So it was the Cards and the Brewers, locked up in some sort of mythical death match last night, and the evening had cooled just enough to make believe it might be playoff time. The atmosphere was there, anyway, and in spite of my own occasional ambivalence toward this year's team (see my previous published works for details), I admit I was drawn in. I couldn't tear myself away from the television screen, and I was reminded, quite poignantly, of what it is I've always loved about this game in the first place.
Then, of course, as the innings wore on we saw the starting pitcher hit for himself before being replaced immediately afterward and then watched Octavius Augustus Dotelus and his .938 OPS against lefty split face not one but two left-handed hitters (one of whom just happened to be Prince Fielder), while Marc Rzepczynski sat on the bench, and I was immediately reminded -- very forcibly, I might add -- of all the reasons why I was so ambivalent about this team to begin with.
Octavio Dotel has a .938 OPS allowed against left-handed hitters. Marc Rzepczynski has allowed lefties an OPS of .462. That's a nearly 500 point difference. In other words, Dotel and Scrabble's respective abilities to contain left-handed hitters is almost a full Tony La Russa infielder apart.
So someone, anyone, explain to me why Dotel was still out there. Come on, someone do it. I want to hear some nonsensical, rambling excuse for this idiocy. There are plenty of people around here who still believe La Russa walks on water. So someone tell me why the absolute worst choice to face a lefty was out there facing Nyjer Morgan and Prince Fielder while the club's lone lefty reliever sat on the bench waiting for an opportunity to come in and face the other team's toughest lefties.
Or how about letting Edwin Jackson hit for himself? Sixth inning, he's at 100 pitches already. Man on base. Healthier bench than the team has had for awhile. So why is there no pinch hitter there if Jackson is coming out of the game anyway? Is Tony Cruz hurt and I just didn't get the memo? Honestly, if there's a player hurting, or who needs to not be in the game for a couple days, I haven't really heard it. The Cardinals had Marcum on the ropes, even if only a little, and they let the pitcher hit for himself when the decision had to have already been made to take him out.
And then, of course, there's the other kick in the balls. Lance Lynn and his rather large oblique muscle, which now appears may keep him off the field for some time. It's too early to say, obviously, as we have no real information on the severity, but the way this team's luck has run does anyone honestly expect it to be less than the worst-case scenario? And is anyone else surprised -- shocked, actually -- to suddenly realise just how important Lance Lynn has seemingly become to this team?
I was among the chorus calling for Lynn to get an audition in the rotation over McClellan long before KMac even went down with the hip problem, and there's no way I would have ever expected to be this distraught over the potential loss of Lance Lynn. He has effectively pulled a Wainwright on us five years later, and if it weren't for the faith I have in Fernando Salas I would be counting down the days until Lynn took over closing games.
So how bad could an oblique be? Well, the most recent oblique strain I can think of on the Cardinals was Chris Carpenter, who strained his left oblique in April of 2009. He missed a little over five weeks with the injury, which was, if I remember correctly, a somewhat quicker than expected recovery, considering it was usually thought of as a six week injury. I don't expect Lance Lynn has the ability to convert raw fury at being cut off in traffic to magical healing powers, unfortunately, so he may not come back as quickly. Hopefully it isn't as bad as all that and tomorrow at this time we're all laughing at our fears of losing the big boy, but if he does have to miss any significant time it will most definitely hurt. The Cardinals have managed to turn one of the worst bullpens in all of baseball into one of the very best (and I would argue they may be the most talented period), and a rather large portion of that improvement has been the emergence of Lynn.
Still, despite how ugly the landscape looks this morning, the Cardinals are not in a terrible position just yet. They came in to this series needing to win two of three, and that's still possible. We also aren't far enough down toward the end yet to start doing that hypothetical record thing, where we all look at the games remaining and go, "If the Brewers play just .500 baseball over the last blank number of games, the Cardinals need to play at a .575 clip just to tie." So there's that. On the other hand, losing last night was most definitely not the start the Cards needed in this series, especially when you're looking at a Jake Westbrook start tonight and Yovani Gallardo on the hill for the Brew Crew tomorrow.
There may be some good news today, though, as Allen Craig is expected to be added back to the roster. Not sure what the corresponding move will be; Tony Cruz will likely head down, though my choice would be to send Ryan Theriot to a nice farm upstate where he can run around and make errors all day in a big open field and what was that loud boom sound mom don't you worry son I'm sure your dad just dropped Ryan's bat in the back of his truck real hard you know sometimes when you drop a bat hard in a pickup bed it sounds like a gunshot but that's nothing to worry about-
Of course, with my luck in big news dropping shortly after I post something on Wednesdays I fully expect Craig's death due to being eaten by a roving pack of wolves on Broadway to be announced right around 9:30 Central time. Still, it is wrong I sometimes wake up from a dream of seeing Craig play second base next to Rafael Furcal and find my pillow soaked with tears?
I looked up from my computer just now at the television and saw a woman breaking up a Texas-shaped cookie into little cookie bits in order to make Hawaii, and I was momentarily sidetracked trying to figure out what time-travelling Winona Ryder from 1995 has against the state of Texas.
Have a nice Wednesday, folks. Game thread at the normal time.
"Temptation" - New Order
"Ceremony" - New Order
"Playground Love" - Air
"Kelly Watch the Stars" - Air
"Up From the South" - The Budos Band
"Budos Theme" - The Budos Band
"Close to Me" - The Cure
"A Letter to Elise" - The Cure