Tagged: Joe Mather

Method to Mather’s Madness

When someone is said to be climbing the walls, it’s usually not a good sign. And if someone does so on a regular basis, you might say he’s mad. But when you suddenly realize after an eye-opening event that there may have been a method to such madness, it might make you nod your head in agreement and tap your lips with an index finger while sounding: Hmmmm.
Joe Mather’s sensational catch in last night’s ball game that took away a home run from Luis Gonzalez of the Florida Marlins just may have been the proof that there is a method (and a result) to what seemed like madness, and may have actually been a well-rehearsed play for the rookie outfielder.
Through the season, Cardinal Nation has probably watched more fly balls leave the park while the Redbirds were on defense then anyone would like to admit. And not that the likes of Ryan Ludwick, Skip Schumaker, and Rick Ankiel have done something wrong in their travels through the outfields, but Mather does something a lot more than they do that may have trained him to make great catches like the one seen at Dolphin Stadium last night.
There have been times when fly balls to left field (where Mather normally plays) have hit the wall, landed on the warning track, just made it over the wall, and have carried pretty far over the wall or fence, as the park may be.
But here’s the thing: Mather attacks every one as if he is going to make the catch, even if the ball is well out of reach. This rookie outfielder has taught himself how to approach, attempt, and make catches on all types of wild fly balls that may or may not be headed out of the park.
What might seem goofy looking to see him running up the wall on a home run that is twenty rows up actually becomes the best training on fly balls that might not quite make it. Knowing how to handle the walls and fences and judging the fly balls just can’t be accomplished without, well, trying it out.
Success on fielding tough fly balls that would otherwise skip over the top of the wall or narrowly make it over is within reach of the outfielder that knows how to make a bonafide attempt. Learning this can feature some embarrassing bumbling miscues, but those are quickly forgotten after a few grabs like Mather made last night.
To be sure, all the Cardinals’ outfielders are quite talented out there, maybe the best group of outfielders in the league.
But now, we know that when Mather goes up, an out may come down.
photo by Iscan

Mulder back in rotation, Mather back in the Bigs

2643410140_a396d05c81_m-buschdomeflag-ctj.jpgMark Mulder will get a shot at getting back into the St. Louis Cardinals’ starting rotation on Wednesday against the Philadelphia Phillies. The probable Phillies

Mitchell Boggs will head back to Triple-A Memphis to make room for Cesar Izturis, who is coming off the DL list today. La Russa is not in any hurry to rush Izturis back into the lineup, but Izturis says his hamstring feels fine.

Joe Mather has been activated from Memphis, filling a roster spot opened up by Brian Barton, who has gone on the 15-day DL with a right wrist injury. Mather will start today in left field.

Redbird Ramblings — 7-5-08 — Pujols, Lohse, Mather, Miles, Parisi, De La Cruz, Edmonds …

2639366576_07b3e85539_m-Busch flags-photo by Chet Novak.jpg

Tonight’s probables: Kyle Lohse (10-2, 3.67) will get the call for the St. Louis Cardinals while the Chicago Cubs will counter with lefthander Ted Lilly (9-5, 4.56).

Albert Pujols reached a milestone in last night’s game, hitting his 300th career home run in a losing cause against the Chicago Cubs.

#50: The Cards, at 49-39, are still looking for win #50. They will try for that mark versus the Cubs at Busch Stadium tonight.

Cards make deals with Latin American prospect: According to an offiicial release on the St. Louis Cardinals official web site, the team announced that they are about to sign six prospects from Latin America. Four prospects come from the Dominican Republic and two are from Venezuela. (Update: Reportedly, the Cardinals have now signed these players, all of them 16 years old. Allegedly, Roberto De La Cruz received a signing bonus of over $1 million dollars.) 

Roberto De La Cruz, Santo Franco, Dennis Monter, Gradiel Hernandez, Cesar Velara, and Jose Weffer all must undergo physicals and age investigations before signing.

Veterans honored at Busch: As part of Major League Baseball’s Welcome Back Veterans campaign, four veterans were honored on the field prior to last night’s game, a perfect fit for the Independence Day weekend. The Busch Stadium crowd gave John Abbamondi (Navy), Vern Cox (Air Force), Rocky Sickmann (Marines), and Leo Tevlin (Navy) an uplifting display of applause.

Jimmy Baseball, who Cardinals’ fan know is Jim Edmonds, received a standing ovation prior to his first at-bat at Busch Stadium last night. The fact that he was wearing a Cubs uniform made no different to the SRO crowd. Edmonds’ former manager and who he has considered a longtime friend, Tony La Russa, was irritated over some comments Edmonds had made concerning his trade and the St. Louis Cardinals. Edmonds stated that La Russa misunderstood him. Cardinal Nation had no doubts, however, the rousing applause for Jimmy Baseball lasting several minutes, the former Redbird removed his helmet, holding it up toward the crowd, before taking his cuts versus his former team.

One streak ends, one continues: The 15-game game hitting streak of Aaron Miles (career high) died last night, but Yadier Molina’s single extended his to 11 games.

Flores progressing: With only a few days left on the 15-day DL, lefthanded reliever Randy Flores has been cleared and will probably throw some innings with one of the Cardinals’ minor league affiliates before re-activation.

C’mon ump, that was outside: Or it could’ve been something else Troy Glaus said to home plate umpire Ted Barrett during his ninth inning at bat. With the game on the line and a 3-1 count, Glaus took what he thought was a ball far to the outside. A moment later he was jumping in the air, voicing complaints before his spikes touched down. Barrett must not have appreciated getting shown up in front of a capacity crowd, because the next pitch was outside, and called a strike as well. Tony La Russa wasn’t pleased with Barrett either, commenting after the game that the suddenly new and expanded strike zone affected the at-bats of Yadier Molina and Ryan Ludwick.

Parisi rolls with Redbirds: Since returning to the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate, Memphis Redbirds, pitcher Mike Parisi has won four straight, according the Memphis Commercial Appeal. In his fourth victory, Parisi got help from Joe Mather, who hit his 16th home run, and Josh Phelps, who homered twice in the 4-2 win versus the Omaha Royals. Kelvin Jiminez closed, recording his seventh save.

Standings slippage: With last night’s 2-1 loss to the Cubs, the Cardinals hold on second place slipped to 3 1/2 games. The Brewers’ 9-1 pummeling of the Bucs set them 4 1/2 games behind the Cubs, but only one game behind the Cards. At the beginning of the three-game set with the Cubs, the Cards had hoped for a switch in the first place slot by Sunday. Now the Cards must concern themselves with avoiding a switch into third place.

Today’s game between the Cubs and the Cardinals will take place at Busch Stadium in St. Louis; game time 2:55 p.m. CDT.