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Tag:Jaime Garcia
Posted on: December 22, 2011 10:57 am
 

Homegrown Team: St. Louis Cardinals

Albert Pujols

By C. Trent Rosecrans


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

While most of the teams on our list would love a do-over for 2011 -- or at least part of it, the season somehow worked out pretty well for the St. Louis Cardinals, a team that took advantage of an epic collapse and capitalized upon its chance by winning the World Series. The moves made by both the current management team and former executives, all worked out for one glorious season in St. Louis, so it's another example of why the exercise is for fun only. But there's one thing our Homegrown Cardinals have that the 2012 version doesn't -- Albert Pujols

Lineup

1. Jon Jay, RF
2. Placido Polanco, 3B
3. Albert Pujols, 1B
4. Allen Craig, LF
5. Colby Rasmus, CF
6. Yadier Molina, C
7. Brendan Ryan, SS
8. Skip Schumaker, 2B

Starting Rotation

1. Dan Haren
2. Jaime Garcia
3. Kyle McClellan
4. Chris Narveson
5. Lance Lynn

Bullpen

Closer - Chris Perez
Set up - Mitchell Boggs, Fernando Salas, Luke Gregerson, Blake Hawksworth, Eduardo Sanchez

Notable Bench Players

The bench has some interesting players -- you have defensive replacements in Jack Wilson and Coco Crisp, some pop in Brett Wallace, J.D. Drew and Rick Ankiel, as well as some versatility in Daniel Descalso. Daric Barton's there, too, but not sure where or when he'd ever play considering Pujols is still a Cardinal here.

What's Good?

Any lineup with Pujols is not bad -- but it's not overwhelming, either. While lacking some of the firepower from Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman, there are still some passable players. While there's no Chris Carpenter or Adam Wainwright, there is Dan Haren and the top two of the rotation are good. The strength of this team -- and Tony La Russa would certainly love this -- is the bullpen. Not only are their Cardinals holdovers of Motte, Boggs, Salas and Sanchez, you also add Perez, Gergerson and Hawksowrth, giving this team plenty of relief options. 

What's Not?

After the top two in the rotation, the rest are pretty pedestrian. McClellan is not only in the rotation -- where he started in 2011 -- but he's also going to be either a No. 3 or No. 4. The outfield isn't terrible, but when you take away Berkman and Holliday, it's going to pale in comparison.

Comparison to real 2011

Let's just get to the point, the margin for error for the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals was razor thin, but they stayed on the right side of it just enough to go on to one of the most exciting, improbable runs of all time to capture the World Series title. There is no way this hypothetical team could do anything close to what the real Cardinals did. The offensive firepower isn't the same and there's no Chris Carpenter. No, this team doesn't just fail to win the World Series or make the playoffs, it fails to reach .500 and probably finishes in the bottom half of our made-up NL Central.

Next: Ranking the Homegrown teams.

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Posted on: October 28, 2011 2:49 am
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Posted on: October 28, 2011 2:42 am
Edited on: October 28, 2011 1:16 pm
 

Grading Game 6 of the World Series



By Matt Snyder


ST. LOUIS -- Wow. What a game. I'm trying to guard against hyperbole, but I feel like we just witnessed one of the greatest baseball games in World Series history -- one that will go down in history and still be talked about 30 years from now. I could easily be wrong, but that's how it feels right now. Still, time to buckle down and hand out some grades.

Baseball. That's all we need to put here. It's a sport that many people like to call boring and for some reason it's become cool for fans of other sports -- mostly football -- to constantly bash the sport. It's probably because of the "America's Pastime" moniker, but still a bit unfair to be so reviled by the people who aren't die-hard fans. Thursday night was baseball's big night. Game 6 was one for the ages. It most certainly wasn't perfect (see the D and F grades below), but in the end, this was one of the most exciting baseball games in memory, and we saw the Cardinals get within one out of being eliminated twice and still survive with the win in front of a record-setting Busch Stadium crowd. If you watched this game and weren't exhilarated, you don't have a pulse. Period.

