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Old 01-04-2012, 10:08 PM  
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***Offical 2012 STL Cardinals World Champions Thread ***

St. Louis Cardinals: 7 reasons fans should feel good about 2012

Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2012, at 9:26 PM

St. Louis Cardinals fans are likely feeling deflated after the collapse that put an end to the team's dreams of a World Series repeat, but there is good reason to be excited.

With all of the odds against them, the Cardinals managed to push their 2012 season beyond any anticipated boundary.

Given all of the season's changes and the adversity the team had to fight through, the fact that they played in October at all was an anomaly in itself. On paper, it made sense for the Cardinals to be in the playoffs, but few saw them as a true threat.
As the season continued, even fans began to doubt as they watched the team seemingly crumble in June and July. When the Cardinals finally came to life in September they went 11-5 in the last 16 games of the season to lock up the second Wild Card position in its inaugural year.

That run, despite it's crushing end in Cincinnati in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series, lots of good came from the Cardinals' season and playoff run.
Following in no particular order are 10 reasons Cardinals fans have to be excited about the 2013 season.

Trevor Rosenthal
When rookie fireballer Trevor Rosenthal made his first trip to St. Louis, it was obvious almost instantly that he was something special.
Between his 100 mph fastball and the general inability for almost anyone to hit off of him, he became a huge part of the Cardinals playoff run.

He pitched in a total of 19 regular season games before the 22-year-old rookie from Lee's Summit, Mo. got his first taste of postseason baseball and he put on quite a show.
In 8.2 IP over seven postseason appearances, Rosenthal held opponents to only two hits and no runs.
It's possible that down the stretch he may have already earned his spot in the rotation for 2013.

Shelby Miller
The long-coveted fastball pitching prospect Shelby Miller also made his first trip to St. Louis in 2012 and put on a good show.
In 13.2 IP over six regular season games, Miller surrendered only two runs on nine hits. His postseason performance was more of the same with two runs on four hits in 3.2 IP.

Despite a dismal first half of the season in Memphis, Miller got himself together and still managed to make one major league start before the end of the season -- a very impressive start at that.
Against the Cincinnati Reds in the final game of the regular season, Miller posted 5.2 hitless innings. He gave up no runs and collected his first major league win.

Expect to see a lot more of Miller in St. Louis early in 2013.

Joe Kelly
When Joe Kelly made his major league debut on June 10, few could have guessed the importance he would play throughout the remainder of the 2012 season.
Kelly started 16 games for the Cardinals this season filling in for Jaime Garcia and Lance Lynn, but it was the postseason when he really came through for his teammates.

When starting pitchers struggled time and again in October, it was Kelly who came to their rescue.
In seven postseason appearances, Kelly threw 7.2 innings and surrendered only two runs on six hits. Kelly came through for the Cardinals from the bullpen.
There's a good chance that could be his home in the future.

Mike Matheny
When the Cardinals hired Mike Matheny to take over for Tony LaRussa, many question bringing in a manager with no experience to such a storied franchise.

He had a few hiccups and growing pains along the way, but for a rookie manager to get his team where Matheny did this year speaks volumes.
His players have a strong respect for Matheny and credit his positive style with being a driving force behind their 2012 success.
True, he didn't get them through the NLCS, but the team made it to an all or nothing Game 7. That's good experience for the players obviously, but also for Matheny. Not only did he learn a lot about managing in the media pressure cooker that is postseason baseball, he also got a taste of what it felt like to win as a manager.

NLCS loss means more drive to win
While the NLCS loss was a good lesson for a young manager, it's an even more important lesson for a young player.
The 2011 championship lit a fire under young players like Lance Lynn and Jon Jay. That fire helped drive them to extremely successful sophomore seasons.

What happened in 2012 will likely do the same for Rosenthal, Miller and Kelly. Their 2013 season may not be like Jay or Lynn's 2012, but now they've gotten a little taste of what it feels like to be a winner.

Both the excitement and the public humbling can be a great experience for any young player.

The run was without several key components
In a season riddled with injuries, none were as crucial as those late in the season.
The loss of Lance Berkman and Rafael Furcal significantly weakened the team's bench. Instead of having Pete Kozma, Allen Craig and Matt Carpenter to pinch hit, the team wound up having to use them in the lineup.

The loss of Jaime Garcia and Jake Westbrook also rocked the Cardinals. Instead of having Lynn and Westbrook also available from the bullpen, Lynn was pushed back into the rotation after a very successful NLDS bullpen stint.

Having gotten as deep into the playoffs as the Cardinals did in spite of the injuries is quite the accomplishment.

