ESPN Baseball Tonight analyst Mark Mulder, a former pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, took some time to speak to Redbird Rants last week in advance of providing analysis for the the July 31st game against the Pittsburgh Pirates airing on Wednesday Night Baseball on ESPN (blacked out in the St. Louis and Pittsburgh markets. Mark will be positioned in the dugouts to provide analysis straight from the field. The Cardinals will also be playing tonight during Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN against the Atlanta Braves. Dave O’Brien, Orel Hershiser, and Buster Olney will be on the call. The Cardinals will take on the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 5th. O’Brien will be on the call with Aaron Boone, Rick Sutcliffe, and Tim Kurkjian.
Daniel Solzman: Having been a teammate with Chris Carpenter while with the Cardinals, do you still keep in touch with him and how much does it hurt that he is not able to get out there as a part of the pitching rotation?
Mark Mulder: Yeah, I do still keep in touch with him. I don’t know of any rotation that with him wouldn’t be a better one. At the beginning of the season, with everything going on, I think St. Louis planned to not have him. To say that it hurts, I don’t think so. It definitely would help having him but everybody knew all along that he wouldn’t be available.
Daniel Solzman: Matt Carpenter is having a breakout year at second base. What does this do to impact what kind of moves the Cardinals make with David Freese currently at third base and Kolten Wong waiting on deck to start at second base next spring?
Mark Mulder: Carpenter was an All-Star. He’s had an amazing season – hitting lead off, getting on base, hitting for power. This whole team is hitting well with runners in scoring position. He’s coming up with numerous clutch hits, especially late in the game. It definitely helps to where they don’t have to rush anybody long.
Daniel Solzman: Was trading away Mitchell Boggs the right thing to do given his struggles this past season?
Mark Mulder: To say whether it was right or wrong, I don’t know. Boggs needed a change of scenery, hopefully it helps him. There are always certain guys that teams make available and if somebody wants them, they trade them. Maybe they just didn’t see a long term arrangement for him. When that happens, it’s best for both parties to make a change.
Mark Mulder: If you do that, it really opens up a whole can of worms. It could go back numerous years. It’s tough to say no. If you do it for one, you have to do it for all. Where do you draw the line? This guy we think did it – for this one, we don’t know for sure. It makes things a lot worse. The only way is probably if you just vacate it all together and don’t award one.
Daniel Solzman: What did you make of Skip Schumaker’s comments regarding Braun?
Mark Mulder: They were honest. I played with Skip in St. Louis and he’s one of the most honest guys I know. He’s a tough competitor and he does things the right way. He played the game the right way. He was just being candid and just being honest. I don’t see anything wrong with that.
Daniel Solzman: You have taken up golf since retiring from baseball. How would you compare your golf game to that of John Smoltz?
Mark Mulder: Smoltz and I played together last week in Lake Tahoe, I had a better day that he did that day. I’ve played with him a couple times prior and he’s beaten me. I think we’re probably very similar. The last time we played together before that was 4-5 years ago. Look, we’re amateur for a reason. I can shoot a 67 one day and a 78 the next. That’s the reason we played baseball. We had fun. I would say our games are similar and comparable.
Daniel Solzman: I have to ask about Moneyball. While I do feel that a lot of the pitchers on that 2002 Oakland Athletics team were largely ignored but do you think Brad Pitt did Billy Beane justice in the performance?
Mark Mulder: I haven’t seen the movie yet so I can’t really say. I think – for us pitchers – that’s not what the movie was based on. It was based on numbers. I remember the writer [Michael Lewis] being around doing clubhouse, writing the book. But we never heard the term Moneyball when I was there. It’s a movie – it’s a book.
Daniel Solzman: Any comments for the Best Fans in Baseball?
Mark Mulder: I enjoyed my time there. The fans were always great. I always wished I could have stayed healthier. If I could have stayed healthy there, I could have enjoyed the fans that much more. I wasn’t there on the field as much as I would have liked to be.