David Freese tripled to tie the game in the ninth and then homered to win it in the 11th. So he's the hero. But, man, it was a rough night before that. We'll knock him down to a B for the awkward moment running into the rail in foul territory and the dropped pop up at third base, not to mention going 0-for-3 and leaving a pair of men on base before his huge triple in the ninth. Obviously the two huge hits erase all of that, but in looking at the whole game, I'm not going to forget the bad. He'll deal just fine a B, considering his team won and he's now etched in history.

The Rangers offense pounded out 15 hits and scored nine runs. They had two doubles and three home runs. So how can I possibly be giving them a C? Well, let's see ... they left 12 men on base. Twelve! When you get 15 hits and the Cardinals hand out five walks and three errors, you need to score more than nine runs, as weird as that sounds. It's like through six innings the Cardinals were trying to let the Rangers win and the Rangers just refused to let them. Things changed after that, but we cannot simply ignore what happened in the first half of the game.

The Cardinals' pitching and defense were sloppy early in the game. Starting pitcher Jaime Garcia didn't have his good stuff and received a quick hook. Matt Holliday made a horrible play in left field when he tried to allow Rafael Furcal to come all the way out to left field and make a catch -- then the two collided. Relief pitcher Fernando Salas air-mailed a throw to second base into center field. Freese had the aforementioned defensive gaffes. Rangers pitcher Derek Holland advanced to second on a wild pitch and then scored. Again, what the Cardinals did in the late innings more than made up for this, but it has to be a concern before Game 7.

The Rangers made mistakes, too. Michael Young had two pretty bad errors. Elvis Andrus uncharacteristically played a sure third out into a single when he hesitated on a grounder off Daniel Descalso's bat. Alexi Ogando walked the only two hitters he faced. And we can't be sure that Nelson Cruz could have caught Freese's triple, but he really looked lost out there. For a team that prides itself on defense, we've seen an awful lot of defensive miscues this series.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 27, 2011 9:09 pm
Edited on: October 27, 2011 9:15 pm
 

Short leash for Garcia in Game 6



By Matt Snyder


ST. LOUIS -- After just three innings, Cardinals starting pitcher Jaime Garcia is done. He threw 59 pitches, giving up five hits, two walks and two earned runs. He has now been replaced by Fernando Salas with the game tied, 2-2.

It's not a huge shock that Cardinals manager Tony La Russa went to his bullpen. He has starting pitchers Kyle Lohse and Edwin Jackson down in the bullpen and his ballclub will lose the World Series with a loss Thursday night. So he's not messing around.

The Cardinals have already set the postseason record for pitching changes -- this was the 66th, and the previous record was 62 -- so Game 6 might just put that thing out of reach.

Follow along live on CBSportscom's GameTracker

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 25, 2011 7:09 pm
Edited on: October 27, 2011 3:13 pm
 

World Series Game 6: Something's gotta give



By Matt Snyder


Rangers at Cardinals, 7:05 p.m. CT, Busch Stadium, St. Louis. Rangers lead series, 3-2.

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals are in a familiar position: Their backs are against the wall. For pretty much all of September the Cardinals were in "win every game" mode and then also trailed the Phillies two games to one in the NLDS. Thus far, they've come through every single time when they've had to. Will the magic happen again? If so, they'll win Games 6 and 7 in front of their hometown fans and bring home an 11th World Series title. And Game 6 starter Jaime Garcia has been here before.

"It feels the same way that it did the first playoff game that I pitched this year, same exact feeling," Garcia said, when asked about pitching in a do-or-die game. "Obviously this is the World Series, a little different, but to me personally, I try not to put extra pressure on myself or extra expectations. I'm just going to basically go out there and do my thing."

"Going through that process in the month of September, the last five or six starts that I made in the season, I kind of had the same mentality that I've had since the playoffs started."

World Series Coverage
But, in order to avoid elimination one more time, the Cardinals will have to beat the Rangers in two consecutive games -- something that hasn't happened to Texas since August. And they'll also have to beat Colby Lewis, who is 4-1 with a 2.22 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in seven career postseason starts. Of course, he was outdueled by Garcia in Game 2, which was eventually decided with a Cardinals' blown save.

Rangers Game 6 starter Colby Lewis has been here before, kind of. He was the pitcher for the clinching game against the Yankees in last season's ALCS.

