Carlos Martinez picks up 5-2 victory over the Reds

via Reds @ Cardinals 4.18.15 Recap: Cards win 5-2 – Viva El Birdos.

Carlos Martinez went six strong innings and the Cards had a 5-2 victory over the Reds. Carlos could have gone longer, but was pulled for a pinch hitter. The buzz after the game, is that Carlos has taken a little off the fastball, in order to improve on his pitch efficiency. Seems to be working.

Jason Heyward picked up his first home run of the season, Thank God. We need him to hit more.

Yadi continued his hitting streak, now has his average over .300. A nice bonus for the offense.

Matt Carpenter continued his amazing run, now has a slash line of .381/.435/.619/1.054. Remarkable stuff. If 2013 Carpenter has returned, 130 runs scored and 80 RBI is back in play. This could be the spark plug, we been looking for.

Matt Adams had a good day picking up 2 hits. Matt is now hitting .226. I am just not sure how long the club can leave Adams hitting in the cleanup spot. One homer and 4 RBI over a 10 game span, is not good enough.

Trevor Rosenthal closed out the game. Still having trouble with putting runners on, gave up 1 hit and 1 BB. This will catch up with Trevor eventually. That is 4 walks in 5 appearances. Not good.

Randal Grichuck is on the DL. Back strain lifting weights. Kids. Not very bright. Dude, season has started, cut back a little.

Dean Anna is coming up from AAA. He has been ripping it up. This give the Cards a left-handed bat, off the bench.

The Cardinals going 7-3 over the first 10 games is a good start. The reality of the situation is that the pitching has been good enough to be 9-1. The Cards have only scored 41 runs. There are 11 teams in the majors that have over 50. The Cardinals pitching, have only giving up 23 runs. The next closest staff, the Tigers has given 34 runs. It is still the line-up stupid.

The Cards go for the sweep tonight, against the Reds. Let the good times roll.


Cards crack Cueto again, win 6-1

Apr 17, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals

Matt Carpenter does a cart wheel at home plate, to score the first run for the Cards.

via Cards crack Cueto again, win 6-1.


Michael Wacha went pitch for pitch with Johnny Cueto, until Yadi broke the game open in the 7th inning. Yadi was first pitch swinging sending a liner to left field, that cleared a bases loaded situation. Impressive.

Wacha has now beat Cueto twice this year. Matheny stated after the game, that Wacha was throwing all his pitches, not just relying on the change-up. This bodes well for the future.

It just seems to me, that Wacha is a big game pitcher. Either, because of the situation or the opponent, Michael rises to the occasion. I felt the same way about Joe Kelly. Some guys just have the “it” quality. I think Wacha is one of those guys.

Matheny broke pattern again and had Kevin Siegrist pitch the 8th and 9th inning. I like it. After the game Matheny stated he sent Kevin back out because of how effective he was in the 8th.

Let me be clear, this is not what Matheny did very much of in the 2014 season. Letting what he see’s on the field, dictate his next move. Very impressive.

Matheny over the last few games, is showing some growth and flexibility in how the bullpen is handled. Last year Rosenthal would have pitched in the 9th. Because he is the closer. If Matheny continues this flexibility it could easily get the Cards at least 5 additional wins this season. Very Impressive.

Molina and Carpenter are on a nice little run right now. Matt is starting to look like he did in 2013. Could become a game changer, again. This would be a big deal for this club. We need one or three.

Heyward, Adams and Wong are still not clicking. I hope that Matheny clears the bench for the day game today and lets Grichuck, Kozma and Reynolds have a go at it. It would be a good time for it, Homer Baily is getting his first start of the season.

The Reds always lose the series at Busch. The number is something like 27 loses out of the last 30 trips. What I’m hoping for is a weekend sweep. Lets put a little distance on the rest of the division.



Lackey picks up easy win

via Reynolds Starts at First – STL Baseball WeeklySTL Baseball Weekly.

MLB: Houston Astros at St. Louis Cardinals

Mark Reynolds got the start at first base today.

