Brandon Phillips and little bitches, round one

I'd say something about the "little bitches" thing, but I'd rather just quote Tony La Russa's line about it:

"I don't think that will go over well in his clubhouse," La Russa said. "Phillips is ripping his teammates. (Scott) Rolen, Edmonds, (Miguel) Cairo, (Russ) Springer, all of the ex-Cardinals over there. He isn't talking about this year. He's talking about the way we've always played. And those guys are old Cardinals. Tell him he's ripping his own teammates, because they were all Cardinals."

That is what those of us who read too much Dinosaur Comics like to call (and image macro) burnsauce! I'm not much into the bulletin board material/the-other-team-sucks side of baseball, but Brandon Phillips, to his credit, made himself an official member of the Hated Other like few baseball players in recent memory. Nicely done. 

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It's a good thing Phillips said that, because I don't have much to say about the game itself. The Cardinals were too good to dissect: The good parts—Carpenter, Pujols, et al—were excellent, but so were the bad parts. Skip Schumaker's grand slam was his first extra-base hit since July 25; Yadier Molina's multi-hit night got his batting average over .250 for the first time since the middle of June. There's been a lot of those kinds of stats lately—I think it's good news. Trever Miller even recorded three outs in the same game. Nice!

That it happened with the Reds on the other side of the field—with the Reds on the other side of their own field—made it sweeter, but games like this are important to remind us that this isn't a bad team, or even a very disappointing one. If things stay as they are and the Reds pull off their once-improbable run to the top of the NL Central the Cardinals will still have won 90 games; they're more flawed than we thought they were, but the Reds have been far better than expected than the Cardinals have been worse than expected. 

In any case, Schumaker hitting, Molina hitting, Ryan hitting, Pujols hitting like Peak Pujols for another year—this is the difference between the Cardinals coming into this series a few games ahead of the Reds and what's actually happened. There's still time for them to start. 

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Hey, Tyrell Jenkins! Also nice! I'm not a scout, and I haven't seen enough footage to make a judgment either way even if I were; high school picks are basically referendums on a fanbase's opinion of its minor league decision-makers and the guys who cut the signing bonus checks. Right now my opinion of each of those groups is pretty high, so I can't complain about this signing. 

With Zack Cox and Austin Wilson left on the board the last week of minor league signing season promises to be exciting and frustrating. If it comes down to signing just one of the two players I'd have to side with Wilson, although Cox certainly fills the Cardinals near-term hitting prospects gap like no other player in the draft could have done; if nothing else, the Wilson-but-not-Cox scenario means we'll get another chance to worry about which player the Cardinals need to sign when they get two first round picks in 2011. 

But I think that either-or decision is too simple and makes too much sense to actually be plausible. My guess is that the Wilson and Cox negotiations are proceeding separately, and given their respective amounts of leverage and the draft-board positions of each one I think Wilson just won't happen and Cox will be signed at the wire.

But until the wire I reserve the right to dream about a guy with Wilson's power tearing the Quad Cities apart next year. 

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