"Well, you definitely think when you're in a kid you want to be in this position, be on this stage to go to the World Series," Lewis said. "I think just being in the situation that we were last year throughout the playoffs, you know, gives you more of an edge, more relaxation, that's for sure, because knowing what's expected or you know how to react to certain things."

Also, which series star will carry the offensive load? Mike Napoli and Albert Pujols are the obvious MVP candidates for the series right now; it only depends on which team wins.

Something has to give. Either the Rangers are going to lose two in a row or the Cardinals are going to finally be defeated. Whichever team survives will be the champion.

PITCHING MATCHUP

Garcia vs. Rangers:
Garcia thoroughly dominated the Rangers in Game 2, working seven shutout innings while giving up just three hits and one walk. He struck out seven. He looked every bit as masterful as the stat line suggests. That's the only time he's ever seen the Rangers, so no regular has more than three at-bats against him. Not surprisingly, no one has more than one hit against Garcia, either.

Lewis vs. Cardinals: Lewis went 6 2/3 innings in Game 2, allowing just four hits and one earned run. And remember, that one run scored after he was out of the game -- as Alexi Ogando had entered to face Allen Craig and gave up an RBI single for the second straight night. No expected Cardinals starters have seen Lewis more than four times except Lance Berkman, who is just 2-for-15 against Lewis.

LINEUPS

Rangers Cardinals
No. Name Pos No. Name Pos
1 Ian Kinsler 2B 1 Rafael Furcal SS
2 Elvis Andrus SS 2 Skip Schumaker CF
3 Josh Hamilton LF 3 Albert Pujols 1B
4 Michael Young 1B 4 Lance Berkman RF
5 Adrian Beltre 3B 5 Matt Holliday LF
6 Nelson Cruz RF 6 David Freese 3B
7 Mike Napoli C 7 Yadier Molina C
8 Craig Gentry CF 8 Nick Punto 2B
9 Colby Lewis RHP 9 Jaime Garcia LHP


NOTES

• The following starting pitchers will be available in relief for Game 6, per their managers' statements Wednesday: Derek Holland, C.J. Wilson (maybe, but if it goes to Game 7, "he certainly will be available for the seventh one," said Washington.), Edwin Jackson, Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook (who had already been pitching out of the bullpen). Also, in an answer that was met with laughter, La Russa said the following when asked if Chris Carpenter was available in relief in Game 6: "No chance ... little chance."

• Nick Punto is 2-for-4 with a walk against Lewis.

Jon Jay has struggled mightily at the plate this postseason, as he's hitting just .157/.246/.196. In the World Series, he's 0-for-14. Thus, Skip Schumaker is getting the start in center.

• The World Series has been a 3-2 margin 61 previous times, and in 41 of those, the team with the 3-2 lead has gone on to win it all.

• Napoli has nine RBI so far in the series. The record for an entire World Series is 12, set by Bobby Richardson in the 1960 Fall Classic. With one more RBI, Napoli will tie Sandy Alomar Jr. and Yogi Berra for the most RBI by a catcher in the World Series. Also, no one has driven home at least nine since Alomar Jr. and Moises Alou both did so in 1997.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 21, 2011 12:59 am
Edited on: October 21, 2011 1:37 am
 

Grading Game 2 of the World Series



By Matt Snyder


ST. LOUIS -- Another game, another chance to hand out grades (I was a student teacher once upon a time, after all). Let's dive in without any further ado.

The starting pitchers from both teams were pretty maligned heading into the series after a collectively brutal performance in the LCS round. Considering these two teams sport some of the most powerful offenses in baseball, we were going to see a slugfest, right? Wrong. Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia was dominant, giving his ballclub seven shutout innings, allowing only three hits and one walk while striking out seven. If he pitches like that in his second turn this series -- assuming there is one -- the Cardinals will have some real confidence in him. Colby Lewis also turned things around for his Rangers. No Texas starting pitcher had worked into the seventh inning this postseason until Lewis did so Thursday night. His final line: 6 2/3 innings, four hits and one earned run. It's worth noting he wasn't on the hill when his one charged run scored.

