Monday Afternoon GM: Do You Want the Good News, Or the Bad News?

What a week? The Cardinals get swept by the Tampa Bay Rays, but take 2 out of 3 against the Reds. Normally a 2-4 record would not be good for the standings; yet somehow the Cardinals ended up moving past the Brewers and taking first place.

The Rays series was bad; they struggled to hit and had a really bad pitching performance in the middle. The Rays outscored the Cards 17-6, where 11 of their runs came from 1 game. That game was a bullpen start, and the only pitcher that made it out unscathed was Yadier Molina.

The Reds series was better, but it was far from flawless. Saturday saw Harrison Bader pulled for a lack of hustle and a come from behind win. Sunday saw a late rally come up short; that game could have been a lot worse, as the Cardinals were able to advance runners and score a run off 2 wild pitches and turned a few double plays to keep runs off the board. They were able to out score the Reds 13 to 11.

Up Next
The Cardinals squeeze in 4 games over the next 3 days against the Pirates, then face the Red Sox for 3 in Boston after a travel day.

The Cardinals are 5-1 against Pittsburgh this season, out scoring them 47 to 22 in those games; this includes a 3 game sweep the last time the teams faced off. Probable pitchers for the Cardinals are Zack Thompson, Matthew Liberatore, and Miles Mikolas for the first 3; the Pirates will counter with Mitch Keller, TBD, and TBD.

The Cardinals haven’t faced the Red Sox this season.


WLPctGBLast 10Streak
St. Louis Cardinals3427.5575-5L1
Milwaukee Brewers3428.5480.52-8W1
Pittsburgh Pirates2434.4148.53-7L6
Chicago Cubs2336.39010.03-7L6
Cincinnati Reds2139.35012.53-7W1

The Cards hold a slight lead over the Brewers, who are in the middle of a rough patch. Actually, the whole division is in a rough patch, but the Cardinals are a little less rough then everyone else right now.

The Cardinals are on pace for a 90-72 record, which matches my pre-season projections.

Run Differential
The Cardinals have scored 288 runs and allowed 243, for a run differential of +45; that would give them a record of 35-26, or 1 win better then they currently sit. That would give them a 93-69 record for the season. Last week, the run differential dropped 9 runs.

Cardinal News

Cardinal fans were upset to learn that Oliver Marmol pulled Bader out of Saturday’s game for “lack of hustle”; fans didn’t think it was fair to make an example of Bader, who almost always appears to be hustling. Derrick Goold revealed this morning that Marmol has had this conversation with Bader already this season; there was a moment earlier this month where the manager pulled Bader aside for the same issue. I would have never known Bader wasn’t giving it his all, either Saturday or any time this month; he’s always one that appears to be hustling. This is a good message to the team that they really haven’t received since Tony LaRussa retired from the team; both Mike Matheny and Mike Shildt would have thrown shade through the media rather then taking action.

Remember Paul DeJong? He’s been killing the ball in Memphis; at least power-wise. He’s slashing .245/.296/.545 with 9 homers over 27 games. He’s struck out 26 times and only has walked 10 times, but those are pretty much in line with his career numbers. The problem becomes what’s the best lineup for the Cardinals? DeJong won’t be a better overall option then Tommy Edman, and probably won’t be better offensively then Nolan Gorman; he does present the better option for defense though. You also wonder who would go down? Juan Yepez might be the most likely guy, but fans would be upset with him going down. Edmundo Sosa could go on the IL with a phantom injury; he doesn’t have options remaining and would have to clear waivers to be sent to Memphis. Brendan Donovan is safe; he’s the best option to fill in almost everywhere on the diamond. All I know is I’m glad I don’t have to make this call.

Other then that, it’s been a slow week. Both Tyler O’Neill and Dylan Carlson were activated from the IL after short rehab stints; O’Neill played well in Memphis, while Carlson struggled in Springfield/Memphis. Jake Walsh and Lars Nootbaar were both optioned back to Memphis in their place.

Rehab Report

  • Jack Flaherty, Memphis Redbirds on 6/10: 4.0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 HR, 0 BB, 6 K
    Flaherty is expect to make 1 more start at Memphis before rejoining the Cardinals.

Cardinal Rumors
The rumor mill is starting to churn; Madison Bumgarner might be on the market and the Cardinals are linked to him. He’s 2-6 this season, but had a 3.50 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. The ERA is not supported by his FIP, 5.03, and his K/9 is down while his BB/9 is up. A move to Busch would help his numbers; the stadium is traditionally a pitchers park (while Arizona is a hitters park) and the Cardinals infield defense is better then Arizona’s (STL 24 Defensive Runs Saved; ARI -1 DRS).

I like the idea of Bumgarner; he’s an innings eater when healthy and had decent numbers. Unfortunately it’s been a while since he’s been that guy. This seasons, he’s averaging just under 5 innings per start, which is pretty much what the Cardinals are getting from their starters; the team needs a pitcher that can consistently go 7 innings.

Bumgarner still have 2 years, $37M on his contract after this season; the team has the money to spend, but they won’t want to give up anything of worth to eat that amount of money. A couple of mid-level prospects would be the most I’d pay; I’d go higher if they threw in a good reliever as well.

The System

  • Memphis Redbirds: 35-25
    • Up Next: vs. Nashville Sound (36-24)
  • Springfield Cardinals: 23-34
    • Up Next: @ Corpus Christi Hooks (24-33)
  • Peoria Chiefs: 25-32
    • Up Next: vs. West Michigan Whitecaps (26-31)
  • Palm Beach Cardinals: 24-31
    • Up Next: @ Clearwater Threshers (29-27)

Former Cardinals

  • Lance Lynn (RHP, White Sox) is expected to make his season debut in the next few days; he’s been on the IL after knee surgery at the end of spring training.
  • Brad Miller (UT, Rangers) was activated from the IL; he’s been out for just over the minimum with a hip issue.
  • Shelby Miller (RHP, Free Agent) signed a minor league deal with the Giants last week and has already made a start at Triple A; he was released by the Yankees at the end of May.
  • Trevor Rosenthal (RHP, Free Agent) was holding a showcase last week. It’s unknown who was in attendance, but up to 18 clubs were in attendance; this includes the Blue Jays, Phillies, Mets, and Marlins. Rosenthal hasn’t pitched since 2020 because of hamstring and shoulder issues. The showcase wasn’t perfect; Rosenthal was supposedly not in baseball shape, landed awkwardly on his last pitch, and didn’t talk with scouts when he was finished.
  • Ramon Urias (IF, Orioles) was placed on the IL with an oblique strain; Urias has been the primary third baseman for Baltimore this season, although he’s sporting a below average 85 OPS+.
  • Luke Weaver (RHP, Diamondbacks) was activated from the 60-day IL for an elbow sprain; he has been limited to 2/3 of an inning of relief this season. He’s expected to be used out of the bullpen.
  • Kolten Wong (2B, Brewers) has landed on the IL as well; he’s been out with a calf strain since June 8th. Wong has been a league average player this season on offense and is struggling on defense this year.

That’s All This Week
Normally I’d have some kind of mini-article here, but I’ve got a couple of bigger articles lined up for this week. I’ll be looking at the bullpen usage this season, along with a deep dive into Jeff Albert and his impact as hitting coach.

One thought on “Monday Afternoon GM: Do You Want the Good News, Or the Bad News?

  • Excellent info!

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