4:19 PM EDT, Wed October 01, 2014
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Viva El Birdos 2 hours ago
St. Louis Cardinals postseason roster: Pete Kozma might make the NLDS roster because of Mike Matheny's small-minded devotion to small sample sizes

St. Louis Cardinals postseason roster: Pete Kozma might make the NLDS roster because of Mike Matheny's small-minded devotion to small sample sizes

If the rumblings are correct, it appears that Pete Kozma might be making the St. Louis Cardinals NLDS roster and a Game 1 start at second base because of his successful results against Clayton Kershaw over nine head-to-head plate appearances. The St. Louis Cardinals drafted Pete Kozma out of high school in the first round of the 2007 amateur draft. Shortly thereafter, Jeff Luhnow (who was working in the Cardinals front office at the time) compared Kozma to Nomar Garciapara. Nowadays baseball fans might nod because they remember Garciapara but the boldness of such a comparison would be lost...
Viva El Birdos 5 hours ago

Randy Choate, when used correctly, has been (and will be) incredibly valuable

Randy Choate will be very important against the Dodgers in the NLDS. Since signing a three-year, $7.5 million deal with the Cardinals prior to last season, Randy Choate has been absolutely terrific when used correctly out of the bullpen. When tasked with left-handed hitters, he has proven he will get the job done way more often than not (see table below). When he faces righties, however, he is not very good, at all. This should not come as much of a surprise given the fact that the 39-year-old reliever should be used exclusively as a LOOGY, especially at this stage in his career. Below,...
Viva El Birdos 5 hours ago

The Anatomy of a Failed Bet

The Kansas City Royals and the Oakland Athletics both had everything to lose last night, not just for this year, but for a long time forward. Okay, first off, I'm going to admit one thing right up front: I was rooting against the Royals last night. I know, I know; it seemed as if most of the world was behind Kansas City last night, in much the same way people were behind Pittsburgh last year. (At least until this bunch of Midwestern assholes came along and did that thing they do, beating the Pirates and incurring further wrath from all the world not part of their specific fanbase.) It had...
Viva El Birdos 20 hours ago
Athletics at Royals Wild Card Game chat thread!

Athletics at Royals Wild Card Game chat thread!

It Is SO much fun to not be involved in this thing. Go Royals! Or A's! Whatever you prefer! Today's Lineups OAKLAND A'S KANSAS CITY ROYALS Coco Crisp - CF Alcides Escobar - SS Sam Fuld - LF Norichika Aoki - RF Josh Donaldson - 3B Lorenzo Cain - CF Brandon Moss - DH Eric Hosmer - 1B Josh Reddick - RF Billy Butler - DH Jed Lowrie - SS Alex Gordon - LF Stephen Vogt - 1B Salvador Perez - C Geovany Soto - C Omar Infante - 2B Eric Sogard - 2B Mike Moustakas - 3B Jon Lester - LHP James Shields - RHP
Viva El Birdos Sep 30, 2014

Peter Bourjos, Kolten Wong, and the at bats that won the division.

If they strayed but a little... One of the most marvelous things about the Cardinals winning the division by such a slim margin is that we can look back on any big moment of success throughout the season and point to it as a hinge upon which the Cardinals' season swung. "Ah, remember back in April when Lance Lynn got the only extra-base hit of his career? An RBI that turned out to be the margin of victory over the Nationals? Ah, that was good times. I shudder to think what might have been had he not done that, but I don't need to! He did! They won the game and the division!" And you can...
Viva El Birdos Sep 30, 2014
Is right field a St. Louis Cardinals strength or weakness this postseason?

Is right field a St. Louis Cardinals strength or weakness this postseason?