They did it without Pujols, LaRussa and Duncan
Few in the world of sports gave the Cardinals a fighting chance when Albert Pujols left the team to play on the west coast. Surely this team couldn't be as good as they were?

Few gave them a chance after longtime manager Tony LaRussa decided it was time to retire.
Few gave them a chance after pitching coach Dave Duncan left the team.
The Cardinals did it despite all of that. That's something any fan should be proud of.

No, they didn't hoist a trophy. There will be no parade or tickertape.
What there is, though, is hope for next year and that will come sooner than you may think.
After all, pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in just four short months.

From a blog I was sent on twitter: http://www.dailystatesman.com/blogs/...es/entry/50051

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Old 05-22-2012, 05:39 PM   #691
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Mutha ****ing Tyler Green!
Heard on Sportscenter or baseball tonight that homer was the fastest pitch in MLB since 2009 to be hit for a homer.
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Old 05-22-2012, 09:37 PM   #692
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Old Wainwright may be back. Looks awesome tonight. Rolling scoreless through 8, working that nasty ass curveball.
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Old 05-22-2012, 09:51 PM   #693
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Four hit complete game shutout for Wainwright.

The Madres - the cure for what ails you.
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Old 05-22-2012, 10:47 PM   #694
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Four hit complete game shutout for Wainwright.

The Madres - the cure for what ails you.
Those smiles after the game were excellent. I would have been pissed if he would have been pulled. There was more at work here than one ball game. You could just see the joy of his fellow players for waino. Having a fully recovered Waino and a recovering Carp will be a fantastic assesst in case Lynn hits the wall. Or Loshe/Westbrook fall off a cliff.
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Old 05-22-2012, 10:57 PM   #695
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Old Wainwright may be back. Looks awesome tonight. Rolling scoreless through 8, working that nasty ass curveball.
Still barely hitting 90; operating mostly at 89.

The Padres suck....badly. Like really really badly. Buck will try to suggest they don't, but they're unquestionably the 2nd worst team in MLB and the worst team in the NL. If they played the Twins, the game would be called after 20 innings at 0-0 because the crowd would have all killed themselves and the flies/smell would overcome the umpires.

Wait until Wainwright's able to go through a start against a major league team without hanging several dozen curveballs and/or getting a swing and a miss on a fastball before declaring him back. But it has to be a major league team - the Padres do not count.

He still looks like a slightly better version of Jeff Suppan circa 2004 to me right now.
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Old 05-22-2012, 11:00 PM   #696
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Still barely hitting 90; operating mostly at 89.

The Padres suck....badly. Like really really badly. Buck will try to suggest they don't, but they're unquestionably the 2nd worst team in MLB and the worst team in the NL. If they played the Twins, the game would be called after 20 innings at 0-0 because the crowd would have all killed themselves and the flies/smell would overcome the umpires.

Wait until Wainwright's able to go through a start against a major league team without hanging several dozen curveballs and/or getting a swing and a miss on a fastball before declaring him back. But it has to be a major league team - the Padres do not count.

He still looks like a slightly better version of Jeff Suppan circa 2004 to me right now.
Well, this is a bit more pessimistic than I'd like, but I agree, it will be nice to see this outing against a team that doesn't suck. Sure would have been nice to see it against Atlanta last weekend.
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Old 05-22-2012, 11:09 PM   #697
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Well, this is a bit more pessimistic than I'd like, but I agree, it will be nice to see this outing against a team that doesn't suck. Sure would have been nice to see it against Atlanta last weekend.
The velocity thing worries me a ton.

A pitchers velocity generally stabilizes around his 6th start. If it hasn't come back by that point in the season, it isn't going to. And frankly, you rarely ever see a pitcher just gain velocity a season later, even coming off TJ surgery (most of them will gain command and consistency, but not velocity).

If Waino's cap is 90 MPH, you have to lower his ceiling. He's no longer a legitimate CY contender at that point; he's just a very good #2 starter.

So yeah, it's a little pessimistic, but it worries the hell out of me.
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Old 05-22-2012, 11:53 PM   #698
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Fangraphs is showing his average fastball velocity as down a bit but nothing dramatic. 89.7 this year vs. 91.1 in 2010, 90.9 in 2009 and 90.1 in 2008.
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Old 05-23-2012, 12:09 AM   #699
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Fangraphs is showing his average fastball velocity as down a bit but nothing dramatic. 89.7 this year vs. 91.1 in 2010, 90.9 in 2009 and 90.1 in 2008.
1.5 mph is pretty drastic.

Understand - Waino is my favorite Cardinal. He's the nicest guy on the team and we could never ask for anything more from a player than we get from that guy. If he's throwing 85, I'd still want him extended.

