Welcome to The Cardinal Scoops!

This blog was founded in November of 2014. The founders of the Cardinal Scoops are Carly Schaber, Ahmed Mahmood, and Matthew Golden. We are all HUGE Cardinals fans that wanted to share our love with the Cardinals. Here, we wish to provide you the latest from all things Cardinals. Fly on, Cardinal Nation! Go Cards!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Why You Shouldn't Care That Jon Lester Used Pine Tar

In this article I am going to address an issue that has come to light with the Cardinals' recent pursuit of Jon Lester. As many will remember, in the 2013 World Series Jon Lester was caught on camera with a "mysterious substance" on his glove. This set off a fire storm in Cardinal Nation that Lester was cheating and to this day, you will see Cardinal fans curse his name. Hopefully by the end of this article, I will have you convinced why you should forget about this "scandal" and move on.

Many people know that in the MLB there are a variety of "unwritten rules". From not talking about a no hitter while it's going on, to not pimping home runs, and of course you are to never run over the pitcher’s mound on the way back to the dugout, baseball has many "rules" that major leaguers are supposed to follow. Perhaps the most controversial of these unwritten rules is the use of pine-tar by pitchers. 

For as long as baseball has been played, players have been trying to get an edge over their opponents. One of the most popular ways to get an edge is for pitchers to "doctor" the baseball. Years ago this included everything from spitting on the ball and even using nail files to rough up the seams to get a better grip. Most of these doctoring techniques are no longer in use 
because Major League Baseball Rule 8.00 governs behavior for pitchers and subsection 8.02 clearly states: “The pitcher shall not apply a foreign substance of any kind to the ball.” The one "doctoring" technique that is still in use is the use of pine tar by pitchers. 

There is a difference between those other techniques and using pine tar. Pine tar is used by pitchers to help grip the baseball, not provide unnatural movement. Pine tar is widely used by many pitchers in the MLB today. A pitcher can have a swab on the back of his ball cap, a little bit inside their glove and sometimes even their catcher can supply some during a visit to the mound. 

This, of course, is not to say that pine tar is used all season long and by all pitchers. It is more common to find a pitcher using pine tar during April, September and October. These are months when pitchers feel like there is more of a chance that the ball might slip out of their hand. You might be thinking to yourself, "Why are batters fine with pitchers using pine tar." The answer to that is easy, grip! When you are facing a pitcher who can throw 105 MPH, ex. Aroldis Chapman, you want that pitcher to know where the ball is going. Pine tar is a substance that allows pitchers to do this; it provides the pitcher better grip and the ability to better control where the ball is going.

Of course, many of you will remember when Michael Pineda was suspended at the beginning of the 2014 season for having pine tar on his neck and people might ask themselves, "Why was he suspended for pine tar if many players and coaches in the MLB are fine with it", I'll explain. Pineda was being WAY too obvious with the pine tar and it could easily be seen from the Red Sox dugout. John Farrell summed up the whole pine tar argument perfectly, "When it’s that obvious, something has got to be said.” 

Former Red Sox catcher David Ross was quoted as saying, “I would rather the guy know where the ball is going and have a good grip, for me, personally, As long as I've played there’s guys always trying to make sure they've got a grip when there is cold weather, early on. Maybe it’s cheating, but I don’t really look at it that way. Some guys might, but not me, personally.” 

Many former players, current players, and even many managers have called for MLB to legalize the use of pine tar for pitchers, so I make a plead to you Cardinal Nation. If current players don't care that pitchers use pine tar, then neither should you! 


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Getting to know Jordan Walden

Recently, the Cardinals acquired Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden from the Atlanta Braves in exchange for Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins. Lots of Cardinal Nation is excited to see what Jason Heyward can bring to the Cardinals but let's not forget that the bullpen is just as important as any part of a baseball team so I want to introduce Jordan Walden.

Jordan Walden was born on November 16, 1987 (he just turned 27). Walden attended Mansfield High School in Mansfield, Texas. Growing up, Jordan was friends with Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw (hope Jordan doesn't mind the Cards recent domination of his old friend) and Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. Walden is not small in size. He is listed at 6''5' and weighs 250 pounds.