John Lackey pitched like a veteran going 7 inning and striking out 8. Lackey had men in scoring position in the 3rd, 4th and 5th innings. However, got past it without allowing a run. After that Lackey was on cruise control. Easy victory.
The nice surprise was that Matheny had Matt Belisle close out the game in the 9th. With the Cards winning 4-0, Matheny departed from his normal routine and did not use Rosenthal. This could be the first sign that Matheny is growing as a Manager when it comes to bullpen usage. Matheny saved Rosenthal. Very smart. Good for Matheny. This could be a big deal in the future.
In another sign of flexibility, Mark Reynolds got the start over Matt Adams at first base. Reynolds responded by getting 2 hits and driving in one run. While I still don’t believe Reynolds is a good fit on the Cardinals ( Xavier Scruggs already has 4 home runs in AAA) I like that Matheny is forcing his bench players into the starting line-up.
The next step is for Matheny to give Grichuk starts over Holliday and Heyward. I am a big believer that the starters must take days off. It makes the entire team better. Grichuk did get into the game as a replacement for Jay. Matheny can’t just use Jay as the only outfielder Grichuk replaces.
The other good news from the game is that the Cardinal hitters had 5 doubles. The bad news is the club only scored 4 runs. It still the line-up stupid. I am still hoping Matt Carpenter can power his way out of the lead off spot.
All things considered it was the Cardinals best performance by the players and the Manager.
The Cardinals have not lost a series yet, this year. The Reds come into town today, Cueto is pitching. If we can beat Cueto, should be easy to get the sweep.

Lynn for the win

via Cardinals Defeat Brewers 4-2 on 42 Day – Viva El Birdos.

Lance Lynn was not sharp, but picked up the win. Thanks to some early run support. The Cardinals top of the line-up is really starting to hit. However, run scoring is still the issue. Putting up only 4 runs against poorly performing teams, will wear a team out over 162. It is still the line-up, stupid. Cards left 7 stranded on base. Find something that produces more runs. Please.

Lynn had to leave after 5 innings, hitting the 100 pitch mark early. Only Seth Maness was able to perform cleanly. Everybody else gave up a hit. Rosie gave up a run in the 9th, but got his 3rd saved. I think will be the norm, until the Club can find another arm to add to the mix.

Matheny did not sub in Grichuk for Holliday late in the game. Hope this signals Grichuk will get a start today. Holliday should never play a full game when the Cards have the lead. Grichuk needs playing time. Pete Kozma is still wondering what he has to do in order to play, Mike use a little imagination.

The Cubs are now 5-3. This without Bryant and Lester, a total head case. If every hitter Lester faces bunts the ball back to him, Lester will never win another game. The guy can’t make the throw to first. It really is very interesting to watch. But, I did not expect the Cubs to be this solid, this early. Confidence can produce magic for a young team. Not good for the Cards.


Cards give away Home Opener

Bernie: The boys are back in town

Opening Day. Could we get a do over?

The Cards home opener could best be described as forgettable. With both team doing their best to give the game away. Waino was not sharp. Garza issued 5 walks. Wong had 2 errors, both led to runs scored. Segura also had 2 errors that led to run scored. The Cardinals left 12 on base. 2-13 RISP. The Cardinals did a better job of wasting opportunities and lost 5-4.

The game could have turn around if Grichuk could have come through with a pinch hit in the bottom of the 7th, after the Cards where gifted 2 runs by the Brewers. But, the rally ending with a soft infield ground out.

The key decision by Matheny was should Waino have been pulled in the 7th after giving up a lead-off single. The game announcers where quick to point that Matheny feels Waino has earned the right to get extra opportunity to try to finish what he starts. Waino was not sharp. The game was still 3-2. I agree with letting Waino start the 7th. However, should have been pulled after the hit.

While you can’t put this down as a loss for Matheny, what is concerning is the thought process, trying make statements instead of reacting to the actual play on the field. It is way to early for this kind of statement. Waino had a short spring training, should have been pulled.

What would make Waino feel better? A victory or the confidence of his manager, in this situation?

I think the answer is obvious.


Carpenter shows the post season power was no fluke

Embedded image permalink

Matt does the line, after hitting to game winning home run

The first week of the season is in the books. Thanks to Matt Carpenter’s extra inning home run, the Cards go home with a record of 3-2. The Cards were in every game and could (with a little luck) have won every game. Not a bad opening road trip. Here are a few takeaways from the first week.

