Because life is a series of edits

Coach’s Couch

In Sports on April 6, 2008 at 8:05 pm

After an opening six-game homestand, the St. Louis Cardinals are 5-1, winning two of three from the Colorado Rockies and sweeping the Washington Nationals by way of (surprise) great starting pitching and an offensive line-up that’s finding the gaps in the outfield.

In my mind, the biggest liabilities the Redbirds have are its middle relief (to quote my friend, Nick: “Isn’t Russ Springer, like, 50?”) and perhaps too good of a start to the season (pardon my pessimism, but I’m bracing for a bit of a letdown on the upcoming roadtrip, which will be lousy since we’re playing the likes of Houston and San Francisco).

Still, after watching my first game of the season this afternoon (we don’t get FSN Midwest, so we can only watch games on KSDK – usually Sunday afternoons), I must admit it was fun seeing the Redbirds play today. It felt like good, honest baseball, and here’s why:

  • The new guys (and there are many) are all still fighting for jobs, realizing that part of their evaluation includes their attitudes; in my opinion, traded veterans like Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds did more whining than playing over the course of the past few years, and that got old fast
  • From what I’ve read, most of the players seem to have their heads screwed on straight and are still in awe of making it to the big leagues; gone are the likes of Scott Spiezio and the late Josh Hancock, who sadly let baseball become something they did between drinks
  • We’re playing who we have and not pining for who we don’t; in other words, because of the early success, there are fewer laments along the lines of “If we only had (insert favorite Cardinal on the DL here),” which has huge mental implications for those in the starting line-up (not to mention the fans)
  • Statistically speaking, we’ve yet to allow a team to score in the first three innings of a game; it’s amazing how much this plays to Tony La Russa’s coaching strengths (he’s better with a lead than without one, though he’s not bad then, either)

Can the Cards win 100 games this year? Most have said it’s doubtful, but I wonder, especially if they can play the game as kids just happy to be here rather than as free agents looking for their next contract. We also need to get El Hombre in sync (strangely, he’s had a slow start, though he’s still batting .353 and is on base over half the time from walks), as he’s key to keeping the younger guys in line, both on and off the field.

I’m taking the ladies to our first game on the 18th, as the Cards host the Giants (it’s Anheuser-Busch Wall Calendar Night – woot!). I’m sure we’ll all have a better feel even then for where the season may really be going.

Any readers who are Redbird fans? What have I missed?

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  1. Wow! I’m honored to be quoted. Now I’ll expand upon that glimpse of my wisdom…

    “Can the Cards win 100 games this year?” HA HA HA HA HA!!! Dude, not a chance. If they win 90 it might be one of LaRussa’s managing jobs ever (which is saying something).

    Don’t worry about a letdown against San Francisco (my team). They could bring back Kip Wells and Mike Maroth against the Giants and still win the series.

    I don’t really think Pujols is out of sync. He hit a homer in that first game against the Rockies that was called off b/c of weather. And OBP is the most important offensive stat, so if teams keep walking him the Cards will keep scoring runs. He started off actually struggling last year (lots of strikeouts) and he still ended the season batting over .320 with more than 30 homers and tons of RBI.

  2. Correction:

    No matter how many wins the Cards have, it definitely will be “one of LaRussa’s managing jobs ever” (which isn’t really saying anything).

    But, if they win 90 it might be one of LaRussa’s best managing jobs ever (which is saying something).

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