StL Sports Update
Oh, hello there.
This is going to be a rather large collective update for all the goings on in the world of sports related to St. Louis.
Somehow, the Cardinals managed to lose two out of three to the Royals. The Royals. Currently the Cardinals sit a half game out of first place.
Colby Rasmus had a pretty solid series. After fighting through a rather tough slump, he rebounded to go 5 for 11 with two HR and four RBI. He’s shaping up nicely as the future cornerstone of the team. He’s currently leading the NL in slugging.
Hopefully whatever ailment Jaime Garcia had yesterday was simply a mechanical flaw and not a physical injury. He suffered the worst start of his career, surrendering five earned runs while failing to record an out in the third inning. Tony La Russa pulled him as a precaution.
The NHL had its draft this weekend, and the Blues managed to wrangle a second first-round pick after trading last year’s top pick, David Rundblad, to Ottawa. The Blues have a deep stable of solid defensemen; what they really need is a top-flight scoring threat.
Overall this year the Blues did well to emphasize this need up front. Their first pick overall, Jaden Schwartz, led the USHL in points this year, scoring 33 goals and 50 assists in 60 games. Their second pick, acquired from the Senators, was Vladimir Tarasenko, who at 18 has already played for the Russian national team.
In addition, the Blues also:
– traded for Bruins center Vladimir Sobotka
– traded for Colorado prospect T.J. Hensick
– signed Russian defenseman Nikita Nikitin
La Copa Mundial
I know, this isn’t really anything St. Louis-related, as none of the St. Louis-born players who’ve capped for Team USA went to South Africa (Taylor Twellman, Pat Noonan, etc.). But I felt it important enough to mention a few highlights.
– Despite not advancing past the round of 16, the Americans put on a display of courage, coming from behind in three of the four games. With the exception of the England game, they could have easily won every game, as they had several missed chances in each. First, the disallowed goal in the Slovenia game by Edu, then the missed chances against Algeria, ultimately redeemed by Donovan’s magical goal. Playing against Ghana Saturday, the Americans had several chances to tie or go ahead but never capitalized.
– I hope Bob Bradley gets another go-around in 2014. He’s a terrific coach who made several smart personnel decisions. The only one that might be second-guessed was in the Ghana game, putting Ricardo Clark in the starting lineup. His error led directly to Ghana’s first goal, and was replaced in the 31st minute, forcing Bradley to use one of three substitutes, one of which might have helped later in the game as it went to extra time.
– The defense was the Achilles heel of the team and needs to be upgraded. There seemed to be virtually no speed in the backfield, as often the other teams found themselves gaining favorable position and forcing the defense to try and catch up.
– Hats off to Michael Bradley and Landon Donovan, the two stars of the Cup for the United States.
I know I’ve been promising to write a recap for the River City Rascals, currently second in their division, but the time has eluded me. Forgive me. Expect a healthy article about the team sometime this week.