  • Starting pitching will keep us in almost every game.
  • The bullpen might be effective, but rarely will get through an inning clean. Their success will largely be determined on how they are used. Not a strength that Matheny has demonstrated.
  • The offense will be better than the 2014 version. But, not that much better. It is still the line-up stupid. Matheny has shown some flexibility, with the match-ups. However, not nearly enough.
  • The bench is still not being used correctly. Kozma and Grichuk our hottest spring hitters, only got one start, during the road trip. Matheny is not giving the young guys the opportunities. Not what you want to see.
  • The Cards need to find another lefty for the bullpen. Randy Choate not going to make it past May.
  • Peter Bourjos does not have a job, role as designated pinch runner is not going to be good enough. Needs to be traded for a bench player that can hit lefties.
  • I still think Mark Reynolds is a bad fit as the back-up for Carpenter and Adams. Because he does not hit for average and strikes out a lot, he can’t be used a pinch hitter. Everyone keeps talking about his 20 homers last year. That might happen if he has 450 plate appearances. His real number of plate appearances will be around 150. That means his home run total will be 6. Not what the club needs.

Home opener today. Can’t wait. The Brewers have started poorly. I’m looking for a sweep. That is the fan boy talking. Later.

Cardinals’ win is a relief

via Cardinals’ win is a relief : Sports.

Manager Matheny

The Cardinals 4-1 win over the Reds does one important thing. It kept everyone from totally freaking out with the Cards starting 1-3 and the Reds 5-0. Now opening on the road and having the potential of going home with an opening week record of 3-2. No worries.

Well almost. The bullpen usage at the end of the game, left even Al Hrabosky opening the post by saying the Cards win, despite some “interesting moves” by Matheny. If you did not see the game, Matheny basically used everybody in the pen to face one hitter, leaving Rosenthal to achieve a 5 out save.

In Derrick Goold’s article he tried to explain Matheny’s thought process:

With one out in the seventh and the tying run at first, Matheny went to Seth Maness, the Cardinals’ designated double-play reliever. Maness retired his batter, Zack Cozart, but on a lineout. That presented Matheny a choice. He could aim to use the fewest relievers and double-switch lefty Kevin Siegrist into the game to face three consecutive lefthanded hitters, or he could set the eighth aside and show faith in Walden. It would take more pitchers and leave fewer for extra innings. Matheny and his staff discussed the double-switch and the benefit of putting Peter Bourjos in center field. Message and matchup won out. Siegrist got one batter — striking out pinch-hitter Brennan Boesch — and Walden started the eighth.

A day after walking Hamilton on four pitches, Walden struck him out on three.

“I do want to reinforce to Jordan what happened (Friday) night was not going to make us hesitate to bring him in,” Matheny said. “It’s something that he needs to know and needs to see from us. I also knew we had a lot of guys down there who were fresh. We could back up with Rosey. We had plenty of guys to get it done without doing a double-switch too soon.”

Matheny has followed that feel before when making bullpen moves. He will look to use a reliever a day after a sour outing just to cleanse the palate. Veteran lefty Randy Choate contributed to a loss in Game 3 of the National League championship series, but was back on the mound the next night for Game 4. He has called that move by Matheny one of the most meaningful since he’s been a Cardinal. Matheny went to Choate on Saturday for his planned assignment, too. A lefty specialist, Choate didn’t draw Joey Votto on Friday, but did face the Reds’ best lefthanded hitter Saturday.

Votto singled — the only hit allowed in 9 2/3 innings this season by the Cardinals’ bullpen — but only got as far as third base. Rosenthal completed his second career 1 2/3-inning save by retiring all five batters he faced.

So, the thought process was to show confidence in Walden, by bring him back in, after losing the game on friday. If that was the exercise, then why did Matheny pull him after facing only one hitter. And they did not do a double switch when Siegrist came in, to achieve sending a message to Waldren, that they have confidence in him? All resulting in Rosenthal having to get a 5 out save. What?

I just don’t get it. It was a mess. It was a planned mess, in order to send a message to Waldren? OK.

Maybe it is time to stop sending messages and just let the matchups determine the use of the bullpen.


Matheny loses to the Reds 5-4

Oct 6, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals

The next time you’re watching a ballgame and the former major league player is expressing the qualities of veteran know-how. Point to last night game, of an example, that younger is better in the modern game.

