We get excited (at least mildly) when the Cards win two of three against a Rockies team and look forward to the upcoming road trip, only to see them drop three of the first four.
We get excited (at least mildly) about a solid win in Pittsburgh and an off-day gain of 1/2 game on the Brewers, only to see the Cards come out and give away a win against their long-time rivals.
We get excited (at least mildly) to see the offense put up four runs, including two big homers, in the first couple of innings, only to see them pack the bats away for the rest of the game. Not only did they not score, but they only got one hit the rest of the way, and that was lost on a botched hit and run.
We get excited (at least mildly) about an Albert Pujols tear and start to think that he's going to hit that .300 plateau that we all want to see him hit, only to see him go 3-15 in a Pittsburgh park that he usually dominates and 0-2 in the first game at Wrigley.
We get excited (more than mildly, I think, in the context of the game) about Jason Motte coming out of the bullpen and bailing Jaime Garcia out by getting a strikeout and a ground ball and keeping the score at 4-3, only to see the rest of the bullpen allow the game to be tied and then lost.
We get excited (really mildly) about seeing if a different LOOGY will make a difference, only to see Arthur Rhodes do what Trever Miller and Brian Tallet often did before him, being unable to get out the one left-handed batter that he's come in to face.
We get excited (at least mildly) to see Kyle McClellan move back into the bullpen and shore that weak spot up, only to see him allow his inherited runner to score and tie up the ballgame. (To be fair, I thought when I started the comment that McClellan had been weaker in the pen than the numbers seem to bear out. Batters do have an .815 OPS against him in relief, though that may be skewed one way or another by that rain-delayed Cincinnati game that he "relieved" in the first inning.)
We get excited (at least mildly) about Octavio Dotel's performance since becoming a Redbird, only to see him come out and see him lose the game for the team by allowing two hits in the tenth. To be fair, though, Dotel's been pretty strong since he was acquired. He had the game in Milwaukee that he lost, of course, and this one, but other than that he's pretty much put up scoreless outings. You can't forget his great performance against Colorado when you start thinking about running him down.
Anyway, Hero goes to Garcia because, if it wasn't for two outfield misplays that led to back-to-back triples, he probably wins that game by only allowing two runs. Motte's performance saved him from having both of those misplays bite the Cards. Goat goes to McClellan for giving up the lead before even getting an out.
The question now isn't whether the Cards will win the division. That question's been answered, barring some sort of miraculous turnaround that would come out of nowhere. The question is, will the Cards be able to hang on to second place? Right now they are closer to the Pirates in fourth than they are the Brewers in first. They've got a nice five game lead on the Reds, but that's something to keep an eye on.
I know that many people would say "second or last, no playoffs, no difference" but I disagree. I want to see the Cards do as well as possible, even though I wonder if the team did sink in the standings, whether some more radical changes would be made this offseason. I really don't figure that'd play into it, so let's see them as high in the standings as possible.
Interesting article about this year's team MVP in the Post-Dispatch today. Lance Berkman is saying that he's gotten to the point in his career where he just wants to play for a contender and is happy with a one-year deal, and if contenders don't call he'll retire. He says he's loved St. Louis and would love to return, but realizes that there are a lot of things going on this offseason. For his part, John Mozeliak says that he plans to engage Berkman and his agent in talks before October.
Could we see Berkman return? Most of us have pretty much ruled him out of the 2012 Cardinal discussion, figuring that he's played well enough to earn a big money multi-year deal somewhere. However, if all he says is true--and Berkman's comes across as the type that really means it--I could see the Cards bringing him back on a similar deal to what he got this year even if Albert Pujols returns. I hope they are able to--Berkman's been a joy to watch this year and has quickly become a favorite in St. Louis.
Some other general links for you:
--The Cardinals are assisting with a local group that helps veterans with some dementia problems. That's an incredibly wonderful way to use baseball, it would seem to me. The Cards have allowed the members to tour the stadium and see memorabilia from the past, hoping to help provoke past memories. That's the wonderful thing about baseball, how much the present ties in with the past. Kudos to the organization for doing something like this.
--You've seen reviews from Stadium Journey (or at least the links) in this space before. This time, instead of the minor league ones that we've seen before, they have a new review of Busch Stadium up. Head on over and check it out.
Cards have another afternoon game today before playing for the third week out of four on Sunday Night Baseball. Edwin Jackson, who until recently was pitching on the other side of the Second City, takes the ball. Here's what the little bears have done against him:
Pretty good numbers against these guys. Neither Carlos Pena nor Geovanny Soto have a hit against him and I hope those runs continue today. Jackson already has faced the Cubs in St. Louis, shutting them down in his debut. To date, that's the best game he's pitched in Cardinal red.
Matt Garza is on the other side. What the Cards have done against him:
Berkman's struggled against him. Looking at these numbers, I'd almost guarantee that Corey Patterson is in center field today. I'd say that you'd have to keep Berkman in there because of needing to win this one, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him sit and Allen Craig move into that slot.
All we can hope for the rest of the way is good baseball. Let go of the frustrations (easier said than done) and realize that there's only five and a half weeks left before the Cards go away for the winter, so we have to enjoy what we have.
The BBA has, as a secondary aim, the goal of producing year-end
awards in a similar fashion to the Baseball Writers of America. These
awards can be found at the official site in October with links back to the voters,
ensuring transparency and, most likely, the onset of some good baseball