Posted on July 31, 2008 at 8:00 AM
Filed Under: Atlanta Braves
| Heroes and Goats
| St. Louis Cardinals
For the second time this year, a start was highly anticipated, with ramifications for the rest of the season. Unlike Mark Mulder's implosion, though, Chris Carpenter
's night was much more of what we wanted to see.
Four innings was a little short, but he was getting close to his pitch count and came up in the top of the fifth, which was a logical place for a pinch-hitter. He got stronger as the night went on, only allowed one run (though numerous base runners) and has something to build on for his next outing against the Dodgers at home. (I'm sure he'll get a standing ovation when he takes the mound that night!)
It's another one of those nights where it's hard to pick a goat. The bullpen did well, keeping the Cards in the game until they could pile on late. All the starters got a hit. Almost everyone either scored a run or drove one in. It's a terrible day to pin it on someone, but since we are stuck with the conceit, we'll go with Troy Glaus
again, only because his only hit and RBI came after the game was pretty much in hand. Still, it was good to see him break his o-fer slide.
When I left work yesterday, it sounded like the Cardinals were real players for Jason Bay. Now, not so much
, especially with the Red Sox in the mix. Also, it was almost a slam dunk the Cards were bringing Will Ohman back with them from Atlanta. Matthew Leach says not so fast
. John Mozeliak says (you take what a GM says right now with some grains of salt, of course) that sending Randy Flores down
was more about Carpenter's return than being close on a lefty. So now what?
Maybe there will be an out-of-the-blue trade, like the Ken Griffey Jr. one
that just came down. But after seeing Carpenter's start last night, there has to be added pressure on Mozeliak to make a trade. He's seen that Carp is back and will give a boost. It's not that he went out there, his arm fell off, the season is pretty much over and there's no reason to deal. He's back and that should keep the Cards in the race.
In other words, the players have done their part. Isn't it time for the front office to do theirs?
I'm not suggesting they recklessly throw prospects at someone to make a deal and I realize that there may not be anything out there that will improve the team. But I think Mozeliak has to work doubly hard today to make sure there's nothing. Getting a trade done will help morale for the team as well, a team that is now tied for the National League Wild Card.
No matter what the front office does, the team gets another shot at Atlanta tonight before flying home to take on the Phillies this weekend. And waiting for them tonight is an old "friend".
Remember way back when Mike Hampton was the most prized free agent on the market? When the Cardinals made a huge push for him, coming up second to the Rockies because of the school system (and they paid more)? Remember when Hampton used to dominate the Cardinals? (He's 10-8 lifetime with a 3.59 ERA now, but it sure seemed like he was always beating the Cardinals in the 2000-2002 time period.)
Well, he's back. Personally, I was surprised that he made it through his first start without getting placed back on the DL. (Heck, getting through warmup tosses is an acheivement when you have Hampton's medical history.) He does end the streak of the Cardinals facing entirely new-to-them pitchers, as a few Cardinal batters do have a history with him
. Pujols especially seems to enjoy facing him, but he enjoys facing most pitchers.
For the Cardinals, Joel Pineiro takes the mound. It'd be really nice to see Pineiro go through six, at least, since the bullpen was used a little bit last night. If he doesn't let Mark Kotsay beat him
, he might have a chance to do that.
The Cardinals have a chance to really complete a crazy second half of July. Four wins, five losses, win, loss, four wins (with one tonight). For a team that was really consistent in the first half, usually winning two of three, they've been a bit streaky lately!
If the Cards make a move today, obviously places like MLB Trade Rumors
and others such as the VEB
fan posts will be good places to look, but I'll try to come back and give my opinion on it was well.
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