Diamond Diaries

Cardinal baseball, from the girls

Tag Archives: Cliff Lee

My Hot Stove Wishlist

Last season I was introduced to the concept of baseball’s Hot Stove. Baseball talk all winter?  Yes, please!  😉
So, I spent my first winter cozied up to that stove longing for any and every bit of news about Matt Holliday. Would he return?  Would Mr. Boras, his evil agent, force him to wear pinstripes instead?  Well, I got my Holliday wish last year and decided that offseason baseball dealings were not only very entertaining, but could make me very happy.
Happy is good.
This offseason has not started off with such warm fuzzies.  Joe Mather, gone.  Matt Pagnozzi, gone.  Personally, I’ll take a nice campfire and a warm Cardinals snuggie instead, thank you.
Maybe that’s what I get for not respecting the Stove?  Maybe I took it for granted that the Cardinals would always make decisions in my best interest?  I guess I still have a lot to learn about baseball.  (thankfully)
So, just in case, the Hot Stove is like Santa and needs a little help in knowing just the right gifts this winter…
My Hot Stove WishList
1.      Save our Shortstop. Yep, I know there is a different player’s contract topping everyone else’s wishlist. But since you all have that one covered, I am going to make sure ol’ Boog doesn’t get forgotten.
Brendan Ryan is irreplaceable.  The fans love him. Brendan’s attitude and personality bring the Cardinals to life and brighten team energy.  Brendan’s got the D.  Plus I have a serious need to be able to watch him leap and jump and dive and be the ballhog that he is in order to fully appreciate Cardinals baseball.  Brendan will be a better hitter than he was last year.  I promise.  Surgery and fiddling with his batting stance messed him up.  With another year of experience, maturity combined with the right ADD meds, we are bound to see a better batter.
Trust me on this.  Brendan stays.  Got it?  Good.
2.      Now, I am no expert on salary figures and balancing budgets, so I am going to head over to my happy place and pretend that I can wish for absolutely anything here.
Two free agents the Cardinals must snag?  Cliff Lee and Mariano Rivera.
Don’t burst my bubble here… I’m dreaming of a 2011 rotation with Wainwright, Lee, Garcia and Carpenter for a moment.  It’s glorious.
      You can see it too, right?  Yeah, I thought so.  😉
3.      As long as I am not being restrained by common sense, I’ll take Ryan Ludwick back too please.  Power outfield bat?  Restored.  Luddy back in the Birds on the Bat?  Priceless.
4.      Now this is where I need a little help because I’ve read all sorts of chatter about Orlando Hudson, Dan Uggla, Edgar Renteria and other guys who might be able to step in and give us some relief in the middle infield (hands off the shortstop position though, remember?!)
This is where I sit back, let the ol’ stove heat up and listen and learn as all you smart baseball folk tell me why one ballplayer is better than the other. Just keep in mind that I’m one of those fans who gets attached to the players we already have – and I LOVE to see the Memphis boys finally get their shot.  Sentimental?  Yes.  Loyal?  Absolutely.
I am ok with bringing in someone new IF that means we keep Skippy (probably platooning) and Daniel Descalso gets a good shot at proving himself in the big club.  Can we keep Jon Jay and Allen Craig too while we’re at it?
I haven’t done the math, but I’ve probably got about 12 players on the field already.  So, I’ll stop here.

Similar to writing a letter to Santa, it is best to keep it short.  I wouldn’t want to be too greedy.  The Hot Stove may not like that.  😉

Trying to find my postseason groove

Logo Credit: MLB.com
Ok, so I have found myself getting into the postseason a little bit more than I expected I would. Yeah, I was really bitter a couple weeks ago and I really just wasn’t feeling it. Then, as game 1 of the NLDS started, I was a little more interested. Sad thing about it all…is the team I have been forced to cheer for. So,who have I been cheering for?
The Phillies. Um, excuse me?!
Yeah, the -gulp- Phillies. My reasoning?
Because, as I said on twitter last Wednesday, having a postseason team to root AGAINST is almost as fun as having a team to root FOR. So, take a breath, I am technically not rooting for the Phillies, just against the teams they play. From the moment the Cardinals were *officially* eliminated, I was ready to root for any team that would be playing against the Reds in the postseason regardless of who they were playing. Of course, I am not the only one who was doing the same – my sentiments have been echoed across Cardinal Nation. But, for not being excited about postseason at all, this was the one thing I was looking forward to. Now, that the Reds have been swept right out of the postseason, I am happy – not to mention, watching Brandon Phillips bawl like a baby in the dugout after the sweep and Johnny Cueto being the LP was just icing on the cake. Now, I am looking forward to the pitching match-ups in the final four teams. (Sort of still rooting for the Phillies since they are taking on the Giants, even as much as it makes me sick to see the Phils in the World Series again).
Cliff Lee & Teammates celebrate his CG and series win.
(Oh hey…there’s a MOLINA!)
Photo Credit: J. Meric, Getty Images
The LCS starts tonight, with the AL going first – Yankees vs. Rangers. I am really excited for this series. There have been stories about how the Yankees were hoping that the ALDS between the Rangers and the Rays would be stretched to a Game 5. I came across this article while doing research for my graduate classes. The Yankees were hoping this because it means that the Rangers starting pitcher would be out of commission until Game 3 of the ALCS. Sounds like a pretty decent reason to cheer on your potential opponents. However, I have never been one to believe in doing better with time off or that it really matters when which of your ace pitchers will be starting. If you have done well enough during the regular season, you should do well even without it being in the order the team desires. The Yankees may be excited that they don’t have to see Cliff Lee until Game 3, but when that game comes, they might need to be shaking in their boots. Cliff Lee pitched an amazing Game 5 of the ALDS – a complete game, 6-hit, one-run game with NO walks and 11 strikeouts. As long as the offense shows up that game, I think the Yankees might be regretting their wishes.

I am also a believer in momentum. Not a “momentum-beats-all” believer, but I believe that it exists. The Yankees haven’t played since Saturday – 5 days off – and the Rangers have only had 2 days off. I think that plays a factor in the outcome of the LCS. During the regular season, no one has that many off days – no one really even gets 2 off days except for during the ASG. So, do I think the Yankees have been sitting around too long waiting for their opponent? Yes. I think that the Rangers have a good chance of coming in and winning. The Rangers won all of their road games (another reason for the Yankees to be worried about Cliff Lee in Game 3, since it will be in New York) in the ALDS, and I think that they have what it takes to make it to the end. The series might last all 7 games, but I think they can pull it off. After all, do we really want to see the Phillies and the Yankees in the World Series
again? I will be rooting for the Rangers this series and for the Giants to lose. I really don’t think I could stand seeing Tim Lincecum winning a WS Ring – even if that does mean the Phillies are playing for the title again. If it ends up being the Yankees in the World Series, you can count me out this year. I’ll just wait for the Cardinals to take the crown next year. 🙂
Everyone enjoy the rest of the postseason. Not much time left before there is no actual baseball being played and we are being bombarded with trade rumors. And while I am anxious for awards season, I am dreading this offseason. Keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for the best news on a certain first baseman. 🙂  
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