Friday, April 23, 2010

Colby Finally Steps Up to the Plate

Coming out of high school, Colby Rasmus was one of the most highly touted prospects we've seen in a while. Here was a small town, Alabama boy being known for breaking Bo Jackson's home run totals in the Alabama high school record book.

Since 2005, Rasmus has proven himself to be a power hitter full of potential. Whether it was in the Texas League or Major League, Colby raked.

The 2010 season started off with no surprise as Rasmus went 2-for-4 with a homer and 2 RBI. He went 2-for-2 the next game. At this point, some thought this was Rasmus' All Star Year.

Then the start of a nine game skid began. Rasmus went a horrid 1-for-22 over about a week and a half.

"My swing wasn't feeling good," said Rasmus. "It felt good beginning (the season) in Cincinnati. Then it started going away on me."

Couldn't have said it any better.

Rasmus swing wasn't good; nothing out of the ordinary to the human eye, but Colby just looked different at the plate.

As a result of Rasmus' swing not "feeling good," he resorted to trying to draw walks, which is never a good thing. Rasmus began to look at rather good pitches as well as try and swing at bad ones. He struck out...a lot. In fact, he's on track for about 140 K's this year (give-or-take).

Rasmus changed all that with a blink of an eye on Wednesday.

A career night for Colby consisted of two HRs and a triple in route to a 9-4 win over the D-Backs. The night alone jumped Rasmus' batting average from .225 to .273.

More importantly, though, was the fact that the Redbirds won. Wednesday night proved Colby Rasmus' importance to this already powerful lineup.

The Redbirds can only rely on guys like Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, and Ryan Ludwick so much. Other guys will need to step up in order for this team to be championship caliber.

Colby Rasmus is their guy. The team is rooting for him. St. Louis is rooting for him. I'm rooting for him. He could be the future of this team.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Cards' Win Not All That It Appears

Let me first say that doubts about Albert Pujols' full health have clearly been shot down.

He is not a "Machine". He's Albert Pujols, which, some might argue, is miles beyond a Machine.

Also, concerns of Yadier Molina's lingering oblique injury have been put to rest after Yadi went 2 for 4 with a would-be game clinching grand slam in the ninth inning.

With Molina's grand slam, the final score fell in the Cardinals' favor, 11-6, though, it very well could've ended with a loss.

Here are some concerns after today's opener:
  • Cards Continue Struggles at Closer: LaRussa brought "closer" Ryan Franklin in for the ninth only to nearly squander a large lead. Franklin continually missed his spots and gave up two runs in what appears to be an unencouraging opening game for the 37-year old reliever.
  • Defense Shaky at Best: You can't say you didn't expect it...the Cardinals' infield consists of a outfielder-turned-second baseman (Skip Schumaker) and a rookie making the league minimum (David Freese). Both of which made errors today. On the bright side, Colby Rasmus looked more like Jim Edmonds making a leaping catch at the wall to save a home run.
  • Schumaker Struggles at Plate: We saw it in spring training and, unfortunately, it's continued to opening day; Skip Schumaker's hitting woes, that is. Schumaker took an 0 for 5 at the plate today despite two hard hit balls in his last two ABs. Regardless, this is unacceptable for the Cards' leadoff hitter. He is rather important to this lineup - in order for Albert Pujols to drive in runs, runners have to be on base.
  • Jason Motte still "Wild Thang": Jason Motte and his overpowering fastball saw few strike calls today. Motte's poor command put the Cards in sort of a "pickle" (Baseball pun intended).

On the other hand, it wasn't all bad:

  • Albert Pujols was...: Well, Albert Pujols.
  • Colby Rasmus Impresses: Second year center fielder Rasmus did work in the 5-hole, going 2 for 4 with a home run and crucial RBI single. Not to mention the Edmonds-esque catch in the sixth.
  • Brendan Ryan Does His Job: His job being...reach first base. Seems easy right? Maybe in Class AA, but this is the big leagues. Nevertheless, Ryan reached twice with a single and a walk. He then ran the bases beautifully, reaching third on a Pujols hit-and-run single.
  • Kyle McClellan Still a Solid Reliever: There were talks of making McClellan a starter this season, but with a shaky bullpen like that of the Cardinals, the Redbirds couldn't afford his absence as a reliever. McClellan pitched a near-perfect inning had it not been for a David Freese error.

All in all, sure, it was a good first win for the Cardinals, but don't let the score decieve you. They did some good things as a team, but they also did some disappointing things.