Wednesday, July 27, 2005

FROM THE RED STATES

Well, I got the chance to talk to my good buddy and fellow poster on this blog, Chris today. Although the conversation was brief, he managed to gimme a few pot shots about the Cardinals injuries this season. He claims that the Cubs injuries to Prior, Wood, and Nomar are far more serious than the split squad spring training team the Cards have been fielding the past week or so, I disagree, and here is why...

First of all, injuries are no excuse for a teams poor play, in spite of the losses of Rolen (pretty much all season) Sanders, Molina, Walker all currently on the DL. Morris, Interestinghausen, Edmonds, and Grudzielanek have all also been DL'ed or missed significant time due to injury. That's why you call it a team sport, when someone gets hurt, you fill in with another on the team. The Cardinals have demonstrated this truth by continuing to win with the likes of Nunez, Mabry, Taguchi, and more recently Rodriguez, Mahoney, Seabol, and now Gall. This could be why we are the best team in the NL.

A lot of a teams injuries are the fault of management in my opinion. Why, you ask? Well for example, certain players have a history of being "injury prone" like a Larry Walker, or a Mark Grudzielanek or for the Cubs, Kerry Wood and Nomar Garciaparra. I would not classify Prior as "injury prone" because really most of his injuries have been freak accidents. Getting a line drive off the elbow or a collision on the basepaths are really freak occurences. Management takes alot of blame for a relying on these kinds of players without getting a decent back up. That's really been the Cubs problem. No reliable people to fill in for those players when they are injured, especially for those players that have a history of being injured.

Let's compare our two teams, the Cubs lost Prior for a month or so, Wood for most of the seasaon, and Nomar for all but two weeks of the season. The Cardinals have been without Rolen for 40-50 games, Molina for about 3 weeks now, Walker although now DL'ed for the first time he rarely plays more than 3 games a week. We have been without Sanders now for 2 weeks or so, and he won't be back for another month at least. Thats just the beginning or our list of injuries. We could throw in Matty Mo for the first 3 weeks of the season, or Interestinghausen for about 3 weeks, or Grudzielanek for about 2 weeks, but just the injuries to Rolen, Sanders, Molina and Walker is enough to make my case.

I know what your thinking Cubs fans, because Chris made the same argument over the phone..."well let's take Carpenter, and Mulder or Morris out of your rotation, and see what happens". To this I respond Morris was out of the rotation the first 3 weeks of the season and we still won. Carpenter was out for the last month of the season last year, and the playoffs and although we lost the World Series, we still won most of our games down the stretch and managed to win 2 playoff series without him last year.

Cub fans have for 2 years now been whining about the injuries to Prior and Wood. The fact of the matter is though they are pitchers, they only play every 5 games. Thats why the loss of a pitcher is not as devestating as the loss of an every day player. For example, if I as a Cardinals fan could put one Cubs player on the DL for 15 days, and my choices were Derrek Lee or Mark Prior, I would take Derrek Lee off the team and put him on the DL, for the simple fact that in those 15 games Prior will only have an affect on 3 maybe 4 games, where as the loss of a Derrek Lee will have an affect on all of them. I'm sure a Cubs fan given the same choice between Carpenter or Pujols, any wise fan would take Pujols out of the lineup.

Now I will grant you losing two starting pitchers at the same time has double the affect, but still is no where near as tough as losing one every day player, who affects the outcome of games every day. Let alone when you are without 4 regular, every day players, as the Cardinals are right now, and playing with 2 more banged up.

Like I said earlier though, injuries are no excuse. You still play the games and they count, you just plug in another guy, and everyone picks up the slack. Again, that's why baseball is a team sport.