Jordan was drafted by the Angels in the 12th round of the 2006 draft. Before the 2009 season, Walden was named the 70th best prospect in baseball. On August 22, 2010 Walden was promoted by the Angels and only 2 days later, Walden had his fastball clocked at 100.5 MPH in a game vs the Tampa Bay Rays. Later that week on August 27, 2010 Walden got promoted to the set up man role for the Angels.

April 2011 saw Walden became the full time closer for the Angels and later that season he was selected to the AL All Star Team. The 2012 season was not as kind to Walden and he lost his closer role. After the season, Walden was traded to the Atlanta Braves for starting pitcher Tommy Hanson.

Overall, Walden owns a 3.10 ERA in 211 2/3 career innings. According to RotoWorld.com, Walden's best season was in 2014 when he posted a 2.88 ERA with 62 strikeouts in 50 IP. Many believe that Walden will fill the 8th inning role for the St. Louis Cardinals and he could even be a backup option for the closer role if Trever Rosenthal were to struggle.

One of things that make Walden unique is his pitching motion. Jordan hops in the middle of the windup, and actually has both feet in the air for a split second, before returning to the ground and throwing the ball. I have included a link below so you can see this unique motion.


- @BirdsOnTheBat13

(All information was found on Wikipedia, RotoWorld, and Youtube)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Important St. Louis Cardinals Games in 2015

Perhaps it is a little soon to be looking at the 2015 schedule for the Cardinals when we don't even know the final rosters yet but I couldn't help myself. The following are some of the games that I would consider important in 2015.

April 5th- OPENING NIGHT BABY - @ Cubs - This will not only be the first game that we get to see Jason Heyward in RF during the regular season but the Cardinals also get a chance, at least for one night, to crush the hopes and dreams of the Cubbies and their fans. Game time: 7:05 pm.

April 13th - Cardinals Home Opener - vs Brewers - I know I am biased when I say this but there is nothing like Opening Day at Busch Stadium. From the Clydesdales, to former Cardinals' legends, to the smell of the grass and the hope of the new season, there is something special in the air when the Cardinals play their first home game of the season! Game time: 3:15 pm.

 May 31st - Oscar Taveras Debut Anniversary - vs Dodgers - One year ago, Oscar Taveras came onto the scene in style with a 2nd at bat homerun in his MLB debut. With the recent news that Oscar was drunk when he crashed, will we see any sort of remembrance ceremony for Oscar's passing?  Game time: 1:15 pm.

May 12 - 14th - Home Series vs Royals - Whenever the Cardinals and Royals get together for a series, the entire state of Missouri tunes in! Game times: (1) 7:15 pm, (2) TBD, (3) 1:15 pm

July 14th - MLB All Star Game - Every year Major League Baseball hosts a mid-season All Star Game and most years the Cardinals are well represented. Who will the Cards be sending this summer? Only time will tell. Game time: TBD.

August 21st - 30th - @ Padres, @D-Backs, @ Giants. 10 road games, 10 days, 3 different cities. This stretch of games is the longest road trip without a day off during the 2015 season. Due to the timing and the amount of games played in a row, this is probably the most important road trip of the year. Plus the Cardinals get a chance at some sweet revenge for the defeat in the 2014 NLCS to the Giants.

September 1st - 30th - Everyone knows that playoffs berths are made in September and during the last few years, no one has played as well during the month of September as the Cardinals have. Most years the MLB tries to schedule lots of division games during September and 2015 is no different. The Cardinals play the Pirates (6 games), Cubs (6 games), Reds (7 games), Brewers (7 games). If the Cardinals are going to win another National League Central Division Crown, they are going to have to play well against the rest of the division to do it!

- @BirdsOnTheBat13

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

“Moving On” From Oscar with Jason

October 26, 2014 was one of the worst days of my life as a Cardinals fan. Oscar Taveras was killed in a single car accident along with his girlfriend, Edilia Arvelos. I, along with many in Cardinal Nation were absolutely devastated because we had been following Oscar for years and he was just about to start what many thought was a climb towards stardom.  It has been reported recently that Oscar was drunk at the time of the crash that caused his death. Many opinions of Oscar’s death have changed since this news came out but regardless, this was still a tragedy. Cardinal Nation and Major League Baseball lost a young man (and woman). Along with losing these two amazing human beings, the Cardinals Organization lost a potential future All-Star. St Louis Cardinal GM John Mozaliak had called Oscar "the organization's top hitting prospect since Albert Pujols".  

