07

The Debut of The Edmonds And McKernan Show

If you’re looking to avoid the inevitable chaos surrounding finding a parking spot and, if you do, paying absurd amounts for it, then my recommendation is to come by Llywelyn’s Pub in Soulard (1732 South 9th Street).

You can park at Llywelyn’s and take the trolley to Busch Stadium.

But outside of saving money on parking and getting a direct ride to the ballyard, CBS Sports 920 will be broadcasting live from Llywelyn’s from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Frank Cusumano will host The Press Box from 10 a.m. to noon. And, at 12 p.m., we’ll have the debut of The Edmonds And McKernan Show as Jim Edmonds and I host our first show live from Llywelyn’s.

Our guests will be Tony La Russa (12:20) and Scott Rolen (1:20).

Just like The Ryan Kelley Morning After, if you miss any segments of The Edmonds And McKernan Show, all will be available here on insideSTL.com and on The Gateway Buick GMC CBS Sports 920 app.

The Cardinals

Great stat from The Press Box and The Drive Home producer Brian Hoffman tweeted out yesterday:

The Cardinals are .186 as a team through the first six games this season. That’s the lowest mark through six games dating back to 1914.

Yep, it’s relatively stunning the Cardinals went through two playoff teams’ ballparks and went 3-3 with the following hitters struggling to the accompanying batting averages:

Matt Holliday: .208

Yadier Molina: .217

Allen Craig: .091

Jhonny Peralta: .095

Peter Bourjos: .000

I’m not particularly worried about Holliday and Molina. I haven’t seen enough of Jhonny Peralta before arriving in St. Louis to feel like I have a good gauge on whether or not he looks right or looks wrong. Similarly, I haven’t seen much of Peter Bourjos before his arrival in St. Louis, but I’ve watched enough baseball to know that his swing off. My biggest concern, however, is Allen Craig.

A .091 batting average through six games is one thing. But, the quality of at-bats is another. Craig isn’t getting good contact. He’s struck out three times in 22 at-bats and walked once. Of his two hits in 22 at-bats, one is a base hit to the outfield. The other is an infield hit.

As a matter of fact, Craig has gotten the ball out of the infield a total of 3 times in 23 plate appearances. He’s been meekly grounding out at least three times in every game but Saturday’s, in which he grounded out twice.

Mike Matheny’s noticed. Craig was down to hitting sixth Sunday.

Now, Craig did hit .313 in Spring Training, so perhaps this is Small Sample Size Theater. But, in observing the process of his at-bats, he didn’t look particularly good through the first six games.

On the other hand, the Cardinals got damn good starts in four of the six at Cincinnati and Pittsburgh (both of Wainwright’s starts, Wacha’s start, and Joe Kelly’s start). Lance Lynn grinded through a rough beginning to his outing in Cincinnati and dodged some trouble to have a good appearance. And…Shelby Miller struggled.

So, the above is how you hit as poorly as most of the Cardinals have so far and go 3-3. The starting pitching has been quite strong.

I tend to think the starting pitching will stay in the “quite strong” category…and the hitting will improve substantially. But, what about the bullpen? Seth Maness, Keith Butler, and Pat Neshek aren’t exactly names that have inspired confidence so far. And with the style of starts Lynn and Kelly give (lots of pitches…lots of dodging trouble spots), you can’t really count on them to go deep in games. That means you need someone/multiple someones to get you to Martinez and Rosenthal. The 6th and 7th innings have some danger written on them until Jason Motte gets back.

Bottom line: the Cardinals didn’t play well offensively or defensively against two good teams…and they came away with three wins. But, there are some elements of concern one week in. I’m keeping a close eye on Allen Craig to see if this is just a slump or something more…and the Cardinals need one of their middle relievers to emerge as a source of confidence to bridge the gap between the starter and Martinez.


The Blues

Oh, man.

Four goals in four games.

Steen still out. Tarasenko still out.

Fans getting tight.

And a lost weekend against the teams they’d face in the second round.

Ken Hitchcock showed his frustration with the weekend that was by abruptly ending his postgame press conference at United Center yesterday. He was asked about the way the
Blackhawks had dominated the Blues in the last two games in Chicago.

