August 23, 2018 at 11:35 am #66513
I’m a little behind on checking out all things Cardinals this is from PD’s Rick Hummel’s Q_A from Monday.
QUESTION: How would you rank these factors as the most impactful in the turnaround by the Cardinals: Firing Matheny, offensive surge (led by Carp, Wong, Bader, Martinez), bullpen remake, removal of Pham and Fowler from the everyday lineup … or something else?
COMMISH: Here the top five developments, ranked:
1. The influx of young players — both their talent and their energy.
2 Much better bullpen.
3. Much better defense.
4. DeJong’s return lengthened the offense.
5. The shakeup with the manager and coaches appears to have been necessary.
More about No. 1: There’s no question in my mind that the influx from Memphis is the biggest reason for the success of this team in the last month or so. And not just because of their talent. They aren’t used to losing and they don’t expect to. Their energy and enthusiasm have been contagious. They play with that energy, and some of the veterans may have needed that kick in the butt, too.August 23, 2018 at 11:39 am #66514
Like the Q and A above I found most of the others to be very interesting and spot on. Really good stuff.
They let you read the piece if you answer a question or two.August 23, 2018 at 11:45 am #66517
As of right now Flaherty will pitch the opener of the ’19 season in Milwaukee.August 23, 2018 at 11:49 am #66518
Bold prediction on Flaherty, but very unlikely. Mikolas, who is 13-3 with a lower ERA than Flaherty gets no respect despite having been the rotation anchor this season.August 23, 2018 at 11:57 am #66520gscottarParticipantPaid - Annual
Not everyone at the PD agrees with Hummel on that assessment.August 23, 2018 at 11:59 am #66523CariocaCardinalParticipantPaid - Monthly
As of right now Flaherty will pitch the opener of the ’19 season in Milwaukee.
Is that what you want to happen or what you think will happen? I would be shocked if it wasn’t Martinez if healthy.August 23, 2018 at 12:26 pm #66532
gsc… I know a lot of folks don’t agree with his assessment. Its his opinion and something that I do agree with. He is a knowledgeable and respected writer. I don’t agree with all that he says but I believe he got this right.August 23, 2018 at 12:29 pm #66533
CC… that’s what I want and think will happen. Flaherty has the potential to be a dominant pitcher…. something we haven’t had in a while.August 23, 2018 at 12:54 pm #66538
I think the Cards learned from the Rick Ankiel disaster not to put too much on a youngster too soon. Cmart didn’t start opening day until 2017, at least one (probably 2) year after he was clearly the best pitcher on the staff.
I’d say it’s 70% likely Cmart, 25% Mikolas, 5% field (including Flaherty, Wacha and outside acquisition).August 23, 2018 at 1:00 pm #66541
Keymaster BW, based on this season, yes Mikolas deserves to be the opening day starter. Will he come out of Spring training to be able to repeat his ’18 season? Man, that would be great if he does and doubly great if he earns that start.
I’ve been a Flaherty supporter since draft day ’14, and feel that if not in March, he’ll be the ace of the rotation soon after. He’ll have the experience he needs, which is the only thing he was lacking. Everything else points to him being a dominant pitcher.
I respect Mikolas and congratulate him for his performance this season. I mean where would the Cards be if he wasn’t the “anchor” all season. He has been the most successful starter in the organization.
I hope that Reyes is a major challenger for the ace of the staff as well. I think that Hudson will force his way into the rotation on opening day.
That’s four… you can pick the fifth as long as its Gomber. Sure, a young staff but they are getting experience this season. (except Reyes). But Alex has a special arm too. These are the pitchers that the organization has been waiting patiently for, and they should take advantage of having them be MLB ready.
The cost shouldn’t be hard to swallow. And the team control is a major plus.
Also, I think CMartinez gets moved in the off-season.August 23, 2018 at 1:05 pm #66545PadsFSParticipantPaid - Annual
The defense is better, the hitting is better, and the bullpen is much improved. I’d say that makes for a much more exciting team.August 23, 2018 at 1:09 pm #66548
25…. the Ankiel disaster was a very strange occurrence. I read his book that was poorly written and hard to follow, and he says the reason for the disaster cannot be clearly explained. Plainly he had issues.
How much talent was lost.August 23, 2018 at 1:10 pm #66549
Also, I think CMartinez gets moved in the off-season.
Why do you think that? Because the Cards are anxious to sell low on their most talented pitcher with two starters about to hit free agency after the year?August 23, 2018 at 1:15 pm #66551
The talk is that the FO is talking to other teams about CMart. Naturally they’ll wait until CM shows he is ready to start again, to add to his value. Right now its just a hunch.August 23, 2018 at 1:23 pm #66552
Opening Day starts are not earned in spring training. They are earned over the prior year(s).
After Martinez, Mikolas would be the #2 choice to start OD 2019 – unless his spring training is a complete disaster – and there is absolutely no reason to suspect that will occur to him vs. Flaherty or anyone else.
As already noted, personal wishes/hunches and reality can get mixed up sometimes.August 23, 2018 at 1:29 pm #66553NJ315Participant
If others want to think the managerial changed is the least important factor that’s fine. I disagree I think it is #1. Either way MM is gone and the team is better for it.August 23, 2018 at 1:33 pm #66554
They are all just opinions, anyway. I hope we don’t have a new thread for every media member who offers their perspective on the reasons why the Cardinals improved. If they all haven’t written the story yet, they will. 😉
Folks here will just link the articles that support their predetermined view and by now, most all of the regulars have weighed in on the matter many times already.
P.S. I am just happy no one has put the salsa (this year’s Rally Cat/Squirrel) on their list!August 23, 2018 at 1:34 pm #66555gscottarParticipantPaid - Annual
I concur NJ.August 23, 2018 at 1:39 pm #66556
One item which will not be opinion-based is how Shildt eventually fares in the Manager of the Year voting, despite serving less than half of the schedule.August 23, 2018 at 1:46 pm #66557
The talk is that the FO is talking to other teams about CMart. Naturally they’ll wait until CM shows he is ready to start again, to add to his value. Right now its just a hunch.
There was some smoke before the deadline but I haven’t heard of anything lately. Again, his injuries this year have nerfed his value and unless someone came with a crazy deal like Bregman or Vlad Jr, I couldn’t see this team punting on Cmart.August 23, 2018 at 1:48 pm #66558
A lot of the comments here are opinions and personal thoughts.
I thought it would be a good topic to discuss. There seems to be many varying feelings and I enjoy reading all of the responses.August 23, 2018 at 3:43 pm #66574forsch31ParticipantFree
I would rank the following factors as the top 5 reasons the season has turned around:
1) The improved offense. Reasons: Carpenter, Wong, Ozuna and Gyorko all hitting better. Pham and Fowler being removed from the equation through trade or injury. Bader and O’Neill stepping up and hitting.
2) The improved bullpen. Reasons: Release of Holland. Bowman, Lyons and Sherriff sent down. Gregerson going on DL. Gomber, Poncedeleon, Hudson and Shreve stepping up and doing the job. Cecil improving from earlier in the year.
3) The improved defense. Reasons: J. Martinez not playing 1B. Fowler and Pham being replaced with O’Neill and Bader in the OF. DeJong returning to the SS position. Gyorko playing less at 2B.
4) The change of manager and hitting coaches. Reasons: Different ways of handling the players, clubhouse, lineups, in-game management, etc.
5) Improved clubhouse atmosphere. Reasons: Different manager, some different players and the team is winning.
I think all 5 are close in importance.August 23, 2018 at 10:03 pm #66584bicyclemikeModeratorPaid - Annual
This year reminds me a little of 1964, at least so far. Other than the managerial change, the big improvement is that guys who were struggling in the first half have been better, young players have come in and provided a spark, along with better performances than the guys they replaced, and the bullpen has been much improved.
In ’64 we already had a Shildt-type manager, although the decision was made in August to fire him after the season. But the managerial change cannot be overlooked. It is likely not coincidence that the club got better almost right after he was hired. It is almost like the entire team took a collective sigh of relief after Matheny was let go, and said “now we can relax and just play”. That is conjecture of course, but the team is definitely taking the game to the opponent and letting the chips fall where they may as the saying goes, rather than being tentative and afraid they might fail. Everything is coming together and building upon itself in a positive way. Nice to see.
On the Ankiel meltdown – that was mental. He got a mental block when it came to pitching. Sometimes it just happens. You get so anxious about certain things that you cannot just relax and let natural ability take over. He became so anxiety-ridden that his mind likely went “What if I do not throw a strike?” He is not the first one to go through it. It has happened to catchers on occasion too, where they cannot make a good throw back to the pitcher. One guy I specifically recall who suffered from that was Mike Ivie, a highly touted prospect for the Padres in the ’70s. They had to move him to a different position, as he had this mental block when it came to returning the ball to the hurler.August 23, 2018 at 10:43 pm #66585TheLonelyBullParticipantFree
It’s an odd thing to state Cecil is pitching better than before. He’s pitched a whopping 3 innings since July 22nd when his ERA was 5.70. Also, Ozuna’s OPS is still worse than Pham’s and he’s a worse defensive player in LF. I recognize a lot of Pham’s performance was buoyed by his early success, but there are statistics out there, the same one’s used to predict Carpenter’s about-face change of luck that also apply to Pham. Granted, he’s injured, but I don’t think the team gained by giving him up for playing Ozuna, and at the time, Fowler.August 23, 2018 at 11:31 pm #66587forsch31ParticipantFree
Since June 16th, Cecil has appeared in 17 games totaling 14.2 innings. In those games, he has not allowed a single inherited runner to score. If you take away the 2 games in late July in Chicago right before he went on the DL, he has allowed 1 ER over 14 innings. He pitched a full inning or more in 12 of those appearances. I think that qualifies as pitching better.
Ozuna is hitting .292/.345/.467/.812 since the managerial change. Pham was not compared to Ozuna for either hitting or fielding. I am a fan of Pham but the reality is that Bader has played a better CF. O’Neill is a better fielder than Fowler. Since Fowler was injured, the team is 15-3. Since Pham was traded, the team is 18-5.
My comments only compared how the team was used prior to the hot streak, to how the team was used during the hot streak. There might be ways to make it even better, in theory, but that was not part of my analysis.
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