5-3, 4.50 2-3, 4.37
uss mariner thinks pujols will surpass 73 homers this year for a simple reason: the entire sport has an interest in purging the steroid stain from the record books:
People believe [Albert's] clean. They like him. They don't like Bonds. He's tainted, and as long as he holds the record, the record is tainted. When Pujols threatens 73, they will yearn for his success, even at the expense of their own team, because if the record is held by a clean player, the record's redeemed, and baseball will have in a symbolic way closed the book on the steroid era.
sounds pretty far-fetched, except it isn't. i can easily imagine that, at a subconscious level, opposing pitchers might be a little less vigilant about keeping albert in the yard -- at least, pitchers on teams that are out of the playoff running, or are facing pujols in mop-up situations. "The pitches aren't going to come gift-wrapped," mariner writes, "and he's not going to have meatballs grooved over the plate. But he'll be challenged, and Pujols will hit home runs in many of those situations."
something to ponder.
i think albert might do it because he doesn't care whether he does it or not; he just wants to win. come to think of it, i don't care whether or not he gets the record either, and i'd venture a large minority (if not the majority) of cardinal fans feel the same as i do. so you may have a situation where the cardinals' opponents and their fans are pulling harder for pujols than he is and we are. funny.
per baseball prospectus' kevin goldstein, at least one scout out there remains skeptical of anthony reyes (as noted by sdrone in this morning's thread):
While St. Louis righthander Anthony Reyes pitched 5 2/3 shutout innings in his first major league start of the season (if a start against the Royals counts as a major league start), and has a 48-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 52 1/3 innings for Triple-A Memphis, one scout feels he has regressed. "He's at 95 mph and he's got a good change, but his breaking ball has gone backwards and it's because of Tom House," said the scout. "House turns guys into dart throwers, and their elbow ends up sucking into their body and they get under the ball and their arm action gets messed up." As for the fact that injured Cubs righty and fellow USC alum Mark Prior is considered by some to have ideal mechanics and turned Reyes onto House, the scout was more concise. "Anybody who says Mark Prior has great arm action doesn't know what they are looking at," he argued.
why do i have the suspicion that the unnamed scout quoted here works for the cardinals? . . . . in any case, the comments seem more directed against tom house (one of baseball's more divisive figures) than reyes per se. they may well be valid observations, but sheesh -- throws 95 with a good change? there must be some major-league team out there that can put those skills to good use.
game thread is up early because i'm flying to st louis tonight -- family function this weekend. i might extend my stay long enough to pay a first visit to the new stadium monday. let's see, who are the probables . . . . oswalt v marquis? the guy i spent all morning bad-mouthing in the comments?
serves me right, i suppose. well, maybe the kid'll throw a no-hitter and mash two homers. c'mon, jason, hummmm baby . . . .