The Rangers' defense. Elvis Andrus was incredible, but an Ian Kinsler error could have really burned the Cardinals in the fourth inning. He booted a groundball off Lance Berkman's bat, meaning the Cardinals had a runner on base with Matt Holliday and David Freese to follow. That was absolutely playing with fire in a game where runs were at a major premium. Sure enough, though, the defense is what got them out of the inning -- when Andrus and Kinsler teamed up for a beautiful double play, keeping the score tied at zero.

The Rangers' offense. They were asleep for eight innings, and it appeared the lack of offense would send the Rangers home trailing 2-0 in the series. At that point, I had the Rangers' penciled in for an F. But the game wasn't over yet, and Texas did something no one has done in a while: Get to Cardinals (unofficial) closer Jason Motte. Kinsler's hit to start things off was a bit lucky, but that's how the game is played. Then, Kinsler showed some serious guts and stole second on Yadier Molina. Andrus followed with a single and consecutive sacrifice flies won the Rangers the game. They won with pitching and defense, but the offense salvaged enough in the ninth to get a C.

It's hard to blame Jason Motte for Kinsler's single, again, but Motte also allowed the big hit to Andrus and also didn't keep Kinsler on his toes prior to the paramount stolen base. "We steal bases on the pitcher," Andrus said in the locker room after the game. And he was right. Yadier Molina couldn't have possibly made a better throw, but it wasn't enough to get Kinsler. An out there likely ends any threat for the Rangers in the ninth, and sends the series to Texas with a 2-0 Cardinals lead.

Anyone who has read me regularly knows I often call Albert Pujols the best player in baseball, so keep in mind this grade is relative. It was an "F" game for Pujols' lofty standards. He went 0-for-4 and then made a pretty costly mistake in the ninth inning. He failed to cut off Jon Jay's throw home cleanly, and that allowed Andrus to advance to second base. That meant Andrus was able to get to third on Josh Hamilton's sac fly and then score on Michael Young's.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 20, 2011 3:10 am
Edited on: October 20, 2011 4:12 pm
 

World Series Game 2: Garcia, Lewis face off



By Matt Snyder


Rangers at Cardinals, 8:05 p.m. ET, Busch Stadium, St. Louis. Cardinals lead series 1-0.

ST. LOUIS -- Jaime Garcia, who will start Game 2 for the Cardinals, had a 7.27 ERA in two NLCS starts. Colby Lewis, who will start Game 2 for the Rangers, allowed eight hits and four runs in 5 2/3 innings against the Tigers in his lone ALCS start. So both are looking to right the ship when they square off on Thursday night.

And both have reasons for hope.

Despite the bad start last time out, Lewis has been lights-out in the postseason, posting a 4-1 record to go with a 2.37 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in six career postseason starts -- yes, including the bad last outing. He also says he loves pitching in the postseason.

"I mean, I just -- yeah, it's comfortable, it's exciting, stands are packed, towels are waving," Lewis said Wednesday. "I mean, it's kind of hard not to get pumped up for it, you know?"

Meanwhile, Garcia has some pretty drastic splits concerning home vs. road. During the regular season, he had a 2.55 ERA in Busch Stadium while having a 4.61 ERA on the road.

"Of course, being at home with the home fans and like sleeping in your own bed and things like that," Garcia said Wednesday. "But I've said this a bunch of times before, where it doesn't really get in my head where I go on the road and I don't like it or I get frustrated or something. It's happened this year where I go on the road and it's a tough game. You have the battles on the road and the good ones at home. Me personally, I don't really see anything different that I do."
 
"But yeah, obviously I like pitching here."

World Series, Game 1
PITCHING MATCHUP

Garcia vs. Rangers:
It's a complete unknown here. Garcia has never faced the Rangers, and he has only faced Matt Treanor and Yorvit Torrealba -- neither of whom are going to start.

"They were the best team in the American League," Garcia said. "It's a tough team to pitch against. You know, just like a Milwaukee team that they've got a really good lineup, good team."

Lewis vs. Cardinals: He faced the Cardinals all the way back in 2007 and it wasn't pretty. Lewis allowed four hits and four earned runs in just one inning. His only decent sample against major Cardinals players is against Lance Berkman, and it's good news for the Rangers. Lewis has only allowed two hits in 13 at-bats against Berkman, with zero homers and one RBI. That's the only remotely relevant thing we can find in Lewis' history against these Cardinals, and 13 at-bats isn't exactly a big sample.

