Wishin’ & Hopin’

Wishin’ & Hopin’ the Dusty Springfield hit song describes most of us today. Of course our first hopes are to escape this wicked coronavirus situation & environment across our country and city. Outside the coronavirus, there still are wishes & hopes ….not to the same degree of importance…but still there…isn’t that what keeps us going…wishing & hoping?
…wishin’ that the fans…..suffering through the Coronavirus…may get a reprieve of sorts. Prior to the virus, that is upending everyone’s schedule, the odds were favoring the MLB players striking during the 2020 season. The players are upset with the severe “tanking” of teams who still make a profit after selling off all their stars. Other issues ….like the first 3 years of pre-arbitration is a negotiable item. Then… the Kris Bryant type of treatment for young players…keeping them down in the minors just a day or 2 or 3 days longer so as to not reach the minimum number of days to be credited for a full year. The Union may want a “backup” plan…if a player comes up AFTER that magical date but still plays X number of games , or has B number of AB’s or….some other way of measuring lots of playing time that would give the player credit for the full year. However, this IS the only time that the owners DO have a managed financial control of their players. Soooo…they’ll be reluctant…very reluctant… to concede on this point. With the virus & the standstill of all pro sports, I’m hoping that the MLB & players union will realize that a strike could cause permanent damage to their entertainment business. If they do strike, I feel like they’ll lose some fans permanently.
… the Cards are wishing & hoping that their pitching matches 2019.…all these stats are comparing them to the entire MLB… #1 in batting average against them(.191); a 3.80 ERA was #5 league wide; walking only 89 batters all year was second best in the MLB (so few hits & few walks….very, very good combo). The Cards finished with 25 saves (as a team) #27 in the league….did I hear you say we need a closer? The Cards had 31 opportunities for saves with only 6 blown saves (#2). Opposing teams had the lowest OBP and lowest Slug % from the Cards staff. The Cards gave up the 2nd fewest number of Home Runs (36)…..Now the parts that may need more than wishes & hope….the starters had Zero (0) quality starts (QS= 6 inn, 3 runs or less). Cards had 377 strikeouts-#27 in league. The Cards were #29 in pitches/batter with 4.08. Since the best team holds 3.83 pitch/batter — it doesn’t seem like a real big deal….however that translates to– in 18 batters(just 2x through the lineup) the starters will have 74 pitches under the belt. All that being said, the Cards DID have 4 starters with over 170 innings. To reach the quality start level (6 innings), statistically one would expect our hurler to have 106 pitches under his belt AT THAT rate. It seems rare that our guys go past triple digits in pitches.
….Maybe I’m being selfish here, but I’m wishin & hopin’ that Jason Goodwin & Hasahn French..after going through the NBA’s pre-draft process…will return to the Billikens. Goodwin is a true “all around” player, scores app 15ppg with mid-jumpers, drives & put-backs being his forte; he rebounds in double figures due to a keen sense of anticipation, shares the ball and blocks shots on occasion. French scores about a dozen points/game & also average double figures in rebounds. While each player had strong years last year, I personally think that each has parts of their game that need to be upgraded prior to attempting a professional career. Goodwin, with his intuitive instinctual basketball may be ready on the mental side but his mid-range jump shot would have to be lengthened to meet the pro standards. French had difficulty in some games against physically strong, tall post men which you see every night in the NBA. He possesses strong “moves” close to the basket. I think that he’d need to expand his repertoire so that he’d be a threat from 10-12 feet from the basket.
… As our wishes & hopes grow…a close-up look—Our biggest hope lies with Jack Flaherty. Flaherty is a real ACE! 23 years old with numbers from last year– 196 inn, 135 hits, 231 strikeouts, WHIP 0.968. Tremendous season! He probably hopes to lower his walks-which would help him get deeper into games. Another huge hope is that Dakota Hudson will replicate 2019. He led the team in wins with a 16-7 record, with 174 inn, & 1.408 whip(walk/hits per inn). I hopin’ that his # of walks(86 walks —4.4 per 9 inn)drop from last year. In 2019, he had 10 straight starts of 6 or more innings; then 3 short starts (4.0 or less) followed by 7 more starts of 6+ innings. My supposition is that the Cards would be satisfied with a repeat of those innings in 2019…..of course, hoping for more. Meanwhile our hopes for Miles Mikolas go up & down. He went from an 18-4 pitcher in 2018 to a 9-14 pitcher in 2019. Having gone around the league with his assortment of breaking balls, the league adjusted. Now, can Mikolas re-adjust? While he did give up more hits, he still walked very few batters which is good for him AND the bullpen. I’m Hopin’ that He gets ahead early in the count…he needs THAT to succeed. My hopes for Carlos Martinez don’t match the Cards hopes. I feel like we need a closer more than a starting pitcher…albeit a good 5-6 inning pitcher. But…if he is used as a starter, I’m wishin’ that he cuts down his pitches so that he can go deeper into the game. Quicker outs with fewer pitches are my hopes.
…We’re hopin’ that Aldon Smith will have a successful return to the NFL in Dallas. In his first 2 pro years in 2011-12, the Mizzou grad recorded 33 sacks & was a Pro-Bowler. But…Smith, who has run into trouble throughout his collegiate & pro career, is now fighting Fr Time. He is 30 years old and has been out of the NFL since 2015. We wish him well.
…in the Lou, fans are wishin’ & hopin’ for baseball to begin….not so much in Chicago….the Cubs didn’t resign any of their own stars (namely Kris Bryant), didn’t sign any major free agents….intend to begin the season with a Senior Citizen rotation (Kyle Hendricks, Yu Darvish, Jon Lester and Jose Quintana)…most experts are picking them to NOT make the playoffs…. thought that you’d like that good news 
….one’s hopes for their favorite pro team(s) are elevated by success on the field…there seems to be a correlation to the longevity of the GM & the success…..its a chicken/egg question… which came first…..looking @ the Cards GM…there has been a real continuity over the past several decades…. Dal Maxvill 1984–1994; Walt Jocketty 1994–2007; John Mozeliak 2007–2017; Mike Girsch 2017–present. However, I seldom see Girsch w/o Mozeliak in any setting. Its been 4 GM’s over the last 36 years! It’s true in ALL sports… look @ the NFL-AFC North
Since 1999— Head Coaches GM
Browns 11 9
Bengals 4 1
Ravens 2 2
Steelers 2 1 and…who’s been winning for 20 years?
Sometimes our hopes deal directly with “who’s in charge”
……thx so much for the read! I’m wishin’ & hopin’ that our situation with the coronavirus will start to recede a bit…and quickly. I’m also wishin’ & hopin’ that you’ll respond….just use your initials…no one is an expert so all opinions are invited.