momentum right back around. Instead, the Cardinals continued to play hide and seek with their offense, and lost both games. That pushes the season-high losing streak to six. And what’s worse? They

"Tell me when it's safe to look, okay?"

“Tell me when it’s safe to look, okay?”

also lost Yadier Molina.

Everyone take a moment to panic, cry, scream, throw things, blame Mike Matheny, Tyler Greene or the Muffin Man. Get it all out.

No matter what, there are still 57 games left to play. And, I don’t know about you, but I have a suspicion that a 1.5 game deficit can be made up in 57 games … somehow.

Now, I’m certainly not happy with the goings on the last week. It’s been tough. The Cardinals have looked bad — swinging at bad pitches, pressing, expanding the strike zone, playing poor defense, and acting more defeated than perhaps they should. To throw Yadi’s injury into the mix is just pouring salt in the wound. For now, the team is calling it a sprain, though the MRI today will provide more detail.

A sprain or a hangnail, though — time without the MVP candidate will hurt. Not only will the pitching staff miss his guidance, but the lineup that is struggling to put numbers on the board will miss his 2nd-place NL batting average. What’s more, he has often been credited as the heart and soul of the team. Continue reading