“Is he Breaking Out?”
Jim Cromer @JCromer4
Bengie Molina @BengieMolina1
Steve Flowers @steveflowers55 (not present)
In this episode there was a lot of just general Cardinal talk, a bit of an around the horn, if you will. Bengie and Jim began talking about how there were certain guys you just don't worry about, guys you feel very confident will perform at or above their career norms when it is all said and done. Bengie was particularly bullish on Marcell Ozuna, and he lamented the fact that so many seemed to have gotten down on him so quickly. He also felt Ozuna was becoming more and more comfortable as a Cardinal. Jim really likes the development of Paul DeJong, especially his defensive profile. Of course, he also noted how DeJong is staying on the ball better as a hitter and that is a big reason for his early offensive success. Both hosts expressed some concern over Bader's offense, and they feel he should just concentrate on trying to have good AB's and not try to do too much or get caught up in power numbers.
Jim asked Bengie about Miles Mikolas and any concern he might have for some of his early struggles. Bengie noted a slight dip in velocity on the fastball as something to keep an eye on. It was then discussed how even though the Cardinals haven't really played great baseball, they were still 9-6 (at time of taping) and they were in pretty good shape. This was later highlighted by the fact that there are some crazy things currently happening across the landscape of baseball: the struggles of the Yankees and Red Sox, San Diego in 1st place in the NL West, etc. Bengie felt the Cardinals were going into the big series in Milwaukee at a good time while playing well and with confidence in winning 5 of 6 previous games. (Of course as this is being written the Cardinals have dropped the first two in Milwaukee.)
There was some talk about Dakota Hudson's early struggles and the rotation's inability so far to have many starts even getting through 6 IP. There was discussion and strong feelings from Bengie that this was going to need to change or else guys like Brebbia and Gant are going to be burned out by midseason.
This Blogger's Take
As I write this recap and my take, I must repeat that the club has lost the first two in Milwaukee so some of my comments may reflect that. While we're on the topic, can we just start walking Yelich already, it's embarassing.
Disclaimer aside, I think the guys are certainly on point when they recognize that certain hitters will be fine and should not be worried about too much. With what Ozuna is now doing in Milwaukee, he serves as an excellent example where many were jumping to conclusions about his health and viability before he even played in 10 games of the 2019 campaign. On Ozuna, though, I have to disagree with something Bengie Molina said. I think sometimes the words we use matter even if the words don't exactly convey the writer's or speaker's feelings. In discussing Ozuna, Bengie said Marcell is a “great” defender. Now, I know Bengie's overall point was to point out and warn those who might insult or make fun of his defense just because of the play in the Dodgers series when he tried to scale the fence on a ball that fell well in front of him that it does not mean he is defined by that play and is a horrendous outfielder. However, when Bengie uses a word like “great”, I'm sure I am not the only one that would stop for a second there and say “Hmm, is that the word we would use?” After watching him I would say he is an average defender at the position he plays, maybe slightly above average tracking balls but then there is the arm to consider.
The starting rotation is definitely a big concern right now, both for the guys in it and the taxing effect it is having on the bullpen. Again, as I write this we have now seen Hudson and Flaherty get blown up in Milwaukee. On one hand, I find myself saying, “Well, it's Milwaukee and that ballpark is a launching pad,” but that could be one of the NLCS venues VS. the Cardinals and what are you going to do, just give up? You have to find a way to pitch better and attack hitters better, it's the same ballpark and conditions for both teams. Is it time to look at starting options both inside and outside of the organization? Maybe not quite yet but we are inching closer.
The injury bug is going to test the Cardinal depth a little bit here in the coming days, which is of course something the guys were not yet aware of during this podcast. I'm sure it will be covered in other podcasts this week so stay tuned for that and more recaps and original blogs this week.
Thanks for reading
@rdeschain19 on Twitter