Adam Kennedy, Pressing? Or Just Not That Good?

If I don’t start saying nice things about the new Cardinal players, people are going to start accusing me of being a hater.

To answer my own question, I think AK is pressing. Why you ask? Well remember when Tony yanked ECK out of the lead off spot, and put AK there? AK hit pretty well during that stretch of games. He seamed more relaxed and comfortable hitting high in the batting order. Could the solution to his struggles be as simple as that? Move him out of the 8 hole? Maybe, despite what his mouth says, he feels dissed hitting so low in the batting order? I know it’s got to kill him that he does not play when a lefty is starting against the Cards. Maybe, just maybe AK feels even worse having to bat just before the pitcher. I don’t know, I’m just throwing ideas at the wall to see if it will stick, but what if Tony moved him to the 2 hole while Scotty heals his hammy? I know he wants Dunk hitting in front of Albert, but isn’t it about time we see if Dunk can shoulder the responsibility of being a run producer? Or does the fact that every time he comes up with men on base, he grips the bat so hard he leaves saw dust in his wake as he walks from the on deck circle to the batters box, hint at that maybe, just maybe Baby Dunk still lives up to that name and isn’t ready to hit 4th or 5th? I think it’s worth finding out on both fronts. See if AK feels more comfortable hitting higher in the batting order, and if Dunk is ready to be a guy who hits 4th or 5th. While Rolen’s out, it couldn’t hurt could it?

AK is due some slack coming over to the NL, a traditionally pitcher friendly league, over from the AL, a desicidly hitter friendly league. There is bound to be a grace period while he adjust to a new city, teammates, and opposing pitchers. But how long do the Cards wait till AK’s lack of production becomes a problem? It’s June 6th and he’s only hitting .224! His first full year for the Angel’s he hit .266. 42 points lower than he’s hitting now. Is there something to that? Do the Cards give him till the All-Star break to turn his season around? Is this a sign that he’s gotten old, much like I thought ECK, Jimmy and Scotty had aged too quickly earlier in the year when they were struggling at the plate? This is something we defiantly need to keep an eye on. And I didn’t even mention that his D so far is less than advertised. Sure his errors are low, but man does he bobble the ball a lot on grounders hit to second. Every one in the line up has shown signs of coming out of their funks. Except AK. So far the Cards seam to be managing to put together wins without much help from AK. But wouldn’t it be sweet if he jumped on the hitting band wagon like the rest of his mates?

Last nights game vs the Reds was, to put it mildly, hard to watch. It was sooooooooo long. At least it seamed like that to me. The Cards really stole that win if you ask me. The pitching (Welley I’m talkin about you!) kept giving them chance after chance to score with 9 walks. Welley had 6 of those. But the Reds kept giving it right back to them by not being able to get a big hit with runners in scoring position. The Reds got to be kicking themselves today because if they had just one hit, one stinking little base hit with runners on, they’d have ran away with that game and won easily. For the game, the Reds left 15 men on base. OUCH.

I now see why the Cards like Welley. He has what those in the know like to refer to as a *Live Arm.* Whatever the heck that means. His main problem is harnessing that arm and having control over his pitches. Sound familiar? *cough, KIPPY, cough*. Unlike KIPPY, Welley is young enough in his career that the fact he’s only pitched for losers shouldn’t be too hard for Dave to make him forget about. The other thing he needs besides control is he needs to build up some stamina. Now I realize he’s been on a 80 pitch pitch count, and for good reason seeing that he’s been in the pen ever since he got to the show. So his arm has not been trained and properly stretched out to be a starter for a while now. But he can’t get gassed in the 4th innings like he did last night. For the Cards to be successful, they need their starting pitchers to at least pitch into the 6th inning every game. They don’t have the arms in the pen to burn if our starters can’t get to the 6th. All the arms in the pen are for short appearances, one inning, two max. And they had to pushed everyone last night but IZZY.

So tonight Brad needs to go deep into the game, like the 7th, preferably the 8th inning. They face our old *friend* Bronson Arroyo and his 2-6 record and 4.73 ERA tonight. So runs will once again be a premium for the Cards. I don’t know what it is about Bronson and Harang, last night’s starter that give the Cards fits, but they do. And with the Reds playing in Busch III like it’s a home away from home, what I said yesterday still holds true for today. This series won’t be won easily. Even with last night win, the Cards still are not guaranteed a series victory. And lets be honest here, if the Cards were playing a team from the AL, or outside of the NL Central, they would have lost last nights game by a wide margin. It just so happens that the Reds suck right now worse than the Cards. That’s why the Cards won. Harang held them in check for the most part. And Welley’s walks almost gave the Reds the game. But they didn’t lose, and that’s all that matters. The Cards are another game closer to playing .500 baseball. And after their horrid start, and with the starting rotation they throw out there every game. that’s a pretty amazing thing.

I can’t believe I almost forget to give honorable mention to SO Old Gouch. He has an AWESOME at bat to win the game last night for the Cards. As you know, I’m not his biggest fan, and I’ve gone on record more than once saying the Cards need to dump him. But WOW, what a battle he had in the 9th against Countlangus. That dude is very tough to hit, let alone pick up the ball as he slings it at you. But give SO major props for battling him for 11 pitches, and smoking a line drive to the right field warning track for the walk off single. It was only a single because the Reds had their outfielders in, and Jimmy nearly tackled SO before he could get to 2nd. It was the Cards first walk off win of the 2007 season, and boy was it well over due.

But it wouldn’t be the 2007 Cards if they didn’t lose a player to an injury during a game. Last night everyone’s favorite Wild Turkey Shooter got plunked right behind his left ear with a pitch and had to leave the game with what the Cards called *a contusion to the back of his skull* and was removed because he had a headache, and a huge knot right where the ball hit him on the back of his head. He said he was fine, but because of the headache, the Cards took no chances and pulled Turkey. He went to the hospital to have some Xrays, and today he’ll be looked at again to make sure every thing is OK. Thus last night started the Kelly Stinnett era sooner than anyone had planned. Major props go out to *the Nett* as Welley called him, for doing so well catching the rest of the game with almost no prep time. Seriously you have no idea how hard that is for a catcher to jump into the middle of a game, and catch the starter and almost every pitcher out of the pen without ever catching them before. Round of applause goes out to Stinnett. And every one here at ATAW wishes Wild Turkey a speedy recovery. Getting plunked is the head is scary business. That’s one of the last things any player wants to deal with.

Well that about wraps things up for now. I’ll be back soon with more of my unique observations about our beloved Cardinals. Till next time this is Jonny Bone reminding every one to always remember, keep makin it bounce.



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