With Carlos Beltran manning right field last October, the position was a strength for the Cardinals. With Beltran gone, is right field a strength or a weakness this postseason? *Last October, Carlos Beltran patrolled right field for the National League pennant-winning St. Louis Cardinals. Beltran batted .296/.339/.491 (.359 wOBA, 131 wRC+) during the 2013 regulations season. He smooth switch-hitter is also one of if not the greatest postseason batter in the history of baseball as reflected by his career .333/.445/.683 (.469 wOBA, 195 wRC+) October stat line. While Beltran's defensive range...
Viva El Birdos Sep 29, 2014

MLB Postseason 2014: Cardinals to play at 5:37 p.m. CT on Friday and 8:37 p.m. CT on Saturday

NLDS game times have been announced. Late Monday afternoon, MLB announced start times for the first two NLDS games between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Dodgers. NLDS Game 1: Friday, October 3rd at 5:37 pm CT (FOX Sports 1) NLDS Game 2: Saturday, October 4th at 8:37 pm CT (MLB Network) #PostCards — St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 29, 2014 So we ought to have shadows creeping across the field at Dodger Stadium for Game 1, but at least those of us who live in the Midwest ought to be able to catch it after work. From the MLB press release on Game 2: MLB...
The Cardinal Nation Sep 29, 2014

Cardinals Slide in Oddsmakers’ Post-Season View

The St. Louis Cardinals’ odds to win the National League and World Series grew from last week to this in one oddsmaker’s view.
Viva El Birdos Sep 29, 2014
What will the Cardinals do with Wacha in the playoffs?

What will the Cardinals do with Wacha in the playoffs?

Michael Wacha has struggled in his attempt to come back from injury in September. He showed both good and bad in his last start against Arizona. The Cardinals face a difficult roster decision leading up to the NLDS against the Dodgers. 30 2/3 IP 28% Strikeout Rate 10% walk rate 2.64 ERA 3.44 FIP NLCS MVP 2-0 Record against Clayton Kershaw in the playoffs Once the outstanding performance on a great stage is seen, it is not soon erased from memory. Michael Wacha pitched roughly one-third of his major league innings in the playoffs last year. After pitching around sixty innings in the regular...
Viva El Birdos Sep 29, 2014

Did the St. Louis Cardinals win the division in spite of or because of their trade deadline deals?

Process vs. results when the achieved result is the goal that drove the process. The tension between process and results is something that comes up regularly when discussing baseball. The topic most likely to conjure up the point that process needs to be separated from results is the judging of a manager's in-game decision-making. The concept is pretty commonsensical: just because a reliever gave up a hit that blew a lead in the bottom of the eighth doesn't necessarily mean the manager was wrong to bring it that reliever; likewise, just because a batter rapped a game-winning single doesn't...
Viva El Birdos Sep 29, 2014

The Viva El Birdos podcast episode 5.

Ben Humphrey and Aaron Finkel discuss the St Louis Cardinals' 2014 NL Central crown, the ethics of rooting for Johnny Cueto, the Cards' fifteen year stretch of excellence, and the playoff roster. You can head over to subscribe via itunes here. Please rate and leave a review if you have not yet done so! The RSS Feed is here.
Viva El Birdos Sep 28, 2014

St. Louis Cardinals clinch the Central division title thanks to Johnny Cueto

Don't look a gift Cueto in the mouth or turn your back on it because it might kick you in the head multiple times from behind and end your career. Johnny Cueto is not a swine. He's the type of weasel who will attack a man from behind, kick him in the head with metal-spiked feet, and end his career. No, Cueto is not a swine because he has no spine. He's more akin to some sort of invertebrate, slithering in the gutter, waiting to attack. After what Cueto did to Jason LaRue, it was an uncomfortable practice to shift to rooting for the Cardinals indirectly by way of Cueto. But a pennant race...
Viva El Birdos Sep 28, 2014

Spoilers don't exist, or so this St. Louis Cardinals fan keeps telling himself

Just because the Reds beat the Pirates and the Diamondbacks topped the Cardinals doesn't mean that spoilers exist, but today's results might make it really hard to agree with macro-level math in the future. Sam Miller's Pebble Hunting column at Baseball Prospectus is one of if not my favorite series of baseball writing. Miller was at it again last week with "Spoiler: Spoiling Spoiled," a look at whether teams that are eliminated from postseason contention actually play better against teams still in the pennant race during the home stretch of the regular season. Put otherwise: is the notion...
Viva El Birdos Sep 28, 2014

Cardinals fall 5-2 in desert. Central race lasts another day.

