News, Notes and Historical Information on the St. Louis Cardinals
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Maybe Adam Wainwright will make a solid starter after all. Against the Marlins today, Wainwright pitched three shutout innings and he struck out one with one walk. Mike Smith was also solid with two shutout innings. The only starter that didn’t look great was Randy Flores who gave up two ninth inning runs.
Chris Duncan had two hits and a run while Rick Ankiel had two singles and two RBIs. The Cardinals did the bulk of their damage in the seventh inning when they scored four runs.
The Cardinals take on the Mets tomorrow in what will be a rematch of the NLCS.
John Sickels recently posted his stab at what he thinks Adam Wainwright’s career will look like in a crystal ball column. No major surprises here as he projects a rough transition into the rotation in 2007 but then three very good years after that. i could live with this, although Wainwright does kind of flame out in a hurry once he hits his 30s.
Tim McCarver may not have led the team in any offensive category, but it’s hard to discount his importance to the team. What he did do was provide well above league average offense from a position that was normally relegated to a defensive specialist. This was recognized when the voting came in for the MVP and it also showed with his 34 runs created above position that he posted in 1967. While Orlando Cepeda ran the board with all 20 first place votes, it was Tim McCarver who came in second place. He also played in his second and final All Star Game of his career.
McCarver was that perfect balance of good but not great power with exceptional patience at the plate. He finished his career with 548 walks versus only 422 strikeouts and 1967 was a microcosm of this when he struck out only 32 with 54 walks. He was second best in the National League in strikeouts per at bats with a 14.7 mark in 1967.
McCarver was dramatically better against right handed pitching then he was left handed pitching (McCarver is left handed). Against lefties, he was only .273/.336/.371 while he killed righties to the tune of .304/.382/.484. And McCarver’s overall numbers would have looked even better had it not been for a poor second half. Heading into the All Star Break, he was hitting .348/.420/.543 vs. .245/.321/.365 in the second half.
So McCarver never won a gold glove and he never won a batting title but he was definitely a vital cog in the Cardinals’ dynasty in the 1960s.
Here are McCarver’s final 1967 stats.
Stolen Bases 8
Caught Stealing 8
It’s good to see Jason Isringhausen wouldn’t take the advice of a younger player because it looks like sophomore Anthony Reyes is helping the closer work on a changeup. No doubt that Isringhausen with another pitch would be a good thing. It’s also nice to know that while Isringhausen thinks that he’s 100%, he’s going to scale it down this spring to make sure he doesn’t do anything to that recovering hip of his.
Aaron Gleeman at NBCsports.com recently wrote up a nice preseason preview for the Cardinals. With a revamped rotation that sees only Chris Carpenter and Anthony Reyes (Mark Mulder was injured most of the year), the Cardinals have some question marks in the rotation but their star power in the lineup is still intact. The Cardinals may even have to push two relievers into the rotation in Adam Wainwright and Brandon Looper. Both are probably more effective as relievers but the Cards need help wherever they can get it.
The biggest thing in the Cardinals favor is the weakness in the division. Gleeman says the Brewers and Cubs should be better, and while I agree with them, I still the think the Cardinals are the favorites to win the NL Central. And as we saw last year, once the playoffs starts, anything can happen.
Baseball America recently unveiled their list of the top ten Cardinals prospects. Coming in at number one is centerfielder Colby Rasmus, who was the Cardinals top draft pick in 2005. Rasmus is obviously being blocked by Jim Edmonds, but he’s still going to be down at Double A so he’s still at least a year away.
Number two is left handed pitcher Jamie Garcia, who appears to have been a steal in the 22nd round. He’s older then most prospects (he’ll be 26 part way through the 2007 season) but after solid stints at both Low A and High A, Garcia will probably move up to Double A this year and might get a cup of coffee at the end of the year.
Number three is relief pitcher Chris Perez. He had a nice stint in Low A and he’s dominating against right handed pitching. Blake Hawkworth (rhp) and Jon Jay (of) round out the top five.
The Cardinals may have won the 2006 World Series, but they lost a few parts that forced the Cardinals to go through almost a mini-rebuilding. This was especially prevalent in the starting rotation. In Jeff Passan’s latest column, he talks about how Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty has gone about doing this. Good stuff here.
Viva El Birdos, one of the best Cardinals blogs out there, recently penned a great post on which Cardinals performed best in the clutch. Very, very good stuff here and well worth the read.
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