I want nothing more than to see him back out there owning that mound like he did in 2010.

But I'm also not going to pass off a 1.5 mph loss in velocity as immaterial, especially when he appears to be overthrowing on occasion to even get to that 89 and thus straightening out and/or rolling a curveball (hence his slightly increased changeup velocity).
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Old 05-23-2012, 12:10 AM   #700
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The velocity thing worries me a ton.

A pitchers velocity generally stabilizes around his 6th start. If it hasn't come back by that point in the season, it isn't going to. And frankly, you rarely ever see a pitcher just gain velocity a season later, even coming off TJ surgery (most of them will gain command and consistency, but not velocity).

If Waino's cap is 90 MPH, you have to lower his ceiling. He's no longer a legitimate CY contender at that point; he's just a very good #2 starter.

So yeah, it's a little pessimistic, but it worries the hell out of me.
Tangent here but what do you think about Lincecum's loss of velocity?
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Old 05-23-2012, 12:17 AM   #701
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Tangent here but what do you think about Lincecum's loss of velocity?
Lincecum was a physical freak of nature that was able to overcome shockingly inefficient mechanics for 5+ seasons. When you're blessed with a thunderbolt of a right arm, you can get away with it.

But as he's thrown more innings, his arm strength just isn't what it once was. And frankly, those mechanics are still inefficient as hell. He holds his arm too low as he begins his acceleration (so he fights uphill with his arm), he turns his shoulders too much to get a full drive forward and creates a ton of drag.

For all the talk about how his dad created his 'injury free' mechanics - they're horrid for the purpose of maximizing the energy he can create with his legs and transfer to his arm. And now that his arm isn't good enough to make up for the fact that he's a pure arm thrower, he's throwing slop.

I think Lincecum is done as an elite pitcher. If he eventually decides "to hell with it, I'll throw it out for as long as I can", he may be able to get another good season or two before coming undone. It will require that he alters his mechanics to increase his efficiency (and undo some of his deception) and it will require that he just pitch through pain, but it could happen.

It's either that or he just has to become a much much smarter pitcher. Felix Hernandez has lost just as much velocity as Lincecum but he's learned to set up hitters and rely on location/movement to generate outs. Lincecum's still trying to pitch like he can throw 97 and frankly that's just not going to work for him anymore. He needs to figure out how to generate more movement on his heat, get on top of it and start getting outs like the #3 starter that his stuff suggests he may be these days.
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Old 05-23-2012, 04:23 PM   #702
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1.5 mph is pretty drastic.

Understand - Waino is my favorite Cardinal. He's the nicest guy on the team and we could never ask for anything more from a player than we get from that guy. If he's throwing 85, I'd still want him extended.

I want nothing more than to see him back out there owning that mound like he did in 2010.

But I'm also not going to pass off a 1.5 mph loss in velocity as immaterial, especially when he appears to be overthrowing on occasion to even get to that 89 and thus straightening out and/or rolling a curveball (hence his slightly increased changeup velocity).
I didn't get to watch much of the game, but in the couple of middle innings I did see, I thought his fastball looked better...touching 92 more regularly and his curveball and the more familiar bite and tilt. Granted it is the Padres, but I thought overall it was a more optimistic view of a true return to his previous self. Time will tell, I think he will adapt no matter what because he has always been a pitcher who could deal with not having his good fastball to be effective.
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Old 05-23-2012, 07:17 PM   #703
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The velocity thing worries me a ton.

A pitchers velocity generally stabilizes around his 6th start. If it hasn't come back by that point in the season, it isn't going to. And frankly, you rarely ever see a pitcher just gain velocity a season later, even coming off TJ surgery (most of them will gain command and consistency, but not velocity).

If Waino's cap is 90 MPH, you have to lower his ceiling. He's no longer a legitimate CY contender at that point; he's just a very good #2 starter.

So yeah, it's a little pessimistic, but it worries the hell out of me.
Greg Maddox is scoffing at your assumption.
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Old 05-23-2012, 08:45 PM   #704
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Greg Maddox is scoffing at your assumption.
Yrs, I think the velocity issue is dependent on what type of pitcher you are in the first place.

If you never were a power pitcher then losing 1.5mph isn't huge. Not saying it isn't anything to be concerned about but guys that don't throw that hard and use location and movement won't be bothered near as much.

Waino while not being a finesse guy wasn't and isn't a power pitcher by any means.

If he was throwing 86 like Pedo was at the end then that's a whole different story.
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Old 05-23-2012, 09:08 PM   #705
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