Posts Tagged ‘Brendan Ryan’

Starting Nine: National League Central

January 15, 2010

Next up in our Starting Nine series is the National League Central. Outside of the St. Louis Cardinals re-signing Matt Holliday, there haven’t been any big-time offensive additions to this division. As a whole, this might be the weakest offensive division in baseball (yes, even passing the NL West).

Let’s take a look at the starting lineups for all six teams in this division as presently constructed.

St. Louis Cardinals

1. Skip Schumaker, 2B

2. Brendan Ryan, SS

3. Albert Pujols, 1B

4. Matt Holliday, LF

5. Ryan Ludwick, RF

6. Yadier Molina, C

7. Colby Rasmus, CF

8. David Freese, 3B

9. Chris Carpenter, P

Quick Take – Re-signing Holliday was crucial to this lineup. Despite having Holliday and Pujols in the three-four spot, this lineup will only be as dynamic as Rasmus and Freese takes them.

Milwaukee Brewers

1. Rickie Weeks, 2B

2. Alcides Escobar, SS

3. Ryan Braun, LF

4. Prince Fielder, 1B

5. Casey McGehee, 3B

6. Corey Hart, RF

7. Gregg Zaun, C

8. Carlos Gomez, CF

8. Yovani Gallardo, P

Quick Take – The Brewers sacrificed some offense for defense in 2010. This isn’t the powerful Brewers’ lineup of the last couple of years. There are a lot of automatic outs from seven through nine.

Chicago Cubs

1. Alfonso Soriano, LF

2. Kosuke Fukudome, RF

3. Derek Lee, 1B

4. Aramis Ramirez, 3B

5. Marlon Byrd, CF

6. Geovany Soto, C

7. Ryan Theriot, SS

8. Mike Fontenot, 2B

9. Carlos Zambrano, P

Quick Take – This lineup is getting old in a hurry. If Soriano, Ramirez, and Soto can come back from disappointing 2009 seasons, the Cubs could be in business in 2010. However, I still think they are going to be hard pressed to score runs in 2010.

Cincinnati Reds

1. Drew Stubbs, CF

2. Brandon Phillips, 2B

3. Joey Votto, 1B

4. Jay Bruce, RF

5. Scott Rolen, 3B

6. Ramon Hernandez, C

7. Paul Janish, SS

8. Chris Dickerson, LF

9. Bronson Arroyo, P

Quick Take – This lineup looks good for now and even better for the future. If Bruce can stay healthy, he could have a breakout year in 2010. I would like someone better than Janish at SS, but top prospect Todd Frazier isn’t ready to take over just yet.

Houston Astros

1. Michael Bourn, CF

2. Kaz Matsui, 2B

3. Lance Berkman, 1B

4. Carlos Lee, LF

5. Hunter Pence, RF

6. Pedro Feliz, 3B

7. J.R. Towles, C

8. Tommy Manzella, SS

9. Roy Oswalt, P

Quick Take – This six through nine is brutal. It’s hard to have a top offense when the bottom part of your lineup is this bad. Top catching prospect Jason Castro is not too far away, so this is Towles’ last stand with the Astros.

Pittsburgh Pirates

1. Andrew McCutchen, CF

2. Akinori Iwamura, 2B

3. Garrett Jones, 1B

4. Ryan Doumit, C

5. Andy LaRoche, 3B

6. Lastings Milledge, LF

7. Ryan Church, RF

8. Ronny Cedeno, SS

9. Zach Duke, P

Quick Take – I think in order to maximize their offense’s potential, the Pirates will play Jones at first and Church in right instead of playing Jones in right and Jeff Clement at first. The Pirates’ offense will be better in 2010, but will still have a hard time scoring runs on a consistent basis.

Last, but not least, tomorrow we will take a look at the National League West.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

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Dodgers Win Game Two: Matt Holliday Not The Only One To Blame For Cardinals Loss

October 9, 2009

The St. Louis Cardinals, a team many picked to win the World Series is on the brink of elimination after yesterday’s stunning 3-2 loss at Dodger Stadium.

The Los Angeles Dodgers scored two runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to take a commanding 2-0 series lead in their best-of-five series with the Cardinals. The easy target for this loss for the Cardinals is LF Matt Holliday.

Holliday made a crucial error in Game 2

Holliday made a crucial error in Game 2

In case you missed it, the Cardinals were leading 2-1 with two outs and nobody on base in the bottom of the ninth. James Loney hit a routine linedrive to leftfield, but Holliday didn’t see the ball, the ball hit him right in the bread basket and the ball dropped in.

“I didn’t see the ball,” Holliday said. “Obviously, I can catch a ball that’s hit right at me. It’s very difficult to swallow. We had a chance to win the game. It was unfortunate that it happened when it did.”

Holliday’s drop opened the floodgates for the Dodgers and they never looked back. Now it’s going to be easy to blame Holliday for this loss. Afterall, he did make the crucial error in the bottom of the ninth inning.

However, Holliday’s error was just as small piece in yesterday’s puzzle. Remember, even after Holliday’s error, there were still two outs and a runner on second. There was still plenty of opportunities for the Cardinals to get out of that inning with a win.

The reality is the Cardinals are playing bad baseball.

Outside of Adam Wainwright, who has been the only Cardinal to show up in this series, everyone was to blame for this loss.

Let’s talk about the fact that the Cardinals were 0-9 with Runners In Scoring Position yesterday and are just 3-22 for the series.

Someone should tell Brendan Ryan and his stupid mustache that the series started two days ago. He couldn’t get a hit in a big spot if his life depended on it right now.

Let’s talk about Colby Rasmus’ horrific baserunning mistake in the top of the seventh. After Rasmus doubled home Mark DeRosa to give the Cardinals a 2-1 lead, Rasmus, for reasons only known to him tried to advance to third on the throw home.

Rasmus was gunned out at third for the first out of the inning. You can never, ever, ever, ever make the first out at third base–especially in that situation. I thought that was one of the biggest plays of the game.

LaRussa was so upset, it was like someone screamed “last call!!!” at the bar.

Let’s talk about Ryan Franklin, who had the same look on his face as Calvin Schiraldi did in Game Six of the 1986 World Series. You know, that “I would rather be anywhere but here” look on his face.

Let’s talk about Yadier Molina and his pathetic attempt to block a curveball in the dirt in the ninth inning. For a guy who is supposed to be the “best defensive catcher” in the game, that was an inexcusable play.

Bottom line is the Cardinals have done everything that can to give these games to the Dodgers. Now, I don’t want to act like the Dodgers have done nothing in this series. Let’s give credit where credit is due.

Let’s especially give credit to the Dodgers’ bullpen. For the second game in a row they completely shutdown the Cardinals in the late innings. The George Sherrill acquisition is getting better and better with each passing game.

The Dodgers have taken advantage of the opportunities given to them and have taken full advantage of it. That’s why they are up 2-0.

Game Three is Saturday at 6:07. Here is something to chew on Cardinal and Dodger fans. No NL team has come back from a 2-0 deficit in the division series era. It has been done four times in the AL.