(Baseball StL) -- Nobody asked me, but…
•Carlos Martinez may never leave the big club. A 97-100 mph fastball is nice. But his presence and composure on the mound separates him from other 21-year-olds. He has powerfully positive body language, exuding a confidence that Cardinal relievers have lacked this year. It is too early to call him a savior but he looked solid for the late innings. If he is sent back for more seasoning, it will be his control that did him in.
•David Freese is hitting again because he stopped lunging at the ball. The more he pressed early, the longer his stride and the more he lunged at pitches. Catchers saw this and called for more curve balls, leaving Freese way ahead of many pitches. Pitch-guessing followed, which resulted in that deer-in-the-headlights moment when he looked like Ray Charles at the plate. But Freese never lost his confidence, started waiting back on pitches and over the last few days, the baseball must have looked like a basketball coming up there. He hits, they all hit.
•Big ups to batting coach John Mabry for his work with John Jay. Mabry convinced Jay to hold his bat so that the barrel was pointing up, instead of flat on his shoulder and parallel to the ground. Better bat speed and a shorter swing has translated into a couple of nice games at the plate.
•Big decisions coming for the Cardinals. It will be difficult to keep Matt Adams out of the line-up when he comes back from his rehab assignment. Allen Craig is going to play and so is Carlos Beltran. Jay has leadoff speed, is an excellent defensive player and is starting to hit. Mike Matheny can juggle them for a while, but sooner or later, four may have to become three.
•Mitchell Boggs may never pitch for the St. Louis Cardinals again. John Mozeliak says Boggs is important to the team and can help them along the way. That is the right thing to say. But he has lost his mojo and with Martinez and Seth Maness both having impressive debuts – not to mention the arsenal of arms in the minors – it is unlikely Boggs will ever have a place on the bullpen staff. The same would be true of Marc Rzepczynski, except he’s a left-hander and with only Randy Choate on the big club at the moment, he has a chance at a return to favor.
Pete Kozma is a very underrated defensive shortstop. This boy can play.
If Mike Matheny doesn’t rest Yadier Molina a little more, his legs may be jelly by September. Edward Mujica has stopped the bleeding in the 9th inning, but he is not a closer. Bruce Sutter was a closer. Mujica is a guy who pitches an inning. There’s a difference.
Shelby Miller worked much faster in his last start against Milwaukee. Play was crisper, there were no errors, and batters were more aggressive because the pace of the game was brisker.
Matt Holliday’s 458-foot scoreboard-smashing home run in the 6-1 victory Friday night was still rising when it struck the metal mesh.
Both Martinez and Maness worked ahead in their one-inning debuts Friday. Maness retired the side on 6 pitches, all strikes. That’s why the best pitch in baseball is strike one.