Here Comes the Sun

HERE COMES THE SUN… written by the Beatles…specifically George Harrison in 1969. Some may interpret it as referring to the upcoming spring. The quick changes of outdoor look, weather, activities, etc are some of the changes of spring. But…there are others..in the sports world.
…in the early season games, with a fresh pitching staff & high hopes from spring training coupled with a shorter memory of the previous season. This sometimes leads to unusual care of the pitching staff. The Cards have gone early & often to the bullpen. After 17 games (about 1/10 of the season), the bullpen has been taxed severely—Tyler Webb-9 games, Ryan Helsley, Genesis Cabrera & Giovanny Gallegos-each 8 games with Alex Reyes & Andrew Miller each 7 games. It reminds me of an expression of one my coaching colleagues. He called it the “Kleenex” principle. “Just use ‘em & throw “em away!” There was 1 notable exception, Carlos Martinez had a horrible 1st inning in his last start (6 runs), he was left in the game for 5 innings. He actually regained his “stuff” and limited the bullpen to only 4 innings and then responded with a very strong 6 inning performance on Wednesday. … Despite this short hook of starters & persistent use of the pen, the staff still isn’t performing. Currently, the Cards pitching staff is tied for 4th highest ERA in the MLB @ 5.06 and the Cards have the 2nd highest WHIP (walk, hits per inning) in the entire MLB @ 1.453/inning. In order for the Cards to shine in the sun, their bullpen MUST be better.
…possibly, a “newer” fresher sun would be to stretch out starting pitchers past 5 innings. In the first 12 games, NO starting pitcher saw the 6th inning. In the 1st 17 games, the Cards used 61 different pitchers. Maybe it turned around this week…back-back-back starts of 7 inn stint by Adam Wainwright , 6 innings start Jack Flaherty and 6 innings for Carlos Martinez.Maybe, the sun is shining brighter? I was nodding in agreement last week when Jim Edmonds stated …in a bit softer tone.. that the starting pitchers should come to camp prepared to pitch! Their pitch count should be @ 100 when they arrive. They have a 12 month job that pays them very handsomely so DO THE WORK in the off-season –to build up your arm. Common sense tells you that if you keep removing a pitcher at 70, 80, 90 pitches….whatever the number is….your arm will NEVER get stronger than that amount! Push yourself beyond that total to strengthen the arm. Another fresh approach would be to let relief pitchers go beyond 1 inning…especially after a 1-2-3 inning. Over a 6 month schedule, it seem that a pitcher..and the team.. is better off with 2 innings every 3rd day instead of back-back pitching days of 1 inning with only a 1 day rest.
…some early season Cards thoughts floating around outside the basics.. sooo, Tommy Edman is a wonderful lead-off man (at least to this point)…the outfield situation is still “fluid” but should not be! It should be Carlson, Edman, Williams out there every day. I feel sorry for them but John Nogowski, Justin Dean, Scott Hurst who have worked very, very hard to reach the MLB but…..I just don’t see any of them as every day players.
…..as the sun continues to grow in he skies… throughout the MLB…not just in St Louis– Check the MLB standings….After winning the NL Cen last year, the Cubs sit in last place in 2021 with the lowest team batting average in the MLB @ .189!! The Cubbies have scored a meager 54 runs in their 1st 32 games! Could we “steal” Javy Baez for a ½ season if the Cubbies get into “dumping” mode?
……Looking at the early standings as the sun isn’t yet shining its brightest yet… the Mets & Braves have swapped spots in the NL East. Last year Atlanta won the division, the Mets finished 4th. This year it’s completely opposite!! I can hardly believe my eyes in the American League! The NY Yankees are in last place in their division. I had overlooked the fact the Tampa Bay finished 7 games ahead of them in last year’s 60 game schedule! So, they’ve been out of 1st place for some time now—very unusual for Yankee teams. In the tightest division, the AL Central….the KC Royals sit in 1st atop the division currently with a 1 game lead over the Indians & White Sox.
…..I guess many StL fans are watching the Chicao White Sox with more scrutiny this year. Can Tony LaRussa manage successfully @ 76 years of age? He just could never get out baseball out of his blood. Baseball is Tony’s LIFE. It’s ironic….Tony began his managerial career as CWS manager for 8 years. It seems like he’ll go full circle & complete his career there also!
…These day MLB baseball has very few…if any…verbal or physical brawls. I was actually happy to see it! The MLB needs some emotion….some teams that really don’t like each other. We don’t need robotic players. To me, brawls are especially “fun” when they involve 2 “good” teams. Well now…we have all the ingredients! When the Padres returned home to host the Dodgers for the 1st time in 2021, the Petco crowd chanted “Beat LA” in harmony BEFORE the 1st pitch of the game.On April 11, Zach Greinke, now pitching for the Dodgers, and the master of pin-point control… hit a San Diego batter Carlos Quentin in the arm. Now Quentin has been HBP 97x since 2008 in the MLB including twice previously by Greinke, once after a pitch had gone over his head! They clearly had a “history”. Quentin raced out to the mound like a Linebacker blitzing a QB, Greinke threw down his glove & Quentin, probably 30 pounds bigger, wrestled & knocked him the to the ground. Of course both teams benches emptied to support their man. Greinke suffered a broken collar bone & will miss 2 months of action. Quentin was given an 8 game suspension. Even after the game, players from both teams were still displeased and yelled a bit at each other. It should be fun to watch!
…speaking of sunny California, the shoulder injury to Fernado Tatis, JR has to be worrisome for the SD fans. Apparently, his exaggerated follow-through on his swing has caused shoulder damage. Immediately one wonders is this a “curable” thing….can he still be the same powerful batter at the plate w/o the elongated follow through? Currently, he’s holding a .154 average.
….strange…the Washington Nationals are 4th in the MLB in batting average but worst in runs per game @ 3.54. Washington has many, many veterans and just look like an old team.. outside Trea Turner—probably the least appreciated super-star in the MLB.
….Now…Here Comes the Sun….and there goes Bob! Thanks for the read….check out the bobryansportsblog.com for more.

2 thoughts on “Here Comes the Sun

  1. Dear Coach,

    I always appreciate your deep dives into stats and analytics of the great game of baseball, however, I am uneasy with your expressed desire for more brawls. The fact that Zach Greinke is now out with a broken collar bone is deplorable. Starting pitchers are too big of an investment for a team to lose simply to have more “emotion” in the game. When emotions rage on the field, fans often let those emotions rage after the game, for example the attach on a Giants fan after the season opener at Dodgers Stadium in 2011 (https://www.mlb.com/news/bryan-stow-throws-out-first-pitch). While I too loath the robotic players and managers that the game of baseball now has, having more brawls for the sake of adding emotion into the game is not the answer.

    Sincerely,
    Brad Modde

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    1. Thanks Fr Brad for the interesing note! It’s a very valid point. I feel like the players would “learn” to handle their disputes w/o brawls as they did for decades…. the decades prior to the millions of dollars being paid to them as entertainers. You are also right…too many fans are “living THEIR life through the players/entertainers. I do feel that emotions…especially of happines …about a HR or a defensive play would spark interest. I cheer for the Cards but don’t design my life around their games.

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