John Lackey giving up a home run to Votto is not a crime. Votto is a talent. Giving up a second home to Votto, not bright. Especially when the rest of the Reds could only muster 2 hits. Marco Gonzales would not make that mistake.

Mike Matheny electing to go Waldren in the 8th, with 2 lefties due up. The numbers say Kevin Siegrist should have been used. The broadcast team pointed out that Matheny want’s to use Waldren as the 8th inning guy, this year. Yet, it’s really not the 8th inning. It’s a tie game. Extra innings are more realistic possibility. The veteran Waldren walks the one man you can’t, Billy Hamilton. Hamilton steals a couple bases, scores on a sac fly. Pretty sure Kevin would put the pitch down the middle of the plate rather than do that.

Mark Reynolds being used as a pinch hitter with 2 men on, 2 outs with the game tied 4-4. I’ll give Matheny that with a lefty reliever on the mound. The Reds do the prudent move, bring in a righty. Matheny does not counter. Reynolds strikes out. Pretty sure that our hottest spring hitter, Pete Kozma would have been a better choice.

So, the next time you hear former players waxing poetically about veteran knowledge, tell them to put a sock in it. Give me youth every time. I take my chances.

This is the second game, the Cardinals lost that they should have won. They should be 3-0. While you can blame the veterans for not executing, Matheny did not put them in a position to succeed. This is something Matheny does frequently. Ignoring the metrics and hoping for a result.

I put this one down to the first loss of the season for Matheny. I will be keeping track during the season.

Matheny would be a perfect manager if he would just delegate in-game decisions to his staff. Think La Russa with Duncan.

The good news is that Matheny, did give Grichuk a start in center. Grichuk got the Cards back in the game with a home run. Now lets see how many games go by, before Randal gets another start. The Cards had 10 hits and 4 runs. Still loving that line-up Mike?

I have seen nothing so far this season that Matheny is doing anything differently in-game than he did last year. Which is a shame. Because it is his greatest weakness.


Lance Lynn gives away the game


Lance Lynn was cruising along with 9 strikeouts. Then, Lance hit Rizzo. Wild attempted pick-off to first base. Castro gets the key hit. Game over. The Cardinals had one real opportunity to score in the top of the sixth. 2 men on, 2 outs, Jay at bat, could not get the hit.

Matheny made one small adjustment to the starting line-up, moving Molina down to the 7th spot. Breaking up lefties Jay and Wong. Not good enough.

The Cardinal pitching has given up ONE EARNED RUN in 2 games and we came away from Chicago with a split. Not what you want to see.

Our 2 hottest hitters this spring Kozma and Grichuk did not see the field, during the series.

This is what I was afraid of seeing once again. Lack of flexibility in Matheny’s thought process. Ignoring the metrics. Carpenter was 0-11 against Arietta. This was an opportunity, to try to mix things up and try a more aggressive thought process, when it comes to scoring runs against left-handed pitching. Carpenter should not have been in the lead off spot.

How many games are the Cards going to lose 2-0 before Matheny tries to do something different? Showing faith and confidence in your regulars, is not exactly modern managing.


Good start to 2015

via Jason Heyward picks up three hits in Cardinals’ opening night victory | Big League Stew – Yahoo Sports.(Getty Images)

Opening night turned out the way we had hoped. Cards over the Cubs 3-0. Neither club looked sharp. The Cards had a couple of opportunities to put the game away and failed to do so. The Cubs kept putting the lead-off hitter on and failing to bring them home. No complaints, take the win. Some takeaways from the game:

  • Heyward had 3 hits. It is critical that Jason keeps the average against lefties over .250. Here’s hoping it does not become an issue.
  • Holliday continued his hot spring. This could be the key factor in how stressful the season is, if Holliday can avoid the slow start.
  • Matheny’s line-up adjustment to facing the Lefty Lester, dropped Adams down to the fifth spot and had Jay bat in the 8th spot. Not exactly revolutionary. Baby steps.
  • Cards stole 4 bases last night. However, Carpenter was thrown out attempting to steal with a man on third, two outs, Heyward at the plate. Not what you want to see. However, like the more aggressive approach.
  • On the ESPN broadcast they made a big deal of the fact, that Lester does not throw over to first base, with a man on. It really did look like he was afraid, to do so. Has not done it since 2011. This could become an issue for Lester pitching in the National League. Hope so.
  • It was nice seeing Rosenthal have a clean 9th inning. No hits. No walks.
  • Martinez was used out of the bullpen. Smart. With all the scheduled days off in April the Cards had said the where going to use a 4 man rotation. Smart.
  • The Cubs have a long way to go before they can live up to the hype. Everyone is under estimating, that it takes longer for young position players to become comfortable, in the big leagues.

