Cards/Cubs notes

I’m only here at the office half a day today, so all I’ve got today is a few quick notes from last night’s game:

1) Wendell Kim has failed to master any of the three elements of a third-base coach’s job. As I see it, those elements are knowing the speed of the runners on your team, knowing the quality of the throwing arm of the opposing outfielders, and knowing, at the very least, how many outs have been made already in an inning. Breaking down last night’s Wavin’ Wendell moment, we see that Kim sent a slightly hobbled runner, Aramis Ramirez (Element 1), against the great arm of Reggie Sanders (Element 2) when there were no outs in the inning (Element 3). Hilarity ensued.

Kim was apologetic after the game.

2) In the 4th inning, after Jim Edmonds deposited a ball onto Sheffield, he admired his shot too long for Carlos Zambrano’s taste. Now, my seatmate, Michelle, and I didn’t notice anything, and even as we watched the slow-motion replay on the TV hanging above our heads, we didn’t think Edmonds had been out of line. Zambrano thought differently, so he yelled at him, almost precipitated a brawl, and then in the 8th, after giving up another home run, this one to Rolen, he hit Edmonds. I agree with Phil Rogers today (Wow. That’s the first time that’s happened that I know of. And I thought it was weird when I found myself agreeing with something Pat Buchanan said recently. These are strange days indeed.) in the Tribune: if you’re pitching for a team whose superstar does a wiggly little hop every time he homers, you should probably keep quiet about demonstrations by your opponents.

3) Zambrano was ejected immediately after hitting Edmonds–who, to his credit took his base in manly, “I’m above this shit–and we’re about to have a 9-game lead” fashion, singlehandedly preventing a brawl–which led Michelle and me to consider the rules. Zambrano knew he would be ejected for hitting Edmonds, as both benches had been warned earlier. Because there was no one getting ready in the bullpen, Mike Remlinger, when called upon, was given all the time he needed to get warmed up.

Michelle and I agreed that that’s an understandable policy. After all, it’s not in anyone’s interest to have pitchers getting injured because they only got eight warm-up tosses. But we also agreed that such a policy could lead to abuse by managers: in this case, Zambrano had just given up the lead. He wasn’t going to be lifted from the game, but it’s easy to imagine a circumstance in which the manager, his pitcher suddenly falling apart on the mound, has him get ejected from the game in order to avoid having to keep him out there for another batter or two while the reliever gets ready.

But I came up with a solution to this problem. The reliever who enters following an ejection gets all the time he needs to warm up . . . but the opposing manager gets to pick who that reliever is. Jeff Fassero, are you hiding down there behind the tarp? Come on down! Mel Rojas, are you in the clubhouse wrapped in a towel? Tony LaRussa would like to see you!

Next time I harangue the Commish in a dream, I’ll suggest that change in the rules.

4) And a quick note on selectivity and patience at the plate. I was tracking pitches while keeping score last night. Cubs leadoff man Mark Grudzielanek saw only eight pitches while making four outs. Meanwhile, Cardinals leadoff man Tony Womack, in the course of going 0-3 with two walks, used up 21 pitches. That lack of patience has dogged nearly all the Cubs all year long, and it goes a long way towards explaining how Chris Carpenter was able to get through eight innings last night on only 97 pitches and four earned runs despite giving up 12 hits. Well, that and point #1 above.

One of these things is not like the other

1) Damon claims in this article that it took him only three weeks to grow the beard. But then he goes on to say that he will have it back in about ten days. Maybe that means he’s getting better with practice?

2) According to an article Stacey found, which I can’t find right now, Damon’s been shaving since he was six. That’s what she says.

3) And just to leave you all warm and fuzzy, here are Damon’s reasons for choosing tutoring program at the Boston Public Library and a city program, ReadBoston, as the beneficiaries of his charitable act:

“I didn’t read well when I was young,” said Damon. “They help kids do that. My parents were always working. I never had help on my homework, so it just related a lot with my life and me growing up. I think it just helps out everybody. It brings awareness and hopefully, they can get a lot more donations and help out a lot more kids, and that’s what Boston’s about. We have all these colleges here. We want to try to make each kid smart enough to go to these colleges.

“We’re going to have even more ‘smahtah’ kids here in Boston.”

You all know what to do.

4) In today’s non-Damon note, I noticed something interesting that recent Cardinals call-up the Third Molina was doing last night while catching Chris Carpenter. In the late innings, as Carpenter tired and his pitches started to float up a bit, Molina began dropping his target all the way to the dirt. He’d set up, then hunker down and more or less lay the open glove in the dirt. The tactic seemed to work: Carpenter started aiming at the glove, and the pitches, when they didn’t drop as much as they should have, ended up around the knees rather than around the belt. Does anyone know if this is a trick that Jose Molina or Bengie Molina uses?

Original comments:

Bengie Molina: I use that trick all the time. I also have the picture of a fly painted on the inside of my mitt, which the pitcher attempts to squash. It seems to help, unless a real fly lands on the end of the bat.

Levi: The real question, though, is how the hell a family produces three major leaguers at one position?

Were there no pitcher or shortstop genes in their family? Or did those all go to the gals?

sandor: Smart idea, Bengie. Been to Amsterdam lately?

Secho: What we do know is that Mr. and Mrs. Molina were pretty quick to get their groove back on after Bengie was born. His birthday is July 20, 1974, while Jose’s is June 3, 1975. So they are, at this moment, both 29 years old, and not twins. So I guess itt’s not too surprising that they share common talents and interests, though you would think one of them would’ve been pitching to the other one all those years.

Who were the last set of 3 brothers to play major league ball simultaneously? The Alous?

Levi: I think it’s the Alous. The only other trios I can come up with off the top of my head are the DiMaggios and the Boyers. I know there have been at least a couple more.

I really like what I’ve seen of The Third Molina so far, although he does still look not quite ready for a full-time job in the majors.

stacey: did the third benes brother never make it out of the minors? they were all pitchers, i believe. maybe they grew up down the street from the molinas.

Luke: Pat Hughes and Dave Otto were discussing this during last night’s game — Ron Santo was taking the series off, so there was much more talk about actual baseball and much less about hairpieces, sweaters and funny names — and they said there have been 19 sets of brothers, the most recent being Jose, Hector and Tommy in 1977. Here’s a complete list.

Cluke: And I think it goes without saying that the awards for best names go to Clete, Cloynd and Ken Boyer.