The St. Louis Cardinals.
The Cardinals have collectively been on the injured list for most of August (last game they played was July 29) and have 53 days to play 44 games. They will have not played in 17 days when they finally make their appearance at the Rate. That's ... not great.
The Cardinals and Marlins each had a COVID-19 outbreak, but only the St. Louis outbreak was serious enough to severely jeopardize their season. I’m not expert, but I don’t ever need to go to a casino THAT badly. I guess the Cardinals don’t share my feelings about gambling. All in all, 10 players and seven staff tested positive.
Honestly, there needs to be a debate somewhere about whether or not the Cardinals can truly fulfill the remaining games of a 60-game season in the remaining time. Then the question comes in on if they don't play all 60-games, do they still get to make the play-offs on their win percentage, if it's high enough? It's not exactly fair to those teams who followed the protocols and didn't go screw around at a casino during a pandemic but when has MLB ever been fair about punishments (*stares at Houston*). In the words of our great friend Tommy Barbee here at SSHP:
On to some funny Cardinals things! Remember when rally cat happened?
That poor kid. A year later, he was hit by a first pitch.
Give him a raise.
After Mike Matheny was unceremoniously fired from St. Louis, the team was left without a manager. Enter Mike Shildt, who took over in 2018 ... and just stuck around like a bad habit. I’m sure the team likes him because he still has a job.
Shildt is a breed of manager who has never been a player, starting off as a high school coach and working his way up the food chain from high school to college to scout to minor league coach to major league coach. Then in a tale as old as time, Matheny was canned and Shildt went from interim manager to a three-year contract.
Shildt is a well-liked guy in the St. Louis community. And he doesn’t have any weird blogs that are ripe for mockery, which puts him one-up on Matheny. He doesn't have a long managerial record, because he’s only managed the Cards.
He got married during a spring training day off, so mazel tov.
Your enemy’s 2019 record
The Cardinals finished first in the NL Central last year, and won their division series vs. Atlanta. But St. Louis' postseason was destined to fail when they met the Nationals in the NLCS, because the Nationals were running over everybody in the postseason.
Sometimes the Cards feel like the Yankees or the Red Sox of the Central Divisions. They have talent, postseason bragging rights, and a completely unbearable selection of fans that gloat about the glory days of Tony LaRussa.
It's going to be interesting to see how the Cards' bullpen matches up after having essentially half a month off. Is there going to be wear-and-tear on arms? Is there going to be rust? Will it be like nothing happened? The good news is that the Sox don't have to face Jack Flaherty during this series.
Saturday's Game 1 is going to be Adam Wainwright vs. Lucas Giolito. Wainwright’s first start was July 25, when he allowed three hits against the Pirates, striking out five, and walking one.
Saturday Game 2 is destined to be a classic match-up of TBD vs TBD. Can't wait to see how these two titans face-off!
Sunday, we’re going to see TBD vs. Dallas Keuchel. Keuchel rather infamously teed off on his team's effort against the Tigers, which appears to have paid off. Meanwhile, Keuchel hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in four starts, striking out 12 batters in the last 13 innings, and has been the team's best starter per game score by a significant margin. Nice to see pay-off from a splashy off-season signing.
What sucks for the Sox
Aside from the fact our guys get to be the guinea pigs and play against a team that's just had a massive coronavirus outbreak?
OK, besides that, the White Sox have run hot and cold this season. When they’re on they are on. When they’re off, they’re crashing into netting. Hopefully Dallas won’t have to constantly give interviews calling out his team for lack of effort again soon, or else we’re looking at a very long short season.
The White Sox have been hit with some big-time injuries so far. Aaron Bummer not yet throwing isn’t a great sign for long-term success of the bullpen. Bummer was off to a hot start, with one earned run on four hits, four walks, and striking out 12 over 7 ⅓ innings.
Nick Madrigal’s injury hurts for everyone who was excited to see him, and even more exciting to see him start hitting. Danny Mendick and Leury García have been serviceable substitutes as second for the time being, but you can’t help but to be disappointed by losing Nick.
Update: More injuries, including Leury's going from bad to worse.
What might not suck for the Sox
The Cardinals haven’t played since July 29. That’s way more rest than teams typically see. There haven’t been enough games played by the Cardinals to really evaluate how much the start-and-stop action is going to hurt them. Hopefully, we see a good effort from our guys and they can take advantage of any mistakes or holes in the Cards defense.
Hear it from Sox fans
Also, a Cubs fan on Twitter turned me on to the account Baseball's Best Fans (@BestFansStLouis) which is full of gems like this: