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Friday, Apr. 18, 2014

Score two for the umps

Posted Thursday, April 26, 2012, at 7:14 AM

I normally try not to do this, but today I'm hopping on the bandwagon. And it's necessary.

Rookie manager Mike Matheny, it's safe to say, is probably to be leaving Chicago today. The team that had been on such an offensive tear hit the brakes in the windy city this trip.

Last night's 3-2 loss that should have been a 2-1 win is a prime example of the need for expanded use of the replay in baseball. Last night two new examples were tacked onto a list that seems to be growing every day. I'm not arguing that it must be terribly difficult to call those plays at full speed, but if the technology is there to get things right, then I think they should be using it.

My first jab, and normally I don't do this, is at a pair of last night's umpires.

In the bottom of the first inning as David DeJesus slid into home plate and moved his arm to avoid the tag, he never touched home plate. Not only was it visible, but it was quite obvious even before the replay. That was the umpires' first run.

In the bottom of the 10th inning was the night's second blunder. With the game tied at 2, Tony Campana "attempted" to steal second base. Molina launches a ball to Tyler Greene who made the catch and applied a tag. Matheny came out of the dugout, like any self-respecting manager should have, and argued the call before receiving his first ejection. Had that been at Busch Stadium, he would have received a standing ovation for it. Campana on the next play scored on a single by Alfonso Soriano. Once again, the umpires score a run.

Of course, if the Cardinals offense had a better night, it wouldn't have been an issue anyway.

What's done is done.

In good news from Tuesday's game: Adam Wainwright.

Waino was charged with only one run in six innings. We'll ignore the fact that he never should have been charged with the run to begin with.

He also reeled in seven strikeouts during his outing. That was certainly a good sign. That he is slowly making progress means things are going in the right direction for him.

In his defense, Samardzija threw a good game. He kept the Cardinals at a standstill for more than six innings. Maybe you can attribute part of that to a slowing offense, but the fact is, he pitched a good game.

When Holliday crushed his 8th inning homerun to centerfield off of Marmol, it was also a good sign for him. While he's struggled for so much of the season, in the last three days he's started hitting the ball and looks to be coming out of his funk.

On a side note, Holliday has hit a disturbing number of caught line drives this season. In many cases they are balls that, if they were hit a foot or so in either direction, should have been easy hits.

While the Cardinals are 2-3 since Friday, I still don't see any reason for concern. In any season, teams have their ups and downs. If in a down phase, you still win 40 percent of the time, then that's pretty good. I certainly wouldn't qualify it as a "slump".

A road/travel day win today in the final matchup at Wrigley would be huge for the Cardinals who are headed back to Busch Stadium for a three game series with Milwaukee. Lance Lynn would like to make that happen and maybe he will. 4-0 would be an amazing start to the season for him.

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To submit a question for the Balls & Strikes Mailbag, either e-mail cnoles@dailystatesman.com , call (573)624-4545 or fill out the form at dailystatesman.com/blogs/coreynoles/

Follow him on Twitter @coreynoles

Don't forget to dive into this week's contest to win a copy of A+E Networks Home Entertainment/MLB Productions "BASEBALL'S GREATEST GAMES: 2011 WORLD SERIES GAME 6 Bluray/DVD Combo Pack." If you know which past Cardinals player had the most career intentional walks prior to 2008 then enter before Thursday, April 26 at noon. Just click on this link to read more and find out how to enter.



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Corey Noles, staff writer for The Daily Statesman and Editor of The North Stoddard Countian, is the author of a regular baseball/St. Louis Cardinals column and also uses his blog to sound off on various happenings in sports. He also operates a weekly baseball mailbag column.

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