What if we were picking up the pieces like after Game 6 of the 2005 NLCS? Would Cardinal Nation be happy?
Therefore to follow up the Good News predictions for the first half, here is my disappointments for the second half.
It's a brutal assessment, but a World Series title is the only option. LOOGY's and PH's are exempt.
Remember, a good first-half doesn't mean a good finish. And a good finish to the regular season doesn't insure a ticket to the promised land. The promised land is nothing but an 11th World Series title.
It's was a very tough call not to put the reliable Franklin in The Good category, but the night of July 6th is still fresh in the mind..
Colorado roughed up Franklin and the Cardinals bullpen for nine runs, it ruined Franklin's fantastic first three months, and proved the notion that no closer should be brought in during a non-save situation
The Prediction : Franklin is an out guy. Quiet and efficient, he usually just shuts down the ninth inning on less than 10 pitches.
But we're talking October, and Franklin doesn't have the ability to strike out the best hitters to end a pressure-ridden playoff game suddenly.
This fireballer has come into his own. With no real compliment to his 98+ MPH heat, Motte has found command of his flat speedball and his off-speed-pitch-in progress can relax and be just that - a work in progress.
He's managed to spot his smoke enough to make him a serious weapon.
The Prediction : In the World Series, A-Rod and the Yankees will turn his straight heat around and hit crucial, late-inning home runs.
Let Cardinal Nation never forget that Kyle McClellan pitched superbly in an effort to win a starting role in spring training, but was simply outdone by Jaime Garcia.
Being a proven bullpen pitcher meant McClellan then trained for short stints, and we're left with Jeff Suppan starting. This cat is special, and look for him in the rotation in 2011.
The Prediction : All my love for his curveball cannot displace the image of Byung-Hyung Kim hanging curves to the Yankees in the 2001 World Series (never forget that Kim dominated the NL that season).
Oh, this one hurts. Yadier Molina is indispensable in Dave Duncan's irreproachable approach to getting the most out of a pitching staff.
But the youngest Molina brother got elected to start in the All-Star game this year despite not matching his unmatchable receiving talents with the bat.
His .233 BA is worse even than his 2006 season. Oops! The Cardinals won it all that year.
The Prediction : Yadier's always been a Mike Matheny prodigy, and unfortunately he's emulating his tutor this year at the plate. But don't despair Redbird fans, never forget what he did in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS.
Skip is a ball player. Skip is a gamer. Skip always hits, and with more pop than that pesky Aaron Miles. Skip is an athlete, he can change from bench OF to starting 2B.
He can improve drastically with the glove and his slight corner bat makes him very valuable.
When he signed his 2-year contract, who thought he'd only hit .255/.318/.324
The Prediction : Skip is simply a ball-player, and his career norms are normal. But not this year. Call it a "Sophomore Slump". Perhaps no one means more to the line-up than Skip, but I think he breaks out next year, leaving Cardinal fans biting their hats come October.
I put up a picture of Flip in the field because I think the former All-Star's misuse this season is a black mark on manager Tony La Russa's Hall of Fame career.
Why steal a proven, veteran bat like Lopez for $1 Million and allow your starting shortstop hit under the Mendoza line? Why leave a gaping hole in the line-up for the promise of a possible double play?
The Prediction : The mercurial Lopez flounders without a role whilst TLR plays sub-standard offensive players at shortstop wasting the wisest off-season pick-up in the Major Leagues. John Mozeliak beats his wife and kids to rid himself of the angst.
Oh the life of a reserve catcher. You never play, and the fans say you suck when you do. And the dude in front of you never not plays - he's a Molina for chrissake.
Actually, LaRue is a more than capable receiver with some pop in his bat.
The Prediction : If the season boils down to the back-up catcher, the Cardinals are in good shape, because hair like that don't fall out until one finds one's peak.
I do think the Redbirds are fortunate they have LaRue. But does anyone think the Cardinals win the World Series without Yadi?
Now, if LaRue can steal home...
There are those in Cardinal Nation that love Tyler Greene, but I am not one of them. He has some power in his bat for a shortstop, but he can be eaten up by good Major League pitching.
The Prediction : He gets sent to the bench when David Freese comes back to claim his 3B position. La Russa stops being bored and gets serious, putting Felipe Lopez in as starter at SS. Greene actually performs well as utility infielder.
I really don't understand Cardinal Nation's hatred of Aaron Miles. I really don't. He's not as physically talented as most, but his head is always in the game, and he always gets on base - especially to start a late inning rally.
He was a valuable member of the 2006 Championship team.
The Prediction : Miles' worth is only apparent when he's playing everyday. That is not happening this year with Lopez and Greene on the roster. Miles' career probably ends this year. Thanks for the memories, Aaron.
I always thought Randy Winn played baseball the Cardinal way. He still does. Unfortunately for Mr. Winn, Jon Jay plays it better.
The Prediction : Ba-Bye
As a mustachioed man, my fingers ache as I type these words. A .194 BA and a wonderous glove affected by the funk at the plate means you are the black hole, son. Sorry. So, so sorry.
The Prediction : Ryan is out of options. so gaining confidence in the minors is out of the question. Unless I'm wrong, and he can turn things around without playing time, Cardinal Nation loses Ryan to unconditional release.
His best hope is being part of a trade package, Don't hold your breath, Boog. Damn!
I will never forget the fire and fight that Jeff Suppan supplied to the St. Louis Cardinals. I was delighted when the franchise signed him to be a fifth starter in 2004, and he exceeded all my expectations.
He was simply a bull-dog and a hero in the playoffs. In some ways he was Woody Williams with more chops in the clutch.
His start in Game 7 of the 2006 is somewhat unfairly overshadowed by one Adam Wainwright curve,
The Prediction : Tony La Russa loves the guys who've done it for him before, and when two starters were injured Suppan was there.
But being there isn't enough for this franchise anymore, "Soup" isn't even servicable for a contender anymore. When Brad Penny returns it means sayonara to Soup.