Shoveling the S _ _ _

It’s a part of life. True in professional sports also!! . The Blues power play is looking to shovel off S _ _ _ . The Blues are tied for #22 in the league (with3 other teams) with only 8 Power Play Goals (PPG) of 62 opportunities. Blues are 28th in the NHL with a 12.9%! Maybe the Blues underestimated the loss of Pietrangelo on the Power Play? The Blues probably thought that the acquisition of Torey Krug would fill Petra’s shoes. He was signed to a 7 year, $45.5m contract. He was the QB of the Bruin power play for years. However, Coach Berube quickly lowered him to the #2 PP unit after just 12 games. The 29 year old is playing the most minutes of his career 22:40/game. Too much? Add that to the injury of Colton Parayko and Blues face some heavy shoveling! Parayko has tried “playing through” his injury but his play has suffered. This is a much more serious issue for the Blues. Yes…Justin Faulk’s scoring has been terrific but the 6-6, 230 pound Parayko has been a key cog for StL. In the last full season–18-19, Parayko was paired with Jay Bouwmeester in the Stanley Cup run . In the last 26 games of that season, he was on the ice for on 15 goals during 5 on 5 play He was on the ice for only 3 total goals in the Finals against the Bruins. This year the Big Man has 1 goal, 8 pts & 12 penalty minutes. But not to be totally negative…..On the other hand, Jordan Kyrou is having a “break out” year! The 22 year old forward has17 pts (7 g; 10 ast) in 19 games while consistently using his blazing speed to lead threatening rushes into the offensive end of the ice. …. at a much earlier stage of shoveling S _ , the Cards seem to shifting their focus to the pitching since the lineup is narrowed down after the recent “moves”. Currently, starters aren’t expected to go much past 5 innings. The control…or lack of control.. has led many of them led them to “longer”…more pitches..in each inning. With that approach, I return to shoveling out my idea of a few years ago…..piggy-back two starters….expect each to go 4-5 innings. Do this with 6 starters(3 games each rotation) Maybe those 6 would be… Wainwright, Martinez, Reyes, Mikolas(coming off injury),Pounce de Leon , then the best young rookie of spring training. Choose the other 2 starters with the idea that they could go more than 5 innings on a frequent basis. Flaherty & Kim would seem to that pair. ….I don’ t think that you can have relief hurlers with excessive appearances and expect them to be sharp in playoff times and/or not damage their career. 70+ appearances in one year often leads to a weaker year the following year. Several recent examples of Cardinal, ex-Cardinal pitchers: In 2018, Jordan Hicks was in 73 games then in 2019 he suffered arm issues that led to surgery. In 2017, Brett Cecil was in in 73 games. The Following year, 2018, his ERA was 6.89 in 40 games! Also in 2017, Matt Bowman appeared in 75 games. 2018 saw Bowman in only 20 games due to 6.26 ERA! Bud Norris went 60 games in 2017 for the Angels and 64 in 2018 for the Cards which led him directly into retirement! Andrew Miller has only gone 70g in 3x during his career. During 2019, he went to the mound 73x. Lucky for him, 2020 was a shortened season so he only made 16 appearances. Former Card, Adam Ottavino pitched in 75 games in 2014 but was limited to just 10 games in 2015 due to arm issues. Then after going back-back 75g & 73g in 2018 &19, Ottavino suffered through a 2-3, 5.89 season last season. NYY traded him this off season to the Red Sox. There are a few…very few… pitchers who can trek out to the mound 2…3…or even 4 years before their arms “lose” something. The 2 major exceptions are: 1)knuckleball pitchers 2) submarine pitchers have far less strain on their arms and are more suited for this pitching of 3x/week for 6 months. But….are there any of those type of pitchers left? Btw….many of these Cardinal pitchers reached those high appearance numbers in the mid-90’s under the managerial style of an inexperienced MLB manager—Mike Matheny. …. shoveling S _ _ in a different direction. After 2018, the Cards were dissatisfied with their batting production of bat avg-.249, OB%-321; slug%–.409(27th in MLB) and their anemic batting in the NLCS loss to the Washington Nationals. Sooo…they signed Jeff Albert from Houston as their new Head Batting Coach. In 2019, the Cards held these numbers—avg-.245; OB%-.322; slug%-.415. In 2020, the Cards batting numbers were avg-.234; OBP-.323; Slug %-.371 (28th in the MLB). The numbers of the last 2 seasons have actually dropped! After the Asstroes deceit was uncovered in 2018, one has to wonder..is Albert better? Worse? Just another guy? Or…the benefactor of a cheating scandal?
….the Covid virus jumped up a shoveled a lot of S _ _ _ on the Billikens! Rolling along at 7-1 on Dec 23. Covid protocals took over! The Bills played 1 game between Dec 23 & Feb 3 (a loss to Dayton). The Bills are 4-3 since that return to action and were crushed badly by Dayton. Coach Travis Ford has many hurdles to jump to get the Billikens rolling again while time is running out!
….in the Nearly Forgotten League (NFL), Shoveling out the QB is a REALLY an unusual “move”. It’s happened in a couple different places this year. Starting with our former Rammies—they just traded their starting QB for 4 straight years-Jared Goff. Goff posted a 42-20 record in those 4 years. The Rams traded two 1st round picks & $22m in dead money to the Lions for Matthew Stafford. Apparently HC Sean McVay thought that trading Jared Goof…oops… Goff…. For a 33 year old, strong armed, QB with 4 winning seasons in 11 full years was worth the risk. They are excited about his arrival. They think that he’ll really improve the team. Well…it better …or he’s Sean McGone next year. Using the same shovel, the Eagles dived into a salary dump as they pedaled Carson Wentz to the Colts. Philly saves $25.4m in 2021 and $15.4m that became guaranteed last March. Wentz has been a starter all 5 of is years. His best year was 2017 when the Eagles finished 11-2. Apparently his lack of improvement, reticence to coaching, and an increasingly weaker complement of players around him led to this unusual divorce. That sets up Jalen Hurts as the tentative starter…at least until the draft! Strange…Hurts lost his starting QB role in college (Bama) but now he pushes aside a proven, erratic QB to get the starting nod in the pros! Is this the new NFL norm? Ditching your franchise QB in mid-contract with big money consequences to instantly “rebuild” your team.
…. I don’t think its good for the sport but at least these teams are shoveling “something” unlike our MLB doormats-Pirates, Royals, Tigers, Orioles, Marlins who are “tanking”…seemingly without any effort to escape or improve. Yet….these same teams expect the same big TV money as the “good” teams who invest millions of more dollars into their team. It seems that the MLB needs a bottom level of the salary scale as well as a top level boundary to ensure that all teams make sincere efforts to compete.
….Well…it’s time for me to wrap up my Shoveling of my S_ _ _…. my SNOW! What were YOU thinking? 😊 As always I welcome any reactions to Blues power play, Jeff Albert, excessive use of bullpen pitchers, SLU, piggy-backing the starters, NFL trade (I’m not too hopeful on that topic), setting a bottom minimum for MLB teams. Pick one…pick several! Put them directly on my Facebook page or send to me & I’ll publish –using your initials. I invite you to check out some of my blogs from the past several years on my website– bobryansportsblog.com.