What I want to see the next 2 games, is if Matheny goes out of his was to give Kozma and Grichuk opportunity to play. Not just a pinch-hitting appearance. They are our hottest hitters. Let’s see if Matheny breaks form and does it.

Good start to the season.


Time to get it all started, Cards VS Cubs

via St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs – April 5, 2015 | Preview.

It all begins tonight. So its time to make the picks. I don’t really follow the American league. I just don’t care. I’ll worry about them, when the post season starts.

This year, in my opinion, the division favorites Dodgers, Cardinals and the Nationals are locks for the post season. Even if they stumble, they will still pick up one of the wild cards.

For the wild cards, it comes down to Padres, Pirates, Marlins and Mets. I’ll take the Pirates and the Mets.

Who makes it to the World Series?



Analytics-inclined managers are changing baseball. | : Brian Kenny Article

via Analytics-inclined managers are changing baseball. | : Brian Kenny Article.


It might not seem like a huge story on its own. New Rangers manager Jeff Banister said his club will have no set lineup, and may change day-to-day. This, he says, depends on the opposing pitchers and specific things they see in the matchups.

Maybe this doesn’t strike you as extraordinary. It’s a tipping point in breaking down one of the last barriers to the sabermetric revolution: the gatekeeping manager.

Just two years ago, the best ideas, the most innovative concepts, were not getting to the field. Front offices were packed with smart, young people thinking of the game in a very different way. The way of the post-sabermetric Information Age. Ideas and innovation, though, were hitting a wall all over the league. That wall, for the most part, was the manager.

This Brian Kenny article points out what I feel has been John Mozeliak’s biggest failure so far in his tenure as General Manager. He failed to implement a total organization approach to managing the club, when Matheny took over for La Russa. Mozeliak publicly stated his authority ends, where the fields begins. That was old school. Mozeliak failed to take the opportunity to make the Cardinal the leader in implementing analytics on the field. The Cardinals have long been a leader in front office analytics. However, Matheny is not. In fact Matheny is stuck in the 80’s.

Jeff Banister implementing the flexible lineup is long over due in baseball. Compare this to Matheny announcing that Heyward would hit in the 2nd spot and not once during spring training had a lineup other than Carpenter, Heyward and Holliday, when they all played that day. One man, without accumulating any data made the decision. End of discussion. Imagine that. At the very least, clubs should use a lefty-righty lineup. There is no argument for not doing this.

The Carpenter, Heyward, Holliday may work out. But if it does not, how many games will it cost the club, before a change is made? Matheny is a man of strong convictions. The media have labeled him, as a loyalty first manager. I agree with this, but I think it goes further, Matheny is also stubborn and does not like to be told he is not doing something correctly. Not exactly what you want from the manager. This could be the issue, that will be Matheny’s downfall. And it could have all been avoided if Mozeliak, would have managed Matheny differently.

Joe Maddon with the Rays. Had outstanding results with a very small payroll. Why front offices seem to ignore this, is one of the great mysteries. It will be interesting to see how Maddon will run a club that does not have these limitations.

The Pirates are the first club to come out and state that they are going to start managing days off for starting players. At least 10 games to lighten the grind of the season. They are the first club to acknowledge the elephant in the room, that with the not being able to pop greenies, adjustments to work load must be made. This makes so much sense. It’s like a V-8 commercial.

The point of all this? The Cardinals are way behind the curve on this issue. What is unfortunate about all this, is that I believe it has already cost the Cards one World Series ring. Meaning, with a more flexible analytical approach, the Cards under Matheny’s guidance should have won at least one ring. The team was good enough to accomplish this.

Matheny is a natural-born leader. That’s the hard part. Because of Mozeliak’s old school hands off approach, it is still up in the air, whether Matheny will be able to bring home a title.

