Daily Grind 4.16

10 Thoughts For Tuesday

1. It’s early, but the Los Angeles Angels (4-9) sit tied for last with the Houston Astros in the American League West. Houston was touted as the class joke coming into 2013, while LA was supposed to ride the likes of Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, and Mike Trout to the World Series. Instead, an injury to ace Jared Weaver (elbow) and an ineffective C.J. Wilson has them signing guys like Kip Wells to, ya know, just like stay relevant. Anyone who has interviewed Wells understands the previous line. So the Angels’ payroll of $127 million is struggling to outperform Houston, the lowest payroll ($21 million) in MLB. Could Mike Scoscia be on the hot seat?

2. Johnny Cueto is hurt. The slumping Cincinatti Reds put Cueto on the 15-day DL after he suffered a strained lat (back). Cardinal fans may remember Brad Penny a few years back suffering the same injury, which ended his season. The Reds are 1-5 on the road, and 4-6 their last 10. Losing Cueto won’t help.

3. The Toronto Blue Jays lost Jose Reyes and his .395 batting average for the next three months with a severely sprained ankle. The Jays were a sexy pick on paper this offseason but at 6-7, they’re looking up at guess who? Boston and New York. Familiar setting.

4. Two thoughts on the Los Angeles Dodgers: 1) Where was catcher AJ Ellis when Carlos Quentin charged the mound last week? 2) Carl Crawford is hitting .371 with 11 runs scored, 1 home run, and 2 stolen bases.

5. The Chicago Cubs agreed with the City on a $500 million face-lift for Wrigley Field. As much as I hate it, it’s understandable. The park is 99-years old and the visiting clubhouse is worse than my high school. Having said that, enjoying a day game at Wrigley Field is second to none. The Friendly Confines, though un-too friendly for the Cubbies, is one of the few remaining parks that actually feels like a ballgame. There are no gizmos, no swimming pools, no Asian stir-fry, no stupid entertainment between innings, nothing — just a ball field with seats and bleachers for fans to take in some baseball on a beautiful day in Chicago. The renovation calls for 10 more night games (half of all home games), a new giant electronic scoreboard in center field, and additional advertisements to generate revenue. I get it, great things don’t last forever — but Wrigley’s unique atmosphere, location, and simplicity makes it a favorite of mine.

6. Managers make their money handling the bullpen, and in two years on the job, Mike Matheny has not been too hot on the controls. Losing Jason Motte for the foreseeable future is a tremendous blow for a team whose pitching was supposedly their depth heading into 2013. Injuries and ineffectiveness quickly change things. A closer by committee is headed for a team near you.

7. The news that Southeast Missouri State and Southern Illinois University Carbondale will play the first ever football game at Busch Stadium is great, aside from the timing. The game is September 21st, just two days before the Cardinals open a six-game home stand to finish the regular season. In years past, we’ve seen Hunter Pence lose a game thanks to a bad outfield spot after the U2 concert and an outfield that needed serious attention after a Dave Matthews concert in 2008. Utilizing Busch Stadium for other events is neat, but lets hope it doesn’t detract from the true “home” team’s goal.

8. Golf is truly a game of millimeters. The 2013 Masters continued on the tradition like none other. After Adam Scott drained a 20-foot birdie on the 18th hole to take a one-stroke lead, Angel Cabrera stuck a 7-iron to 3 feet for birdie to force a playoff. Scott won the green jacket after sinking a 12-foot birdie putt on the 2nd playoff hole, but Cabrera put up a great fight. He thought he buried a chip shot on the first playoff hole to win, and then had his 15-foot birdie putt nibble the right side of the cup on the 10th hole. Scott winning putt dropped despite rainy conditions and a deceiving right-to-left break. . What a beautiful course. What a beautiful game. I wonder what I’ll be doing today before the Blues game…

9. The Rams safety situation is becoming a scary thought. August may seem far away, but don’t blink. A tandem of Darian Stewart and Rodney McLeod is concerning. Somehow Craig Dahl sounds better. There have been absolutely zero rumblings on Quintin Mikell, who was a cap casualty last month. Mikell set career highs in tackles (101) and sacks (3) while forcing four fumbles last season. Resigning Mikell along with drafting a safety would help shore up the secondary.

10. I’m off to play golf. Stay away rain, stay away.

Thanks for reading.

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