The First Annual Cardinal Blogger Awards

The votes have been cast. Now let’s see who won!

First off, a comment from Kujo at Rockin’ the Red for a new title for the group:

How about Cardinals Bloggers United, in the likeness of the soccer hooligan firms in England?

That’s not bad. Those involved, what do you think? Or perhaps United Cardinal Bloggers would be more your style? If we are going to keep doing projects, we gotta find a name. And I do hope we keep doing projects.

OK, to the awards. I’ll post some quotes from those bloggers that elaborated on their selections.

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My Ballot for the Cardinal Blogger Awards

This is the first attempt at a Cardinal blogger collaborative project. I hope that the bloggers involved enjoy it enough to try doing more things together in the near future.

Those scheduled to post their selections today include Readin’ Redbird, Redbirds Fun, CardinalsGM, Rockin’ the Red, Redbird Ramblings, and CardinalsNationGlobe. Check all of them out (I’ll direct link to their post when they get them up) and then come back here next week for a consolidated ballot. (Future Redbirds has theirs up now as well.)

So, without much further ado, let’s see my selections for the CBA. My selections are noted in bold.

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The Rest of the PECOTA Story

Earlier, I compared the Baseball Prospectus PECOTA numbers and the community projections by Viva El Birdos and CardsClubhouse to the actual stats of some of the Cardinals. The ones in the previous post were players that had already been shut down for the year. With the season well over now, it’s time to reflect on the others that we projected before the season began.

Jim Edmonds

CCH 427 73 117 25 1 24 82 64 .274 .369 .506
VEB 425 79 116 21 1 25 86 69 .273 .375 .504
PECOTA   62   19 1 21 65 59 .253 .358 .482
Actual 365 39 92 15 2 12 53 41 .252 .325 .403

Edmonds, like most every player on the Cardinals, battled injuries throughout the year. The extent of his offseason surgery was probably underplayed in the minds of the Cardinal projectors, as Edmonds never quite got his groove on in 2007.

Edmonds is the only hitter that was left (surprisingly, we didn’t do Mr. Pujols, probably figuring it was too easy!), but there are three pitchers left to examine.

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Seven Reasons The Losing Streak Isn’t So Bad

Really not a lot to say about yesterday.  Kip Wells danced around trouble for a while, but if you run through the raindrops long enough, you are going to get wet.  Albert (it sounded like, since I listened to the game via XM) had a number of balls hit to the wall.  A completely healthy Pujols might have had another three home run game instead of two sac flies and an out.  The team continued to battle, even if they did fall short once again.

So it’s seven in a row at the worst possible time (and they are on a nine game road skid).  But things could be worse.  Here are seven reasons this streak isn’t the end of the world.

1) This means that, odds are, the Cardinals will do well this weekend.  If they got swept, they’d be on an 11-game streak and that doesn’t happen in baseball all that often.  Granted the fact that they are fielding half of a AAA lineup and rotation may skew things a little, but in the way of baseball, long streaks are often followed up with some good wins.  I’d say that, in the flow of a baseball season, this means at least a split this weekend.

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What Now?

Not much to talk about from last night’s game. Edwin Encarnacion continued his ownership of Anthony Reyes and Reyes continued not to give any reasons to keep him in the rotation. Young pitching is supposed to be inconsistent, and I wish Reyes was a little more inconsistent. That means we’d see some good starts out of him as well as bad and have a little more encouragement. My personal feeling is if Tony LaRussa comes back for 2008 (and I think he will), Reyes probably gets traded in the off-season. And he’ll possibly bloom somewhere else, but I think he may have worn out his welcome around St. Louis, especially if there are some young guys in the minors that look to be ready to make the next step up.

Pujols goes 0-4 and runs his homerless streak to 20 games. He had a 22-gamer right before the All-Star Break this year. Coming into this year, his longest had been 18 games. It’s astounding that we are talking about an off-year for El Hombre and it’s still a .318/30/89 year, with a chance to hit his 100 RBI total and, with 12 runs, 100 runs for the 7th year in a row. Hopefully he gets healed up this offseason and comes back with a vengeance in 2008.

In fact, if the schedule was different, I’d be advocating a shutdown of AP starting now. The Cards aren’t going anywhere and milestones aren’t worth risking more injury for. However, you have to respect that TLR is going to play the game the right way. With both Chicago and Milwaukee coming up, LaRussa is going to put the best team that he can out there and make those teams earn their division crown.

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Eating Crow

OK, first off, Paul Maholm didn’t throw yesterday for the Pirates. Apparently ESPN has their schedule off, so I’ll start checking the official site from now on. And today’s matchup is a very interesting one, but we’ll discuss that after I’ve finished my meal of crow.

Perhaps Walt knows what he is doing by not offering Wells an extension during the season. After such a good run, Wells has fallen back into his early season results, going 0-3 with a 10.80 ERA in his last outings. That’s not going to cut it, especially when the Cards are in the hunt. Maybe Duncan can get with him and figure out what’s gone wrong. Or maybe I just need to talk him down like I do Looper and that’ll improve things all the way around.

Glad to see that the Brewers and Cubs both lost as well. I was afraid they’d lose ground with that blowout, but thankfully Carlos Zambrano wanted to imitate Kip Wells and the Milwaukee bullpen blew another one. So everything is the same, but one less day to make up the ground. That said, they weren’t going to win every one the rest of the way, so if they’ve got to lose, nice that the other teams in the race did the same.

OK, new day, turn the page, etc., etc. Today’s matchup (and I’ve double-checked this time!) is old friend Matt Morris vs. new Cardinal Joel Pineiro. Here are Morris’s numbers against his former team. It looks like Albert Pujols learned a lot about Matty Mo when he shared a clubhouse with him. That said, Pujols had good numbers against Ian Snell as well, and that didn’t pan out quite the way we wanted yesterday. Sadly, the player with the most experience against Morris (and with success, as well) is Juan Encarnacion, who obviously isn’t available.

Pineiro has been looking fairly good since he came over, but to make sure, he’s a terrible pitcher who will get lit up from the first pitch. (You can’t be too careful, you know.) Only four pirates have ever faced Pineiro, but three of them (Bay, Nady and Phelps) have home runs. Keeping the ball in the ballpark will be key this evening.

Scoreboard watching: Houston visits Milwaukee this evening, Brandon Backe vs. Carlos Villanueva. Backe’s making his first start of the year (seems to be a trend this week, with Pedro yesterday and Mulder tomorrow), so it’s hard to know what’ll happen there. Also, the Dodgers and Brad Penny tangle with the Cubs and Steve Traschel in another night game. Pitching wise, the edge is to the Dodgers, so maybe a good game by the Cards will get them a game in the standings.

Personal edit: My interview with VEB founder Larry Borowsky can be found here at CardsClubhouse.  A couple more interviews with Cardinal-related people are in the works.

Break Out the Brooms

Nice to see the Cardinals were able to actually take care of business this weekend. The Reds gave them some scares–I really was worried on Friday night that they’d blow their opportunity–but they battled through them and came out on top every day, with major credit due to Mr. Ankiel, who started it off again today with a home run and drove in another with a sac fly. With Juan Encarnacion out and with Ankiel hitting lefties the way he is, I’d say there’s a good possibility he’s going to be playing almost every day from here on out. And that’s likely a good thing from the Cardinals’ point of view.

As for Encarnacion, the news isn’t good from that horrifying incident from Friday night. It looks like he’ll be fortunate just to be able to see out of the eye again, much less play baseball any more. Hopefully it’s not as bad as they think it is, but that is out there. It’s amazing that, in the split second it took from the ball to leave Aaron Miles’s bat and hit him in the face, Encarnacion’s public perception took a 180.

Personally, I’ve never had a problem with Encarnacion. The biggest problem with him, I think, was his contract. Walt Jocketty signed him to a deal that was really more than he probably was worth, which is what got everyone really up in arms and let him slide easily into the Cardinal Whipping Boy slot recently vacated by J.D. Drew. All the other criticisms, in my mind, flowed out of the fact that we got him at above-market rates. If he’d been a bargain, a lot of the complaints levelled at him would have been shrugged off, I think.

Anyway, now if Encarnacion shows up at any Cardinal function, he’s about guaranteed to always get a warm ovation. It’s a little sad that it takes something as drastic as this to see and care about the person underneath, instead of the abstraction that we think of when we think of a baseball player.

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