Now fast forward to November 17, 2014. This was the day that the Cardinals found their answer to “replace” Oscar. In a trade involving Shelby Miller, Tyrell Jenkins, and Jordan Walden, the Cardinal addressed their right field needs by acquiring Jason Heyward.  Oscar Taveras and Jason Heyward actually share some similarities. The Cardinals signed Taveras at age 16 in 2008. Heyward started playing professional ball for the Braves at the very young age of 17. We all remember Oscar's legendary homerun in the rain in his debut right? Well Heyward hit a homerun in his MLB debut too... in his first at bat! Both Oscar and Jason had a ton of hype as minor leaguers and at times did not live up to all of the hype that were attached to their names.

At least for the 2015 season, Heyward will be patrolling the right field position that many thought Oscar would be. I know an extension isn't set in stone but I have a feeling that Jason is going to fall in love with St. Louis and vice versa. I personally would love to see Jason play in right field for St. Louis for many years to come and perhaps help to heal some of the pain that Oscar's death caused.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Thoughts On Getting Jason Heyward

Today, the St. Louis Cardinals made a trade for Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden from the Atlanta Braves for Shelby Miller and the 22 year old prospect Tyrell Jenkins. I will be talking about the pros and cons of this trade from my perspective, and what I think will result now because of the trade. To start off, the Cardinals obviously had to make a move after the tragic loss of Oscar Taveras. It is hard to do so from a personal level, but from a business perspective it had to be done. There were not many big free agents on the market this year. A few I can remember are Melky Cabrera and Corey Hart that  I thought the Cardinals at least had a chance to sign this offseason. I truly myself am pleased with the pickup of Heyward.

             Jason Heyward is twenty five years old and came into the league in 2010, finishing as the runner up to the rookie of the year. Heyward is a two time gold glove winner with a cannon of an arm. Heyward is a very solid hitter and has proven he can hit for power when he hit twenty seven home runs 2012. Heyward has a combination of power, speed, and fielding that any opposing team that is smart will not take lightly. Those are all pros of Heyward being selected for the trade.

            Now the cons of the trade.  Jason Heyward a few years back got hit in the face by a pitch which broke his jaw and it appears he has not been the same since the injury. His home runs and runs batted in have decreased by a pretty decent amount last season looking back at his three healthy seasons. Heyward also has a terrible time hitting against lefties and that is a big contributor to his decreased numbers this year. Heyward has one year on his contract left and the Cardinals will have the chance to sign him if they would like after the season. 

            Now I will be speaking on my behalf on what I think about the trade. The trade has opened up my eyes for various reasons. The Cardinals obviously needed another bat in the lineup due to the inconsistencies that we saw all throughout the 2014 season and more importantly after the loss of Oscar Taveras. Jason Heyward in my opinion is a rental for the 2015 season. If you think the Cardinals will sign Heyward after this upcoming season you need to start thinking about it harder. It is a losing situation for the Cardinals except if we win the world series with him. Jason Heyward would not sign a contract right now due to the fact that he has had the worst season of his career, which would mean less money for him. Say Heyward has an amazing season and helps lead the Cardinals to the playoffs, that would mean next offseason he will want around 15-18 million a year and the Cardinals will not do that. If Heyward has a bad season that would be even worse because then we would have no shot at a title and we will  not sign him. Overall, like I said, I think he is a rental for the season and it was very much needed. My only comments on Jordan Walden is that I am glad to have him in our bullpen to make this bullpen even better. To end my blog I would like to say I am okay with Miller getting traded. I was getting sick of his five inning games with 100 plus pitches. Shelby Miller is a very stubborn guy who is just now reaching his prime that needs to still develop his pitches. Thank you for reading and if you have comments mention my main Twitter @A__Mahmood.