"I've never pitched here," Lewis acknowledged. "All the dimensions are the same, 60 feet, 90 feet, all the good stuff. I think it's just another stadium."

LINEUPS

Rangers Cardinals
No. Name Pos No. Name Pos
1 Ian Kinsler 2B 1 Rafael Furcal SS
2 Elvis Andrus SS 2 Jon Jay CF
3 Josh Hamilton LF 3 Albert Pujols 1B
4 Michael Young 1B 4 Lance Berkman RF
5 Adrian Beltre 3B 5 Matt Holliday LF
6 Nelson Cruz RF 6 David Freese 3B
7 Mike Napoli C 7 Yadier Molina C
8 Craig Gentry CF 8 Nick Punto 2B
9 Colby Lewis RHP 9 Jaime Garcia LHP


NOTES

• I don't really get excited about hitting streaks, but some people do. If that's your cup of tea, it's worth nothing that Cardinals third baseman, and NLCS MVP, David Freese has an 11-game postseason hitting streak. A 12th game would tie the franchise record, which is currently held by both Yadier Molina and Mike Matheny.

• Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday is certainly over his hand injury. In the past four games, he's 8-for-17 (.471) with three doubles, one home run and five runs scored.

• Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler is quietly pretty hot right now. He's eight for his last 20 (.400). 

• Rangers catcher Mike Napoli is having a huge postseason. Since going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in Game 1 of the ALDS, Napoli is 13-for-36 (.361) with two homers, seven RBI and 10 runs scored.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 18, 2011 7:06 pm
 

Rangers, Cardinals tentatively line up pitching

By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- Neither World Series manager would commit to a firm plan in terms of how their respective starting rotations would line up in the series, but both do have a good idea what direction they are going.

Rangers skipper Ron Washington said that after C.J. Wilson -- who has already been announced as the Game 1 starter -- he would go with Colby Lewis in Game 2 and "we're still up in the air as to where we'll go after that, but Colby will throw the second game."

Matt Harrison and Derek Holland have been in the postseason rotation behind Wilson and Lewis, but Washington hasn't made any decisions for anything beyond Game 2.

For the Cardinals, manager Tony La Russa has named pitchers through Game 4, but it's still subject to change.

World Series coverage
"We are going to announce that Jaime (Garcia) is pitching Game 2, and right now (pitching coach) Dave (Duncan) is home, will be back tomorrow, and I know that we're going to look at it closely. But I think we'll be penciling in Kyle Lohse for 3 and Edwin (Jackson) for 4, but that might change when we talk a little more."

A major concern for both teams was the ineffectiveness of most starters in each respective LCS. The Rangers' starters had a 6.59 ERA in the ALCS while the Cardinals starters have a 5.43 ERA in the entire playoffs.

The Cardinals were reportedly having an additional scare, too: Chris Carpenter's elbow was recently said to be a problem. La Russa attempted to alleviate some of that fear.

"If he wasn't sound, he wouldn't be pitching (Wednesday)," La Russa said, when asked if Carpenter's health was sound. "I think what I understand is that way back in August every once in a while he would find -- his elbow was a little stiff, so he would monitor his bullpens, but he also finished really strong. He's been getting treatment, and I know put his hand on the Bible the other day, a couple days ago, with the trainers and the doctor, and they all feel he's good to go."

Carpenter seemed a bit annoyed that talk was centered on his health.

"I'll speak about it one time, and that's it," he said. "Coming out of that start in Milwaukee, I had 200-something innings, 4,000 pitches or whatever and it's the middle of October. Everybody has got soreness and everybody has got aches. I got some treatment on my elbow. My elbow is fine. Tony and 'Dunc' would not throw me out there if it wasn't, and neither would the trainers or doctors. I would have been fine to pitch two days ago or yesterday, whatever day Game 7 would have been, and I'm fine to go Wednesday. I wouldn't go out there if I wasn't. That wouldn't help my team anyway."

That's about as emphatic as one could be, so it would appear he's perfectly fine.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
 
 
 
 
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