The Cardinals got to play meaningful baseball in September. After all this team has gone through, from injuries to death to off-field controversy, that’s saying a lot. The surge back from 10.5 down to get within a game was very impressive.
But it’s hard to believe that just Friday, the Cards had a chance to get into first place by percentage points. Since then, the rotation has collapsed, which is not too surprising. Duct tape only holds for so long. The question isn’t whether the Cards can put a run together to get back into the race. The question is whether any “starter” besides Wainwright will get a win between now and September 30.
With half of Memphis playing every day, a Pujols that is hurt (19 games and counting without a home run) and a rotation that is so terrible you can’t even make a regular starting staff out of it, it’s no wonder that things finally have come to a head. Four games out, with this collection of players, might as well be 15.
So, for the rest of the season, Cardinal Nation should become huge Brewer fans (OK, save the three games we still have left with them–I’d never advocate cheering against the Redbirds, though I will say losses in that series won’t bother me as much). The Brewers were able to get a one-game lead on the Cubs yesterday, and they play Pittsburgh this afternoon (Bush vs. Gorzelanny, which is a pitching advantage to the Pirates). It’d be nice to see them get a win and put some pressure on the Cubs, who play tonight in Houston (Hill vs. Patton, which should be an edge to the Cubs as well).
The Cards, well, they get back to the bandbox that is GAB. Anthony Reyes starts the “bullpen” game today. It’d be great to see Reyes recapture the form that he had in the World Series last year and give the team a jolt. For one day, at least, we could enjoy ourselves and have fun again. However, if he gives Edwin Encarnacion anything to hit, it could be ugly. Three home runs in four ABs against Reyes? That’s just insane. One of those was an inside-the-park job, as well.
Will they get to hit tonight? They face Bronson Arroyo, whose history against the Cards is here. Nothing really stands out–Eckstein might have a good game, Pujols has a couple home runs against him–but if Reyes can keep them in the game, they can probably score against him.
Ironically, the Reds kept St. Louis in the race when the Cards swept them at the beginning of the month. They basically took the Birds out of the race completely with their win last night. What goes around comes around.