This month really was symbolized by a couple of the almost-home-run balls hit by Albert Pujols yesterday. They started off with a lot of promise, slightly curved and then wounded up very foul. Though I guess the ball would have had to hit an elderly woman, breaking her hip and pitching her to the ground to be an accurate analogy.
Was it really just 10 days ago that this flawed, battered team was a win away from first place with our current ace on the mound? What a difference losing 10 of 11 in September can make, huh? And even those losses wouldn’t bother me so much, if we hadn’t lost three of four to the Cubs, keeping their postseason hopes alive. It’d been great to sneak out with two wins, at least, and get Milwaukee back tied for the top slot.
Look, most of us knew that the Cards weren’t going to October, though we held out some hope to sneak in and “shock the world” again. But the winter winds will blow very cold if the Cubs win. And, even though I know there are much better teams in the postseason, after the ’06 Cardinals you take nothing for granted.
You don’t really care to see this about Mark Mulder:
Mulder insisted his surgically repaired shoulder doesn’t hurt but admitted it is increasingly difficult for him to achieve a proper arm slot as a game progresses.
I’m hoping that this is a fatigue, lack of pitching type problem that can be corrected by having an offseason and building up some stamina. If he’s not going to be close to 100% for next year, it could very well be a long 2008.
Then again, you do like seeing this about Scott Rolen,
Rolen, once fearful he would play out his career as a diminished player, awoke from surgery to learn otherwise.
“He is fine,” Kremchek said. “This wasn’t a major overhaul. I just changed the oil. …
“I don’t have a crystal ball, but I don’t anticipate him needing to do this again. I anticipate him being the same player again that he was in the first half last year. … But he had nothing left for this year.”
I know multitudes of people, most of which I consider short-term memory fans who have conveniently forgotten that, without Mr. Rolen, there’s no World Series title from last year and the fact that he should have been named Series MVP, want to ship him and his salary off to whomever will take him. I may be biased, because I am a Rolen fan, but if his bat gets even close to what his career norms were before the last couple of years plus the outstanding defense that he still plays, he’s a bargain at a position where you have to have some punch. There are no replacements in the Cardinal farm system for him, so you’d have to go out and get someone if you moved him, and the cost of replacement would be much higher than his salary for next year.
Nice to see Scott Spiezio back this weekend, even if he didn’t quite give the team an Ankiel-like boost. Hopefully he’s past the worst of his problems, though I’m sure those demons will be with him the rest of his life. I don’t know what kind of life changes he’s made in the wake of this, but here’s hoping they are permanent ones.
Was also interesting to see the interview during the game yesterday with one of the owners of the Cardinals, who expressed the desire to “go get pitching” this offseason. Not that there is much out there–much better to be frugal this year, then blow your budget with a top-notch offer to Johan Santana in the ’08 offseason.
Cards play Philadelphia today. Your guess is as good as LaRussa’s on who is actually going to start, though it appears Brad Thompson has the inside track. But, save for Wainwright and Looper, down the stretch you really don’t know who is going to throw more than a day in advance. That’s one sorry rotation right there.