This is the last year the Cardinals will be the consensus division winner. The Cubs and the Pirates have that much talent coming. The only thing that will keep the Cardinals competitive in the future is a new approach to managing the club. The core of the Cards is aging. Matheny can no longer leave it all up to the players to perform. The talent on the club simply will not be good enough to beat the Cubs, Pirates and Dodgers. The Cardinals Manager will have to put them in positions to be more successful. Matheny has yet to demonstrate this skill.

This is why the Cards need to become one of the teams on the list, of applying analytics on the field. Without it, we will not be good enough to compete, with the Pirates and the Cubs in the division.


Cardinals decide on Kozma and Grichuk for final spots

via Cardinals decide on Kozma and Grichuk for final spots.


JUPITER, Fla. (AP) – Infielder Pete Kozma and outfielder Randal Grichuk will fill the Cardinals’ final two bench spots on St. Louis’ opening-day roster.

Manager Mike Matheny said Tuesday he liked Kozma’s versatility. The shortstop has also played third, second, some outfield and even practiced catching this spring training. Though he’s known more for his defense than his bat, Kozma began Tuesday with a .425 batting average.

Grichuk, acquired from the Los Angeles Angels, is hitting .262 with four home runs. He’s played all three outfield positions.

With the announcement the opening day roster appears to be set. The key of course, is not who makes the club, but how Matheny will use them. Matheny did mention at the announcement, that they would be used if some of the left-handed hitters struggle against left-handed pitching.

This would be the wrong approach. However, it would be Matheny’s normal behavior. He will give the regulars a lot of opportunity to perform. Thereby killing any momentum that Grichuk and Kozma have built up during the spring.

What Matheny needs to do is look for match-ups and give the opportunity to Kozma and Grichuk. A pro-active approach instead of a reactive approach.

I’m not optimistic that will happen. But, if Matheny shows more flexibility, it will bode well for the Cards. Matheny should go out of his way to get Kozma and Grichuk into game action. Not let them sit on the bench for a couple of weeks. Then giving them opportunity after the starters struggle. Thereby, killing any momentum they have.


Carlos Martinez wins No. 5 spot in St. Louis Cardinals’ rotation; Carlos Villanueva makes bullpen | FOX Sports

via Carlos Martinez wins No. 5 spot in St. Louis Cardinals’ rotation; Carlos Villanueva makes bullpen | FOX Sports.

Mar 5, 2015; Jupiter, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Carlos Martinez (18) during a spring training baseball game at Roger Dean Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Carlos makes the starting five.

In the future when you play, name that Cardinal, if you answer Matt or Carlos you’re most likely going to be correct. Carlos Martinez and Carlos Villanueva make the club.

When Jaime Garcia declared that he has another boo-boo, that left Carlos Martinez as the last man standing, no surprise he was named a starter.

The surprise for me was that Carlos Villanueva made the bullpen. I am totally confused. Not Gonzales? Then why did Mozeliak trade Freeman. I was under the impression that the Cards were wanting 3 lefties in the pen, with all the starters being righties.

What does this mean? The only way this is a logical thought process, is that Jaime Garcia was never under consideration to be a starter. That Jaime was always going to be in the bullpen and more importantly he is going to stay there for the season. Wait. If that is true, then why have Jaime pitch all spring as a starter? I am still confused.

Wait. Jamie has been clear, he is a starter. Is Mozeliak really going to put Jaime in the bullpen against his wishes. Mozeliak does hate Garcia like no other. Is this payback? I am still confused.

Furthermore, why keep Gonzales as a starter? Is Gonzales really going to remain in AAA all season long, if none of the starter get injured or falter. Really? Gonzales earned a starting spot. Gonzales pitched last year. His clock has already started. The Cardinals don’t need Gonzales for insurance. We have Cooney for that. I’m still confused.

Villanueva has allowed six earned runs on 14 hits this spring, though six of those hits and four of those runs came against him in his Grapefruit League debut. So, Villanueva has improved, but has not been lights out. One cannot say that he earned this spot. I still confused.

Trying to figure this move out, there can be only one conclusion, Mozeliak is going to trade John Lackey. What?

Trying to think a General Manager is never easy. In this case, this move has turned into an episode from the X-files.



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