Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and The Writers’ Block joined The Ryan Kelley Morning After on Thursday to discuss some Cardinals topics ahead of the team’s weekend series against the San Francisco Giants.
Read excerpts and listen to the full interview below:
On Milwaukee pitcher Zach Davies shutting down the Cardinals on Wednesday:
“One of the tallest figures in baseball. He looms over every team he faces. When you think about it the Cardinals are trying to pull off the grand slam. Having been competitive, successful and done alright against Arrieta, Scherzer and Strasburg. They went to Wimbledon of pitching and Davies and just struggling.”
On Davies’ movement on pitches:
“He’s got a great change-up. He’s got that bugs bunny movement change-up. We have all seen in person what can happen when a young guy comes in with a different look and a change-up; i.e. 2013 Watcha. The first time seeing a guy with movements and off-speed, it can be tricky. They do a lot of video work. All the hitters will tell you that video work prepares you, but it doesn’t make you ready to hit a guy until you’ve seen him a few times. He was just really good yesterday.”
The rotation seems to have gotten itself back on track. In the last six starts, there’s been five quality starts. They seem to have solidified it right now. Do you see it that way as well?
“This is the best stretch of starting pitching they have had all year. It’s the first time they have had five quality starts in the span of six games. It was the first that they had three quality starts in the span of four games. The one that was missing, was Wainwright’s start against Washington. That was every bit as good as any of the quality starts you are going to get it, it was just that Zimmerson hit a couple of home runs off of Wainwright. He pitched very well. He did what the other starters needed to do and what they have done for the first time now. That’s brought some balance to their game. The road trip could have been better but considering how the Cardinals have played and what they have done against winning teams, that road trip could have been a lot worse. In fact, if this was a month ago, it would have been a lot worse. If the Cardinals got the pitching that they had a majority of the season so far, they are coming back here with a couple wins at most. This shows the stability that the pitching brings, but also the importance of pitching of this team wants to go on a run.”
Do you think the Cardinals can finally go on a good run?
“I think they are in it right now. Sweeping Milwaukee really would have accelerated things, but you split in Washington. You got two out of three on the road in Milwaukee, come home win a series against the really good Giants, go and play the really awful Reds and then it sets up for the Pirates and the series there to be the difference in this stretch. If they win that series, then they have completed a run. I think that’s kind of the area they are in right now. They have the Giants at home, they did what they had to do against the brewers. They are in the midst of it here with the pitching and then you see where they are at the end. At the end of that, they could be several games about 500 and that’s that mark. You want to get there and then see where June takes you.”
On the Cardinals playing bad teams well but struggling against good times:
“They haven’t. You want to join the best, you have to play your best against the best. The measure of a team is how you play against good teams. It’s a very easy litmus test that a team that looks at itself as a contender.”
What do you think will be the most frequent infield line-up when Jhonny Peralta returns?
“I think it’s going to be based a lot on production. You have Peralta, Carpenter and Diaz as givens. And you can move them based around how others are playing. If Kolten Wong’s struggles continue, then Carpenter is the second baseman. Carpenter could also play first (but Matt Adams had a great May so he’ll get a chance to keep playing there everyday). They have buy-in (from Carpenter to move him around). Mozeliak told me he sees the importance of Diaz playing everyday at shortstop and don’t want to (hinder his development because they see him as the future at a position they’ve struggled to develop players at).”
Alex Reyes struck out 11 in six innings for Triple-A Memphis Wednesday night. When do you think the Cardinals will call him up and what do you think his role will be?
“He’s got to work on his efficiency. He’s overpowering…but he’s got to work on his efficiency so they know what role to put him in. The idea was to get him innings in Triple A, have him work on his consistency…that would allow him to come up as a reliever…so he can be available several times a week.”
Here’s the complete interview: