Matt Cain meets the ‘MythBusters’ crew (Video)

22 Oct

So "MythBusters" recently released this clip showing San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt Cain destroying objects in the air by throwing baseballs at them. It's entertaining to watch as we await Cain's matchup against Kyle Lohse in Monday night's NLCS Game 7, but any chance of you wanting to believe this is real probably disappears after seeing Cain throw a clean hole through a cardboard box and the deep dish pizza inside of it. I've never seen "MythBusters," but I'm under the impression that they, you know, bust myths. That makes the fact they're creating a few myths of their own by using one of the best pitchers in baseball a little confusing. But to borrow from a funny With Leather commenter, I'll retract my skepticism if they can test our belief that Johnny Damon's throws would bounce and fall away from the same objects.

At any rate, if you actually want to see a really cool post about baseball and physics, check out this professor from the University of Illinois and his look at what Fox's special slow-motion cameras can teach us that the naked eye cannot.

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Chris Carpenter: ‘Tonight, it was not there’

16 Oct
by David Brown in Fantasy Baseball, General

SAN FRANCISCO — A day before he took the mound in Game 2 of the NLCS, right-hander Chris Carpenter was asked if he believed in the baseball saying, "Momentum is only as good as the next day's starting pitcher."

That's probably malarkey, the 37-year-old Carpenter said.

"We were going into Game 5 against Washington [in the NLDS] with our stud, Adam Wainwright, out there and nobody expected him to give up six runs in [2 1/3] innings," Carpenter said. "And we still won that game, so I'm not sure. There's no question that [starting pitching] might set the tone a little bit. But at this time of the year, everything matters. It doesn't matter who's starting; you need breaks, you need a little bit of luck and you need to go out and do things the right way. So, I don't buy into that, I don't think."

If he's right, then the St. Louis Cardinals can consider Carpenter's wisdom as they prepare for Game 3 on Wednesday — because Carpenter gave a poor performance in a 7-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants, who evened the best-of-seven series at 1-1. Carpenter had pitched better in four starts, including one in the first round of the playoffs, since coming back from major surgery to repair nerve damage in his shoulder.

"It definitely didn't go in the direction that I wanted it to go, I can tell you that," Carpenter said. "I continue to get better as my starts have gone on, but tonight it was not there. I wasn't very sharp. My command of fastball was not very good."

He allowed five runs — two earned — and six hits along with a pair of walks over four innings. Angel Pagan led off the Giants first with a home run and Marco Scutaro cleared the bases with a three-run single in the fourth, coming with two outs. Earlier in the game, Scutaro was shaken up and injured his left hip on a hard slide by Matt Holliday, but he stayed in and turned in perhaps the key at-bat of the game.

Carpenter also ran into some bad luck with odd bounces and shaky defense by teammates. But he took responsibility for not being able to pitch out of the fourth-inning jam.

"It came to a point where I had an opportunity to make a pitch and get out of it and I didn't," Carpenter said. "Scutaro got me, and I needed to make a better pitch and I didn't do it.

"I was trying to go down and away with a fastball, and it ran back on the plate."

The Cardinals get to start fresh with right-hander Kyle Lohse on the mound, against Matt Cain, for Game 3. And, thinking back to what Carpenter said, there's no reason to think Carpenter's off night will affect how Lohse or his teammates go about their work.

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Who should Cardinals start in playoffs?

29 Sep
by David Brown in Fantasy Baseball, General

ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Cardinals moved closer to claiming a spot in the postseason Friday night, blowing out the Washington Nationals 12-2 and reducing their magic number to three to clinch a wild card berth. So, with the playoffs starting in less than a week, it stands to reason that Cards manager Mike Matheny would be figuring out which of his pitchers would start the wild card game against the Atlanta Braves.

But if Matheny is planning ahead, he won't admit it. And if he's leaning toward one pitcher or another — Adam Wainwright, Kyle Lohse, Jaime Garcia, Chris Carpenter or even Lance Lynn (don't laugh) — he's certainly not saying.

"We're just going to enjoy this one right now," Matheny said coyly.

Of course. To do any differently would violate baseball's sacred "play it one game at a time" covenant. But the Cardinals must be thinking ahead (or they should be) because they might know they're in the playoffs as soon as tomorrow. Plus, it's a tough decision, picking a starting pitcher for the sudden death, sudden victory, winner-take-all, play-in, play-off, play-out, No. 163, wildest wild card, Bud Selig Legacy Game.

