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Giants/Cardinals Series Preview

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I don’t like the Cardinals. Sure, this all goes back to the Ozzie Smith and Jose Oquendo taking swings at Will Clark when he was on second, not to mention the acrimony that went along with the ‘87 playoffs, but now there’s another reason to be annoyed. The Cardinals traded this guy...


G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS+ (park-adjusted)
2010 - Ryan Ludwick 18 63 9 16 3 0 3 10 8 14 0 0 .254 .338 .444 328


...to the Padres. They did it so they could get Jake Westbrook, who was a solid addition, but there had to have been some way to get Westbrook without giving Ludwick to the Padres. So annoying. The worst part is that the Cardinals felt comfortable trading Ludwick because Jon Jay was hot. Jon Jay. You might remember him from last year, when he hit .281/.338/.394 as a 24-year-old in the PCL. He improved a little this year in AAA, got called up, and is now hitting .350/.399/.515.

What kind of reverse-Bowker crap is this? The Cardinals made room for a once-middling prospect at the first sign he’d possibly made some sort of developmental leap? No, no, no. That’s not how you do it. You keep the once-middling prospect in AAA and ignore his performance. When he struggles in 30 or 40 at-bats at the major league level, you bury him completely, and then you trade him for a guy who will give you seven or eight innings down the stretch. The Cardinals...wait, they did what? They let Jay hit .243/.243/.297 in his first 23 games, and then they let him play some more? Wha...just...I can’t even type. Everyone knows that a player’s first handful of at-bats are the oracle of immutable truth, and that they mean more than those fruity minor league stats.

I’m not even sure what the point of that sarcasm is. It probably wasn’t a sound decision to think Jay was a suitable replacement for Ludwick -- and since the trade, Jay’s hit .250/.291/.327 -- so I’m not saying "Gee, why can’t the Giants do that?" I’m just bitter that the Giants gave John Bowker the starting job because he hit well in spring training, then platooned him when they said they weren’t going to, took his job away after 48 at-bats, and then traded him for a LOOGY. I will always be bitter, and you can’t make me stop. I calm down when I pretend that Andres Torres is really Bowker after gene therapy.

Back to the Cardinals. They’re scuffling a little bit, losing four in a row at home, including two to the Cubs. They could only muster four runs in two games against the Brewers. So they’re kind of ticked off right now. They want to bury the Giants in an avalanche of home runs and stop their mini-slide. I’m not sure if it’s good that the Cardinals are in a little slump, or if it’s bad that they’ll be hungry for a win. After the series is done, I’ll come back and edit these last two sentences to make me look prescient.

Hitter to watch:

Oh, decisions, decisions. Randy Winn is on the Cardinals now, doing just fine as a fifth outfielder. He’d probably slap a few classy doubles against the Giants if he were given the chance to start all three games in the series, just because.

But, no, the real hitter to watch is Pedro Feliz, for whom the Cardinals just traded. Oh, the Cardinals fans will be watching him too:

I took a quick look at this swing and see a number of things that are a problem.

I just love that sentence. Cards fans are thinking, well, okay, maybe Feliz can fill in adequately. And he probably can. It’s not like the Cardinals are plugging him right into the middle of the order. That’s more of a Jose Guillen kind of thing. No, the Cardinals don’t want Feliz to do much more than play good defense and surprise with the occasional home run. Still, they have no idea just how frustrating he is to watch. I’d laugh about it if we weren’t saddled with a really, really, really expensive Pedro Feliz as a part-time center fielder.

Pitcher to watch:

Not Adam Wainwright, which is pretty sweet. It was pretty fortuitous for the Giants to play the Phillies and the Cardinals without seeing Roy Halladay or Wainwright. The Giants made up for it in Philadelphia by getting shut down by Joe Blanton, who has been awful this season, so let’s watch Kyle Loshe unloshe some magic on this lineup and turn in a Wainwrightian performance just because.

Prediction:

Obviously, Jay and Feliz are going to hit three or four home runs against the Giants now that I wrote all that. Sorry, but being TRUE to my ART means more to me than this series.