"What's the series at? What's the series at? It's a season," Hitchcock said. "What's the series at?"

He then walked away, ending the press conference.

Yes, the Blues won three of five from Chicago this season. Two of those wins came in a shootout. But, to speak to the question, the Blues were outscored 8-2 in their last two trips to Chicago.

8-2 was the number the Blues were outscored by this weekend.

The loss to Colorado was more disturbing than the loss to the Blackhawks. Losing 4-2 in Chicago isn’t particularly stunning…albeit a Blackhawks’ team that’s also suffering from injuries like the Blues. But, 4-0 at home to the Avalanche? Yikes.

We had Woody Paige of The Denver Post and ESPN’s Around The Horn on The Ryan Kelley Morning After Friday morning, and he was touting the Blues and Avalanche as the NHL’s new rivalry. If you weren’t of that opinion before Saturday, you surely were afterwards.

The final 12 minutes were a series of non-stop scraps. It started when Kevin Shattenkirk took a hit from Patrick Bordeleau. The Blues then responded a number of times…including David Backes going after Nathan MacKinnon. Backes’ gesture led to a double-minor for roughing and cross-checking…and a 10-minute misconduct.

It also led to a quote that will get plenty of play should the two teams meet in the second round.

Per Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch, Avalanche Head Coach Patrick Roy called it “gutless from Backes. It shows what kind of leader he is.”

Ken Hitchcock responded to Roy by saying, “He can say whatever he wants. He always has something to say after every game.”

Hello again, everybody.

Hitchcock was not done.

“The league will deal with Bordeleau,” Hitchcock said. “They’ll go over their stuff and decide what they’re going to do. Down the line, we’ll answer Bordeleau. He’ll have to fight somebody and we’ll get rid of that debris.”

Oh, my.

Before, I was looking forward to the Blues-Blackhawks in the second round…but this crap with the Avalanche sets the stage for some good entertainment if they meet in the second round.

Of course, whereas before, I felt like the first round victory for the Blues (whether it be against the Wild, Coyotes, or Stars) was a mere formality…now it doesn’t feel that way.  And hell…the Central is no longer all locked up.

The range of outcomes at this point are as good as the President’s Trophy and a first-round win setting up a showdown with a rival…to as low as losing the Central to the Avalanche…and then getting knocked out in the first round by the Blackhawks.

To be blunt: the next three weeks are critical for this organization.


Quick Hits

- Jim Thomas of CBS Sports 920 and the Post-Dispatch posted his mock draft (Mock 2.0) yesterday, and he has the Rams taking Jake Matthews at #2 overall and CB Darqueze Dennard of Michigan State at #13. Thomas has Houston taking Jadeveon Clowney at #1.

- Mel Kiper released his picks, and he has the Rams taking Sammy Watkins at #2 and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix at #13.

- A little something to keep an eye on: the Brewers went up to Fenway Park and swept the defending World Champions this weekend.

- The Cubs come to town this weekend, and they’ll get to enjoy Joe Kelly, Adam Wainwright, and Michael Wacha. Entering yesterday’s game, the Cubs had scored eight runs through five games. They broke out on the Phillies and A.J. Burnett for eight runs, but that Chicago offense isn’t exactly crushing it out of the gate. Of course, they’ve only scored one fewer run than the Cardinals.

- ESPN’s Jim Bowden released a list of nine young players who teams should lock up now. Number three on that list was Michael Wacha. Number six was Shelby Miller.

- On a weekend when the Blues got it handed to them by their Central Division rivals…when the Cardinals lost two of three to their Central Division rivals…and Kentucky advanced to the NCAA Championship Game with a miracle three in the last seconds of the Final Four…I pause before typing the news that blew up my Twitter feed most was The Undertaker losing in Wrestlemania.

Log-in to post your comments, or you can email me at tmckernan@insidestl.com.

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Mike in South City
# Mike in South City
Monday, April 07, 2014 7:54 AM
Craig will be just fine.
tunastank
# tunastank
Tuesday, April 08, 2014 9:38 AM
you have to wonder if Craig still is hurting from his injury last season.

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