Series Preview: Cardinals Looking to Out-Peck the Blue Jays


This is one unbelievable streak. 13-2. 25-9 since May 1. This is what we expect from all the years of turmoil and changing of the guard at Blue Jays central. Perhaps Alex Anthopoulos has finally settled in to be the John Mozeliak of the Blue Jays and wait patiently for a contender to emerge. Every year the slate is wiped clean and there is hope refurbished. The main difference between AA and Mozeliak is that Mozeliak use his years of experience to find the best arms to draft and bring along.

Feb 17, 2014; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak looks on during spring training at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

They were able to keep Chris Carpenter enough that Cy Youngs started dancing through the offices of the Cardinals. His system continues to spill out great talent like Michael Wacha or most recently Oscar Tavares. Drafting can be a crap shoot sometimes but Mozeliak rarely, if ever, makes a blatant mistake that puts the team behind in terms of organizational development. Look at the Lance Lynn‘s and Jamie Garcia. Integral pieces of the system as it is are of value to other clients but they hang tight onto them.

AA has purged our system of such players and after the draft is in restock mode. He needs to bridge the gap between A-Ball and AA or AAA ball. Out of our starting 9, who was drafted by the Blue Jays? Not one. Anthopoulos has traded and signed himself a very good team. A team that is on a fantastic run. We all know it is going to come to an end at some point but for now everyone in town is reveling in true possibilities.

Jul 13, 2012; Toronto, ON, Canada; Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos during batting practice before their game against the Cleveland Indians at the Rogers Centre. The Indians beat the Blue Jays 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The front 5 in the lineup have been money all year and 6-9 have had their share of great moments. This is a lineup built to withstand the average pitching staff that you can be sure wants to add another arm. Does AA do it? Does he purge or does he stay the course and let things develop more? With the addition of 2012 draftee Marcus Stroman one has to wonder if he finally has reached the point where he looks more internally for the kind of help others purge their farm systems for?

Probable Stating Pitchers

Game 1: Lance Lynn (6-3, 3.48 ERA) vs Marcus Stroman (2-0, 7.30 ERA)

Lynn is one of the countless valuable arms that come from the depths of the Cardinals organization. He is big, strong, 3 plus pitches and only 27. He has proven to be a workhorse type who fits in well as a number 3 or 4. In his last 10 games he owns a 2.93 ERA and a 2:1 K:B ratio. He will give up his share of hits because he is a good ground ball pitcher who pitches to contact and relies heavily on the defense behind him. He will get a key strikeout when needed but mostly he listens to Molina and thus is able to keep his ERA under 4 during hid MLB tenure.

Speaking of valuable arms here we have Marcus Stroman. Kind of reminds me of the Tim Collins factor. Little guy with big arm. Collins found himself eventually in the bullpen of the KC Royals and Stroman could end up in the same funk. He won’t. It isn’t often a pitcher comes to the Blue Jays so highly regarded and polished (Not Chad Jenkins polished…). His diminutive stature means little when he can toss his change up for strikes and his slider breaks so late it has wowed people. This could end up getting into the bullpens early but I am never ready to count out the Blue Jays So I say they take this one.

Game 2: Shelby Miller (6-5, 4.06 ERA) vs Mark Buehrle (10-1, 2.10 ERA)

Another big strong pitcher is Shelby Miller. I could almost say the exact same things about Miller as I did about Lynn. He isn’t as good and most likely will always be in the 4 spot throughout his career. His first couple seasons were very good for a budding pitching war. Miller may not look it but his control is great so he does give up hits. His WHIP is pedestrian and he can be prone to giving up a homerun but Miller is a gamer and knows how to keep his team in it.

With the quick working Buehrle it will be difficult for the residents to stop any and all open basketball. Why redo them then get told to a perfectly nice woman and she said she was afraid of the drugs I would have to take. I assume it will knock me on my proverbial butt…but…it is part and parcel of our aging infrastructure. Buehrle is the leader of this pitching staff as evidenced by his performance. I have stated and saturated the interweb with my musings on Buehrle so all I will say is this game is the Blue Jays no doubt.

Game 3: Jaime Garcia (1-0, 5.47 ERA) vs Drew Hutchison (4-3, 3.50 ERA)

This should have been a great matchup but Garcia has fallen off what was a pretty decent slope in the upwards direction…well until May 2013 when he underwent shoulder surgery. His average and WHIP are decent and are even better in 2014 compared to his last few years. Garcia is a proud man and has a somewhat ok bullpen behind him. Don’t assume too much about why. He always has the team’s back and will carry a heavy workload of need be. His numbers still say very good pitcher and you are going up against what is turning out to be the Honda Civic of the starting rotation, Drew Hutchison.

He is reliable and surprisingly strong. Has greater control of pitches with the ability to dominate at any given nature. His confidence and small swagger are leading him to the next big phase of his development. If he keeps using his cutter the way he is with the evolving slider then you are seeing the makings of a number 2. This is his last ten starts: 3-2, 3.13 ERA, 16 BB 56 K. Looks like some pretty heady numbers to me. Hutchison is the breakout star this year…the year I thought for suuuuure it would be Brett Lawrie…who may still surprise everyone and pound out some solid hits.

Probable Starting Lineups

St. Louis Cardinals

1. 3B: Matt Carpenter
2. 2B: Kolten Wong
3. DH: Matt Holliday
4. 1B: Allen Craig
5. C: Yadier Molina
6. RF: Oscar Taveras
7. SS: Jhonny Peralta
8. LF: Jon Jay
9. CF: Peter Bourjos

Toronto Blue Jays

1. SS: Jose Reyes
2. LF: Melky Cabrera
3. RF: Jose Bautista
4. 1B: Adam Lind
5. 3B: Juan Francisco
6. 2B: Brett Lawrie
7. DH: Dioner Navarro
8. C: Erik Kratz
9. CF: Anthony Gose

Worth the Price of Admission: Jose Reyes is finally starting to turn it on more and more. His BA has been slowly creeping up near .250 after wallowing under .200 for the first month of the year. With his legs seemingly healthy it is time to watch the Reyes we hoped we were getting in 2013.

Worth the Price of another Rob Ford Video: Steve Delabar. After some amazing stuff that led to a surprise all-star selection in 2013 he has fallen right off the map. So far in his last ten appearances his ERA is 8.31 with 9 K and 7 walks in 8.2 innings. Some thought he would be third in line after Casey Janssen and Sergio Santos. Now I see him as only a mop up guy. Nothing pressurized.