So the new-and-improved Mark Mulder made his debut last night and looked a lot, at least in results, like the old-and-ugly Mark Mulder.  6 runs in 4 innings was a tough thing to swallow, especially after Rick Ankiel–again!–hit a two-run shot to make up most of the early 3 run deficit.   Giving 3 more to the Pirates right after that really took it out of the team, I think.  I note that Duncan is saying he thinks Mulder would be better next time, and there were some good signs, but right now, all we can do is hope.

I mean, the Cards have a six-man rotation, but we’re not even sure who is in it and who is out.  Pitchers that were in it pitch their way out and vice versa.  Eventually, they are going to run out of pitchers to try and have to stick with someone that’s not named Wainwright or Looper, and that decision could be the toughest one TLR has to make this year.

And, of course, that blowup comes on a night where Milwaukee scores 14 and the Cubs score 8 and leave no doubt that this morning’s standings would look like:

Chicago —
Milwaukee 0.5
St. Louis 2.0

Then the Cards run out Mike Maroth today, not knowing what they are going to get from him.  Unless he’s made some major improvements from his first time around with St. Louis, there’s a strong chance they’ll lose this series, and a team that wants to stay in the race can’t afford to lose a series (especially a four-gamer) to the last place team in the division.

The Cards face Bryan Bullington in this afternoon’s finale.  He’s a rookie, so the Cards haven’t faced him (though he pitched 1.1 innings back in ’05, I can’t quickly see who they were against).  That leads me to my newest theory, that the Cards have taken on the personality of their manager.  TLR and Duncan are some of the most prepared people out there.  When they have the information, they pass it on to the hitters, and good things happen.

However, guys they’ve never seen or only seen a couple of times, they don’t have enough data to make conclusions.  Therefore the hitters are kinda “on their own” and not so good things happen.

Hopefully they’ll disprove that theory today.  He is a righty, so that does help some.  And that means that The Natural, as some have taken to calling Mr. Ankiel, should be back in there today to work some more magic.


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