"Yeah, what do we call that game?" Wainwright asked.

You call it the end of your season if you mess it up. There's no second chance, no best of three or best of five. It's won, or it's done. So what should the Cardinals do?

Waino would be bueno: Wainwright, eager to get back into the postseason groove after missing the Cardinals' World Series run in 2011 because he was recuperating from Tommy John surgery, would seem suited for it. His next scheduled start comes Wednesday, in the final game of the regular season. But if the Cardinals have clinched the second wild card spot by then, he won't be needed for a meaningless regular-season game. For no reason other than timing, and there are worse reasons, he should start against the Braves.

"I'd more than welcome the opportunity, if we go ahead and clinch this thing soon, to sit back and be ready for whatever game they need me for," Wainwright said. "But what can I do about that except be prepared to pitch whenever they tell me to?"

In a moment of candor, Wainwright expressed relief that his ERA dipped to 3.94. After what he called a "horrible" start to his season, Wainwright has a 3.18 ERA in 16 starts since July 1 (just to pick an endpoint). And his fancy stats — 3.11 Fielding Independent Pitching, 3.24 xFIP and 4.4 fWAR — are better than Lohse's.

"I would think they'd want me to be ready for 163," Wainwright said. "So I'd be ready for that, or the next one."

If there is a next one.

"But I think, as it stands now, Kyle Lohse gets that start. And he's very deserving of it, too."

Rub the Lohse on the skin: Lohse picked a great time for a career season, in a contract year before he hits free agency. His 2.77 ERA is sixth in the major leagues. His 16-3 record just looks great. His 1.62 walk rate per nine innings is impressive. His .258 BABIP seems unsustainable — and yet, here he is, sustaining it after surpassing 200 innings. Lohse has been the Cardinals "ace" this season, so it would not be surprising if Matheny used him to start the first (and possibly only) playoff game. And he pitches Saturday night against the Nationals, so his schedule is practically interchangeable with Carpenter's.

Looks like LaMarr Hoyt to me: A dark horse for the Braves game (baseball gods willing) is Lynn, who has rebounded in recent weeks after cratering midseason around the time he was named to the All-Star team. A funny thing about the Cardinals: They've been horrible against the Braves, winning once in six meetings, and getting very few worthy outings from their pitchers. Lynn is the exception. It's a small sample size to be sure, but there's no smaller sample possible than a one-game playoff. (A one-inning playoff?)

Plus, you can't discount the LaMarr Hoyt Lookalike Factor. (And we all know Hoyt's playoff record. Or we should.)

Don't harp for Carp: Carpenter's comeback has been amazing and wonderful, but no, not unless the Cardinals choke away their wild-card lead on the Dodgers in the next few days. Carpenter and Garcia will be needed for the playoffs, though. If.

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St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Kyle Lohse throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny believes Kyle Lohse belongs in the NL Cy Young conversation.

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Kyle Lohse tossed seven scoreless innings Tuesday in the Cardinals' 4-1 defeat of the Astros.
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St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Kyle Lohse throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Kyle Lohse threw seven scoreless innings for his 15th victory and contributed an RBI double as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Houston Astros 4-1 Tuesday night to stay in front for the second NL wild card.

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Lohse helps Cardinals knock off Astros 4-2 (Yahoo! Sports)

22 Aug
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Kyle Lohse is on quite a roll, and it comes at an opportune time for the right-hander and the St. Louis Cardinals.
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Lohse cruises past Astros, Cards leap Pirates – Kyle Lohse | STL

22 Aug
Kyle Lohse limited the Astros to two runs over seven innings Wednesday in the Cardinals' 4-2 victory.
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Lohse pitches Cardinals to 3-0 win over Brewers (Yahoo! Sports)

05 Aug

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Kyle Lohse (26) delivers the pitch in the second inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Sunday, Aug. 5, 2012 in St. Louis.(AP Photo/Tom Gannam)

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Without much fanfare, Kyle Lohse is having a sensational season.

