A Quarter Thing

The St. Louis Cardinals are 25% done with their regular season. That’s sad in the same way that eating 25% of a cookie is sad. It means you don’t have the whole cookie anymore but still you’ve got enough cookie left to enjoy and the memory of the cookie you just ate is right on your tongue and anyway, what is with you and your cookie infatuation?

Every season has multiple stories so it stands to reason, sits near logic and just generally makes sense that this quarter of a season has had multiple stories. And, as is often the case for a team in first place, most of these stories are, to borrow a phrase from my 7-year-old nephew, “Neato” (we’re thinking Washington University may be in his future).

Some of these stories are not neato and it behooves us to look in to them as well because we are exceptional people who could more than likely solve all the teams’ problems from the comfort of our living rooms whilst drinking rum. We’re smart like that.

Because nobody knew better than the genius who decided that Lee Van Cleef should star in westerns with Clint Eastwood, I will now delve into the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the Cardinal’s quarter season.

The Good

Good thing number one and the best thing by far in this young season: the starting rotation. Our rotation is a gorgeous woman in a giving mood, the sun shining on a beautiful day, a cold beer and a warm steak… it’s like nothing bad has happened and nothing could ever hurt us and oh my god I just want to wrap myself up in the rotation and sleep here and no harm will come to me because God loves us all.

Now, the ugly little imp who sits at my desk and spikes my coffee with Klonopin is currently muttering words like “regression” and “unsustainable” and I get where he’s coming from but you know what? I refuse to be the jerk at the blackjack table who professes that his luck will soon run out. Maybe our rotation’s success is sustainable, maybe miracles happen and maybe just maybe that stupid imp will be wrong for once in his mathematically reliant life.

Good thing number two is Matt Carpenter. Hey you guys, the Cardinals converted a third baseman to play second and not only is he doing so adequately, he’s providing the best offense we’ve seen at the position since the mid-nineties. If Carpenter were to continue hitting like he’s hitting and fielding like he’s fielding, he will provide us with more VORP in a year than any Cardinal second baseman since Tommy Motherhumping Herr. That is downright amazing. Yet because good thing number one is so awesome, good thing number two barely gets mentioned. Think about that for a second: one of the most devout and attentive fan bases in baseball has a player kicking butt while playing out of position and he’s not even the number one story of the first quarter season because our starting rotation makes all rotations that can possibly rotate, vibrate or oscillate seem static and flaccid by comparison.

Neat. O.

Good thing number three is simply that most of those paid to play and expected to perform are doing just that. Molina, Holliday, Jay, Beltran and Craig are all coming through, with varying degrees of success (Craig and Molina are having power shortages, Jay slumped through April, etc.). I guess what I’m saying here is, the lineup’s alright.

Good thing number last is that Pete Kozma is a shortstop and Ryan Jackson seems to be getting better every day, so shortstop, once thought to be the feces-infested Carnival Cruise Line of Cardinal issues is actually just a position that folks play at replacement level for cheap. Nothing wrong with that.

The Bad

The bullpen is only bad in my humble quarter season take because it seems to be in the process of being fixed and I live my observational baseball life by one simple rule: never trust a bullpen in transition. Any bullpen in transition is just waiting for new pitchers to be exposed and when that happens games get lost late. I guess what I’m saying is Edward Mujica is pitching awesome until he doesn’t, Maness will get lots of outs with few pitches until they hit him, Rosenthal’s fastball will keep streaking by hitters until they catch up to it, Martinez… actually he seems pretty damn diabolical doesn’t he? I’m not comfortable with the ‘pen yet, and because we sent down two major pieces of it I am going to take the risk and say that the bullpen, though not bad in the league average comparison sense of the word, was definitely a bad part of the first quarter season and more than likely cost us several wins.

Bad thing number two is David Freese: Get your poop in a group, Wildwood.

So all in all, there’s a lot of good and not much bad. Hopefully the Cardinals can continue on this pace which may or may not actually be torrid.

Oh, I almost forgot:The Ugly

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