Coming Down the Home Stretch

At various points of our life, we COME DOWN THE HOME STRETCH. As a teacher, I did it annually in May. Athletes do it each season and once at the end of their career. Teams do it annually. It’s often handled very differently.

…COMING DOWN THE HOME STRETCH in 2022, the Cards are hoping to emulate their finish of the 2021 season. The Cards went 21-4 (including a 17 game winning streak) from Sept 8th onward in ’21. Leading into the streak, the Cards held a very mediocre 69-68 record on Sept 7th. The 2022 starting staff seems more settled with the acquisition of the 2 lefties…Jordan Montgomery & Jose Quintana. The dynamic duo (Goldschmidt & Arenado) continue to carry the club offensively. The daily changing of the lineup (trying to maximize matchups) doesn’t seem to lend itself to a long streak of that nature.

… Two Cardinals who are COMING DOWN THE STRETCH have taken entirely different approaches for their end of their career. For Albert Pujols, the HR Derby & the All-Star performance have seemed to reenergize him. The fan adulation across the league since that time, but especially in the Lou, seems to have provided an extra stimulus. He’s really contributing to the Cards wins…not many (including me) really expected that to happen. Since the All-Star break, he’s 24 of 53 ab– .453 avg. He has belted 8 HR with 18 rbi’s. He looks like he has his “old” swing back & the motivation to “DO IT”.

…COMING DOWN THE HOME STRETCH for Yadi Molina has been a totally different story. Yadi arrived late for camp carrying a 40-45 pound excess. Then, inexpiably, Yadi takes time off to watch/coach his team in Puerto Rico. Adding to the embarrassment, he was ejected from the game down there. Since the All-Star game, Molina is hitting 11 /51- .213 with  0 HR and 2 RBIs in 15 games played. When the Cards brass was asked off-the-record by StL media, they indicated that they were “shocked” & “surprised” by Yadi’s decisions to leave the team for Puerto Rico.  Judging from his actions, it seems clear that Yadi regretted committing himself to 2002 with the Cards.  Now.. some of the fans are regretting it too!

…COMING DOWN THE HOME STRETCH with their star player rejoining them may change the Eastern Division of NL.   Philadelphia has been without Bryce Harper since June 25th. That would be like the Cardinals being w/o Paul Goldschmidt (same caliber of player) for 2 months. Harper will rejoin Philly probably next week and should be with them as they COME DOWN THE HOME STRECH.

…COMING DOWN THE HOME STRETCH, the Yankees do it a different way than most teams. The Yanks have, as part of their nature, the idea that they WILL be in the playoffs. They build their team to succeed in the playoffs. The Trade of Jordan Montgomery to the Cards for Harrison Bader seemed one-sided to some. From the Yanks view, Montgomery wasn’t going to be in, or a critical part of, the post-season rotation. Seeking speed & defense…NYY swapped him for CF Bader.  That part makes sense to me… what doesn’t make sense—have you ever heard of a team trading for an injured player in the regular season? Bader has yet to play a game with the Yankee stripes on it. He hasn’t played a game for anyone since June 26th! Meanwhile, Montgomery has been very sharp in his Cards outings.

….COMING DOWN THE HOME STRETCH for the Yankees has been totally different in ’22. Rather than coasting into the post-season, NYY is actually struggling!! Since Aug 2, NYY is a stunning– 5-14. They haven’t won even 1 series in the entire month of August! If things don’t change in the playoffs, heads will roll from the NYY management.

COMING DOWN THE HOME STRETCH can be sad. Some stay too long. Preseason choice of many writers, the White Sox sit in 3rd place of AL-Cen but only 2.5 behind the top team-Cleveland. But, 2022 has seen a dramatic decline in the 77 year old Tony LaRusso’s work as manager. Reportedly, Tony was observed “nodding off” early in 1 game this year. Another time he ordered an intentional walk to Dodgers star Trea Turner…but Tuner already had 2 strikes in the count!! Other surprising “moves” are creating a rift between Tony & his players. Players often “go too long” but here’s a case of a manager probably staying too long.

…COMING DOWN THE HOME STRETCH isn’t limited to Cardinal Greats- Yadi & Albert. Some familiar, long-time MLB players are “hanging it up”. Jonathan Lucroy retires after 12 years- arguably the third best catcher in the NL for years behind Molina & Posey. 34 year old Dellin Betances (RP) hangs it up after 10 years of bullpen work. 4x All-Star catcher  Russell Martin has announced his retirement after 14 years of MLB play. Most players don’t announce “retirements”—hoping to continue to play, many are often just “cut” the following spring.

….COMING DOWN THE HOME STRETCH in the highly competitive AL East, the last place Boston Red Sox own a 60-62 record. That record would put them into 3rd place in the AL West & 3rd place in the NL Central Division. Keep in mind, that a team has its most games against its own division.

…COMING DOWN THE HOME STRETCH to this blog now!  Thanks for the read!  If you’d like to share your thoughts post them on my Facebook page (Bob Ryan) or send to me & I’ll post for you (using your initials). Missed some blogs…check out my website- www.bobryansportsblog.com Have a super week!    Bob

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