Lance Lynn pitched well after allowing back-to-back homers in the first, but the Diamondbacks pulled away with a three-run shot in the seventh. The Cardinals' magic number remains at one heading into the final day of the regular season. After 161 games, the NL Central race remains undecided. When the Reds beat the Pirates in extra-innings this afternoon, the Cardinals were given an opportunity to secure their second straight division crown this evening by beating the Diamondbacks, who started LHP Wade Miley. They were unable to do so, and will need a Pirates loss tomorrow OR a win against...
Viva El Birdos Sep 27, 2014

Much ado about Kershaw

What is the best strategy for beating a team with Clayton Kershaw in a 5 game series? First off: Congrats to the Kansas City Royals on making the postseason for the first time since Don Denkinger gifted your club the World Series in 1985. Half of the players on the team weren't alive the last time the Royals made the playoffs. So, congrats, and good luck against Jon Lester in that one game playoff.  As a fan of a team that saw Jon Lester in the World Series twice last season, you're going to need all the luck you can get, believe me. If the Cardinals are able to close out the division...
The Cardinal Nation Sep 27, 2014

Cardinal Talk: KXnO FOX Sports Radio: Sorting Out the Possibilities

Brian Walton’s weekly discussion about the St. Louis Cardinals with Ken Miller of KXnO FOX Sports Radio 1460 in Des Moines.
Viva El Birdos Sep 27, 2014

Cardinals vs Diamondbacks Recap: Thhe Jhonny Peralta shhow, 7-6 Cards in 10

Wacha rocky early, but hangs around to pitch 5 innings. Hi! I'm Viva El Birdos occasional recapper The Continental. You might remember me from such recaps as "Cards fall 4-3 in extras" or "Shelby Miller and a cast of thousands beat Brewers 3-2 in 13". Sense a theme? In during-game news, the Pirates won again. Let us not dwell on this. The Cardinals still control their destiny. Our Story unfolds in that monument to man's hubris, Phoenix, Arizona where the local nine dismissed their manager Kirk Gibson, as well as bench coach Alan Trammell. Filling in for fired manager Kirk Gibson was bench...
Viva El Birdos Sep 26, 2014

Hunt and Peck: Links of the Week

Are you nervous? No charts today. It is pretty simple, really. The Cardinals magic number is three with three games to play. Win, and they win the Central. And if you needed help getting pumped up for this, well, here you go: what else is going on in baseball... Who is your team's MVP? - Sports on Earth X-Facors going into the playoffs. - Sports Illustrated And a look at postseason pitching. - Sports on Earth Mo'ne is in the Hall of Fame... sort of. - Cut4 John Gibbons will return as the Blue Jays manager in 2015. - Hardball Talk When should you pull your pitcher?...
Viva El Birdos Sep 26, 2014

Series Preview: Cardinals at Diamondbacks, September 26-28

The Cardinals finish the season in Phoenix against baseball's worst team. The Series Schedules For the Cardinals: Friday, September 26: Michael Wacha (5-6, 3.18 ERA, 3.16 FIP) vs. Trevor Cahill* (3-12, 5.55 ERA, 3.89 FIP), 8:40 p.m. CT Saturday, September 27: Lance Lynn (15-10, 2.73 ERA, 3.25 FIP) vs. Wade Miley (8-12, 4.35 ERA, 4.01 FIP), 7:10 p.m. CT Sunday, September 28: Adam Wainwright (20-9, 2.38 ERA, 2.87 FIP) vs. Josh Collmenter (11-8, 3.57 ERA, 3.94 FIP) 3:10 p.m. CT * Remember when Trevor Cahill was an All-Star and finished in the top 10 in Cy Young voting?  Me neither. For...

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