Cinco de Mayo-What it brought the Cards & the Sports World this year!

Cinco De Mayo, like many things, is NOT exactly what you expected. Its a yearly celebration held on May 5, which commemorates the anniversary of Mexico’s victory over the Second French Empire at the Battle of Puebla in 1862 (not their Independence Day). Ironically, its celebrated more in the USA than in Mexico! Let’s see what the Cards, MLB & sports in general looked like on Cinco de Mayo 2022.
…Clearly no one expected the scene at Churchill Downs last Saturday! Rich Strike, a horse that registered just 30 seconds prior to a filing deadline WINS the DERBY! It was the 2nd biggest upset EVER in the Kentucky Derby. For a $2 bet, a winner claimed $163.60. Rich Strike began the race far to the back—unnoticed by anyone and far to the outside. Around the ½ mile mark Jockey Sonny Leon began weaving his horse through a myriad of horses…going in & out until he finally reached the rail. At this point, there were only 4-5 horses in front of him with 2-3 furlongs left to the wire. Leon urged more out Rich Strike than the other horses could match! It was really unbelievable!
…Our Birds held some pre-season concerns …some still remain while some look good in the early going. The starting staff of Wainwright, Hudson, Matz, Mikolas has been dependable. The 5th spot, currently filled by Jordan Hicks has been much shakier! In 12 innings, Hicks posts a 3.65 ERA (very acceptable) but he’s surrendered 7 hits & 8 walks in those 12 innings. As I watch him pitch off the stretch with every pitch, I just don’t think that he gets his hips & lower body into the pitches like when he winds up. Theoretically, once he lifts his legs, it should mimic his windup motion. I just don’t see that with many pitchers, especially Hicks.
…Mikolas has been surprisingly good while Matz has 1 good start & 2 poor ones. I’m a bit concerned about Waino, despite his shining stats. In his last couple outings, batters have laid off those pitches outside the strike zone, especially the ol’ Uncle Charlie(curve ball). Thus, Waino must come in with strikes. I’m also concerned that last year, Wainwright pitched 206 innings—the most since 2014. Can his arm handle another year of that work load? Further his WHIP is the highest since 2019 when he posted a 14-10 record.
…On the shockingly good side has been the emergence of Andre Pallante. I didn’t hear much of him in the pre-season. Thus far (its still only early May), he’s come into several different settings. He’s consistently thrown strikes and gotten outs. Look for increased usage in key spots.
….Outside the pitching corp, I’m a bit surprised that Carlson has sat so much. I think it depicts a common tendency of young, inexperienced managersz(like Marmol)—make changes quicker rather than later. O’Neill was sat, then moved around the lineup. This is unusual for one of the best hitters in the MLB in 2021 & Gold Glove OF. Players aren’t like machines–you can’t do it EVERY day in the MLB! Not only do the best hitters in the league make an out 7 of 10 times, but most good hitters “fatten up” against the poor teams. The Scary part is that the Cards have already faced KC-3x, last place Arizona-4x, the Pirates-3x in their 1st 26 games.
…Mgr Marmol has stated several times that it’s a “produce to play” league. If that’s the case, Nolan Gorman must be wondering in Memphis, what he has to do to reach the MLB. In 26 games, he’s batting .307, 12 Home Runs (almost 1 every 2 games) and an OPS of 1.053. Paul DeJong is batting .135 with 19 hits-73 AB & 1 HR with an OPS of .433. Tommy Edman played SS earlier in his career. Some naysayers weren’t sold on Edman last year…apparently due to his bat speed. Well… slow bat or not, he’s 2nd on the team in HITS(28); 2nd in HR (3); 2nd in extra-base hits (7); 2nd in OPS (.895) and 1st in stolen bases with 7. He should be the every-day SS with Gorman @ 2B…at least until DeJong outperforms 1 of the 2!! I’d cash in my chips on DeJong…get a middle reliever & wish him well.
…Maybe the season is best described by the Mets no-hitter against the Phillies. 5 different pitchers hurled for the Mets in that game. In the game, 33 of the 64 batters DID NOT put the ball in play. Since the game was 3:18, that meant that a ball was put into play every 6 min 23 seconds….ouch!
…one possible reason is the expanded pitching roster. 16-man pitcher staffs kept every one FRESH. Further, Batters faced pitchers only 1 time/game. That could be 1 of the many reasons that the MLB looks for hits like some look for a “needle in a haystack”😊
…Another factor is the technology work done by all MLB teams. The Cards have 2-3 full time “analysts”. These guys analyze all the data on the pitches made to each batter. The analysis of each batter is changed each day…what he hits..what he doesn’t hit.. In previous decades, word would spread by word of mouth from team to team in a much slower mode. This is yet another key element in the decline of batting prowess.
….Cincinnati’s fans did not expect, at all, the play of the Reds. Always known as a strong batting team that usually lacked pitching in a hitter-friendly park, the Reds are 5-23 right now! Cincinnati parted ways with many of their best players over the off-season. Nick Castellanos, Eugenio Suárez, Jesse Winker, Sonny Gray, Wade Miley, Tucker Barnhart and Amir Garrett all departed. Their Run differential 2022 is -87. The next-closest laggard sits at -39! They’re batting .205 as a team this year. Aging Joey Votto is the team leader but his bat speed has slowed considerably. 2nd year,2b Jonathan India, the NL’s 2021 Rookie of the Year, has been on the IL most of the year. OF Tommy Pham has never been a star & he’s past his prime. Starters Tyler Mahle and Luis Castillo (who is also rehabbing from injury) may or may not be trade bait, and while rookie pitcher Hunter Greene is electrifying to watch, his fireballing style has not yet translated into acceptable statistics. Very, very sad. Be grateful for our Cardinals !
….Well… Cinco de Mayo has come & gone…and now so am I 😊 If you enjoy it, pass the word, it can be found on Bob Ryan Facebook page or on http://www.bobryansportsblog.com . I really enjoy YOUR comments…agree/disagree—doesn’t matter. We all have our own thoughts. No 2 of us are alike. Thanks so much for the time & the read!

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