This weekend, as you most likely know unless you’ve been hanging out under that proverbial rock, the final chapter of the Harry Potter saga is released upon the masses. People will be hanging out at bookstores at midnight with wands and brooms. Too bad none of these are real wizards, because the Cardinal pitching staff has been hit with the crucio curse, invoking much pain among the members of Cardinal Nation.
If you were going to sort yesterday’s news into the good, the bad, and the ugly, you’d have to really stretch to have anything in that first category. At best, I guess you could say that given the news that we’ll go over in the bad and the ugly, Walt Jocketty should have been able to once and for all surrender any ideas of a quick fix for 2007, which should mean no prospects-for-short-term-veterans type of trades. Hopefully this will also mean that some of the young guys will get called back up and given more of a look as the team prepares for 2008.
The bad news is obviously Chris Carpenter having to go through Tommy John surgery. News reports keep saying he’ll be out “part of 2008”. That’s the most optimistic scenario possible, and as we’ve seen with the Cardinals and injuries, those scenarios really never pan out. Mark Mulder was supposed to be back by now or very soon, and right now there still is no timetable for when he returns. I think you can safely say that you won’t see significant innings from Carp until 2009, which could leave ’08 to be a long year. Not only does this have the obvious effect on the team, but it’s a demoralizing blow at a time when the Cardinals don’t need any more of those. Having him so close to returning only to have this happen really can take out the couple of puffs of wind that were still in St. Louis’s sails.
And then there is the ugly. When the Mike Maroth trade was made with Detroit, I thought it was a good move. For one thing, you hear so much about how pitchers from the AL should get noticeably better when they move to the NL. Second, he’d been a serviceable pitcher in the past, with real flashes of ability. I expected that he could put up some quality starts, at least keep the team in the game. I didn’t expect a Carpenter replacement, but I also didn’t expect that he’d pitch so badly it appears I could at least scratch a single off of him. The home runs are flying out, which is something he’s been prone to in the past, but he’s not limiting the damage. Last night, he gave up nine runs when two were out in the inning. That should never happen.
With the loss and the Brewers’ win, the gap is 9.5 games. It might as well be 90.5, because this team is done. Hopefully they’ll still win some games, especially against the Cubs to keep them out of the postseason, but right now, the Brewers have to become our second favorite team so as to keep that Cubs streak alive.