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The user’s guide to two-start pitchers, Week 14

30 Jun
by in General

In the aftermath of last week's Eovaldi-Archer-Grimm debacle (17 earned runs and counting), and in consideration of my pathological inability to bench Hector Noesi in A.L.-only, I'm currently serving a five-day suspension from pitching analysis. Self-imposed. No appeals. Have to sit myself down, watch video, make some adjustments. If you need pitching pick-ups, go here. I'm not going to hype anyone in today's introduction, because I'd hate to damage yet another young pitcher's career.

I will, however, arrange all of next week's two-start pitchers according to their relative safety and usefulness. Because someone has to do it. Please continue after the jump for ranks and tiers. Let's all just remember that I am not exactly riding a hot streak right now, kids. If you own me in a fantasy experts fantasy league, you gotta consider benching.



Zack Greinke — MIA (Sanchez), at HOU (Lyles)
Jordan Zimmermann — SF (Lincecum), SD (Friedrich)
Johnny Cueto — at LAD (Capuano), at SD (Cashner)
Tommy Hanson — CHC (Samardzija), at PHI (Blanton)
Chris Capuano — CIN (Cueto), at ARI (Bauer)
James McDonald — HOU (Lyles), SF (Vogelsong)
AJ Burnett — HOU (Harrell), SF (Lincecum)

Contested layups

Anibal Sanchez — at MIL (Greinke), at STL (Kelly)
Jonathon Niese — PHI (Worley), CHC (---)
Vance Worley — at NYM (Niese), ATL (Jurrjens)
Tim Lincecum — at WAS (Zimmermann), at PIT (Burnett)
Kyle Lohse — COL (Outman), MIA (Zambrano)
Andrew Cashner — at ARI (Bauer), CIN (Cueto)
Trevor Bauer — SD (Cashner), LAD (Capuano)


Trevor Cahill — SD (Richard), LAD (Billingsley)
Chad Billingsley — CIN (Bailey), at ARI (Cahill)
Marco Estrada — MIA (Zambrano), at HOU (Rodriguez)
Joe Kelly — COL (Francis), MIA (Sanchez)

Deep threes

Jeff Samardzija — at ATL (Hanson), at NYM (Gee)
Carlos Zambrano — at MIL (Estrada), at STL (Lohse)
Jeff Francis — at STL (Kelly), at WAS (Gonzalez)
Clayton Richard — at ARI (Cahill), CIN (Bailey)
Homer Bailey — at LAD (Billingsley), at SD (Richard)
Jair Jurrjens — CHC (---), at PHI (Worley)
Jordan Lyles — at PIT (McDonald), MIL (Greinke)

And then there's this crazy slop from Colorado...

Josh Outman — at STL (Lohse), at WAS (Strasburg)
Christian Friedrich — at STL (Wainwright), at WAS (Zimmermann)


No hesitation

Jered Weaver — at CLE (Jimenez), BAL (Hammel)
Chris Sale — TEX (Oswalt), TOR (Cecil)

Slight hesitation, but not so much

Jarrod Parker — BOS (Matsuzaka), SEA (Millwood)
Jason Hammel — at SEA (Millwood), at LAA (Weaver)
Max Scherzer — MIN (Blackburn), KC (Teaford)
Dan Haren — at CLE (McAllister), BAL (Chen)

Fine...OK. Sure. Do whatever you need to do.

Ivan Nova — at TB (Shields), at BOS (---)
Matt Moore — NYY (Garcia), at CLE (Jimenez)
Ricky Romero — KC (Teaford), at CWS (Floyd)
James Shields — NYY (Nova), at CLE (McAllister)
Doug Fister — MIN (Hendriks), KC (Chen)
Wei-Yin Chen — at SEA (Hernandez), at LAA (Haren)
Ubaldo Jimenez — LAA (Weaver), TB (Moore)
Daisuke Matsuzaka — at OAK (Parker), NYY (---)
Kevin Millwood — BAL (Hammel), at OAK (Parker)
Roy Oswalt — at CHW (Sale), MIN (Blackburn)
Zach McAllister — LAA (Haren), TB (Shields)

Request denied

Freddy Garcia — at TB (Moore), at BOS (---)
Brett Cecil — KC (Mendoza), at CWS (Sale)
Nick Blackburn — at DET (Scherzer), at TEX (Oswalt)
Everett Teaford — at TOR (Romero), at DET (Scherzer)
Liam Hendriks — at DET (Fister), at TEX (---)

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