Ward’s Take: July 10, 2018

Happy Tuesday, folks. It’s been a pretty hectic last 36 hours or so. Woke up at 3 AM yesterday, worked a 10 hour DC shift, then worked a 4 hour station shift, and finished with a workout at 11 PM. Sheesh.

Today hasn’t been as busy but I did already knock out my workout so that’s relieving.

Today: Why the Cardinals next five games will tell you how the rest of the season will go, what the Cardinals should learn from the Blues and my picks for the NL and AL Final Vote.

These last five pre-All Star Break games will show how the season will end

There are only five games left before a little bit of a breather from Cardinals baseball, thank God, but these games are more important than ever.

These five games include two against the White Sox and three against the Reds. If the Cardinals don’t win four of these five games, I think the season is over. Really, they should win all five, but I’ll give them one pass.

The Cardinals will play eight games against the Cubs after the All Star Break in the month of July alone. With as much stress as those games will bring, let’s grab these easy ones.

The Cardinals got some assistance with Brewers and Cubs losses yesterday, but still sit 7.0 games behind Milwaukee in the NL Central. These five games are almost must-win, even if it is the middle of July.

The Cardinals should take some advice from the Blues

I’ll admit, I was wrong about Doug Armstrong. I accused him of sleeping at the wheel about a month ago, and now he’s completely proven me wrong.

He brought David Perron back to The Lou, signed Tyler Bozak, and answered the departure of Carter Hutton by signing Chad Johnson.

Those moves were the LEAST significant moves this offseason. Doug dropped a bombshell by getting Ryan O’Reilly. It came at the expense of losing Tage Thompson, he was pigeon-holed in St Louis anyways, but it also got rid of the horrid contracts that Berglund and Sobotka had.

Now today he officially brings in the hometown guy and seven-year vet, Pat Maroon. Credit Sammy Stava for this statline: The Blues lost 31 goals, 35 assists and 66 points while gaining 68 goals, 145 assists and 213 points.

So what can the Cardinals learn? The Blues actually care. The Blues missed the playoffs this season and it effectively woke Doug Armstrong up. He’s made moves this offseason and the Blues look like they could be a legit contender for a Cup.

John Mozeliak has been asleep ever since his World Series favorite Cardinals fell to the Cubs in 2015. John, the newly-named Enterprise Center isn’t that far away. Go talk to Doug Armstrong and ask him how it’s done.

My Final Vote picks

Alright Cardinals fans, you aren’t going to like this one. Matt Carpenter shouldn’t be an All Star. Despite the epic turnaround he’s seen this season, the All Star game should be reflective of the entire season, not a good stretch.

In the National League, Jesus Aguilar is an easy pick. As I’ve grown with the game, power has become just as important, if not more important, than contact to me. I’ll let you sacrifice some batting average points if you can hit bombs. Aguilar can do both.

Of the five candidates, Aguilar has had the second least amount of at-bats this season yet still leads all candidates in home runs and RBI’s. His on-base percentage could be better, but no one is close to him in slugging percentage and Max Muncy is the only one that beats him in OPS (by 0.001).

Oh by the way, in the two games since the Final Vote candidates were named, Aguilar has gone 3-for-8 with 3 home runs and 5 RBI’s. There’s your pick, ladies and gentlemen.

As for the American League, I was shocked to see Jean Segura is leading the AL Final Vote polls. It shows you how enamored people are with batting average. They see “.330” and that’s it. Let me tell you why that’s wrong.

Segura can hit and he can run, but that’s it. His .330 batting average is great, but he only possesses a .358 OBP. He’s got very little power. Not faulting a guy who’s 5’10, just stating the facts, and even with the .330 batting average, he’s driven in the second least amount of runs out of all candidates.

Your AL Final Vote pick should be Andrew Benintendi.

He drives runs in (leads all candidates in RBI’s), he’s fast (leads candidates in stolen bases) and he reaches base a lot (leads candidates in OBP). He’s third out of five in slugging percentage, not surprising with just 14 home runs, but he also leads all candidates in OPS.

For those not impressed with a sub-.300 batting average, he’s gone 6-for-9 in the two games since the candidates were announced.

Jesus Aguilar and Andrew Benintendi. There’s your picks.

 

Thanks for reading. I have a night off tonight so that gives me some time to do some housework (dishes) which I’m incredibly excited for. Here’s to a hopeful Cardinals W tonight.

Have a good night.

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