Here at the end of the season, I am very conflicted on what I would like to see happen. Truthfully, Honestly, I do not think this team has it in them to pull of a miracle run like the 2006 team did. The 2006 team had a lot of injuries that all seemed to be coming back to get healthy at the right time, right when the playoffs were about to win. This year, the injuries keep on coming and the players are not coming back from them on any reasonable time table for consistent winning to occur.
At catcher, Molina is hurt for at least a few days after the collision last night. That leaves career backup Jason LaRue and Johnson from AAA.
At first base, Pujols is injured, but playing...presumably because he is having an MVP type season and he would like to keep it up and win. He also believes (so he says) that he will be back early next year if he has surgery after the season is over.
At second base and shortstop, the combination of Lopez, Ryan, Izturis, Kennedy, and Miles are all healthy. /sarcasm OH BOY!!! /end sarcasm
At third base, Glaus is now injured, so one of the middle infielders has shifted over to play even more. All we have left is Barden and he isn't playing. LaRussa has refused, pretty much, to bring up Freese and/or Wallace.
In the outfield, Mather and Duncan are on the DL. Ankiel is too injured to start. Barton has been on the DL and isn't playing much since coming back. That leaves us Skip, Ludwick, and a MI or Phelps or Stavinoha. None of them are good options at this point. I believe Jones is technically up as well, but he hasn't been mentioned much and definitely isn't going into a game any time soon...so it seems.
At pitcher, Carpenter is still hurt, he won't be starting any games for sure. Waino is back, but is he at full strength? Welley has pitched more than ever before, ditto Looper. Lohse is fine. Pineiro is Pineiro. Garcia's down for this year and next. Izzy is done. Tyler Johnson is done for the year. Kinney is just coming back.
So you might ask...stlfan, what are you going to suggest with all this bitching and moaning?
My suggestion is to be done with this season and move toward next year, which is supposedly when we're supposed to be retooled and back on track anyway.
I would suggest to set down any player that is injured at all (anything somewhat serious) and allow youngsters and/or players that we do not plan to sign/ will not be bringing back finish out the season.
C - LaRue and Johnson
1b - Phelps
2b - Miles/Lopez/Kennedy
SS - Ryan/Izturis
3B - Barden/Ryan - I would also bring up Freese.
LF - Play Stavinoha and Jones. We need to know for next year if they can play.
CF - Skip - we need to know if he can play every day and hit lefties
RF - Ludwick - we need to get good ABs from him whenever he is actually healthy.
Also bring up Rasmus (IF the team plans on him having a realistic shot at starting next year with the big league club. If LaRussa has already decided he will be in Memphis, then don't tease him.)
Pitchers: I shut down anyone hurt or thrown way more than before (Welley/Looper?)
Waino (if COMPLETELY healhty)
Lohse (finish out the year)
Looper (until he hits 200-205 IP then shut him down)
Welley (give him 3 more starts or so...until he hits 180-185 IP and sit him down - unless you don't plan on keeping, then throw him as much as you want)
Boggs (give 4-5 more starts after Welley gets sat down)
To fill in for those above, I give Thompson and Pineiro starts in the rotation.
In the pen, I see Perez, Franklin, and Motte finishing out the year closing and in the setup role. I would sit Carpenter down and see if (once again) he could possibly be healthy by the spring.
Left in the pen are: Villone, Flores (and pull both LOOGYs once they walk the first batter they face), Springer, Parisi, Jiminez (bring both up if they aren't), Kinney, Mark Worrell (bring him back up in case needed).
I really just believe that this season is over and we need to get people healthy for next year. I really have thought this over for days now, and believe it to be the best course of action. I don't think that anyone (not just Cardinal fans, but BASEBALL FANS in general) wants to see a playoff team sport a lineup like tonight's (game 3 of the Cubs series). It would not be good for baseball.