Bailey: Unsolicited advice for the St. Louis Cardinals -

Bailey: Unsolicited advice for the St. Louis Cardinals

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By John Bailey By John Bailey

(Baseball StL) -- Nobody asked me, but...

Rest Yadier Molina for at least two more games and for crying out loud, sit him once a week or more. The success of a major league team rests on a knife’s edge. If Molina goes down for the count, the season goes with him.

Bat Matt Holliday lead-off. That would be one less time he could hit into a double play.

If Allen Craig wasn’t named to the all-star team, there should have been an investigation. How much more can one guy do than play any position they put him at, hit .325 with 10 homers and 68 RBIs and be tied for the best fielding percentage at .998? And all this for $1.75 million this year. I know I sound like a broken record on this, but Ty Wigginton is making $750,000 a year MORE. His line: .158 with 3 RBIs and no homers.

The first week of the second half will be pivotal for Pete Kozma. Mired in a long slump, his average down to .235, how Kozma responds to prolonged failure will determine whether he makes it as the Cardinals shortstop going forward or whether the trade/free agency avenues will be explored.  Kozma has the defensive statistics for the job and no one expected him to hit .330, but he can’t hit .230 and stay in the bigs for long. He’s a steady workman-like guy who you really hope succeeds.

With Oscar Taveras still on the DL at AAA Memphis and thus missing a good chunk of the year, you have to wonder if re-signing Carlos Beltran for a year might be on the Cardinals’ minds. If Taveras had continued to tear up the minor like he was, GM John Mozeliak would have had to make room for him, making either Beltran or John Jay expendable. But if he misses any more time, the Cardinals may be reluctant to bring him up too fast, meaning if Beltran would agree to a one-year deal for reasonable money, it looks more possible now than it did at the start of the year.

Criticizing a manager is easy but sometimes it has to be done. Mike Matheny has had a string very poor decisions over the past several games that have raised a few eyebrows. All bad decisions are obvious in retrospect, but these should have been obvious at the time.

With men on first and second and no one out against the Angels and a struggling Pete Kozma at the plate, everyone looked for a bunt. Matheny didn’t and Kozma hit into a double play.  A few innings later, same situation and again instead of a bunt, he called for a hit and run. That call is not awful, but the pitcher had walked the first batter and hit the second, meaning he wasn’t throwing enough strikes to hit and run. Kozma swung as he had to but the ball wasn’t a strike and the runner was thrown out at third.

He let Wainwright pitch to Mike Trout with men on second and third and two outs and he burned them with a single for two RBIs.

After the Birdos rallied to take a 5-3 lead, Wainwright gave up a single to Albert Pujols to start the 9 th and Matheny went to his closer, Edward Mujica, instead of his left-hand specialist Randy Choate. Hamilton yakked and the Cardinals lost.

Here’s quirky fact: Going into Saturday’s game against the Florida Marlins, the Cardinals had lost nine straight games in which Joe Kelly has pitched, either as a starter or a reliever. And, until Matt Adams hit a tater in the 8th to tie the game, it was seriously looking like number 10 was just three outs away.



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