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being naturally lazy, baseball bloggers hate it when their team reaches the postseason. after 162 games, there's just nothing left to say about the team -- and yet here are these extra games, really important ones, and the obligation (for the public insists on it) to summon forth add'l commentary. of the really important variety.

the task lies well beyond the slim powers of any single blogger, but put a bunch of us together and we might make a passable showing. acting on that theory, six cardinal bloggers spent almost two hours chatting online last night, mulling the cards' chances against san diego and other opponents who might come after. the conversation begins here and makes its way through all six sites: part 2 at Cardnilly (Scott), part 3 at Bellyitcher (Bellyscratcher), part 4 at Get Up Baby (Dan), part 5 at The Birdwatch (Rob), and part 6 at Cardinals Diaspora (Ryan). just read to the bottom here, then click the link to go directly to the next section.

PART I

Lboros: What's StL's biggest vulnerability going in?

Rob: I'd guess health. Edmonds and Carp have had their recent problems and it looks like Reyes won't be available.

Dan: The playoffs in general scare me to death, the whole crapshoot aspect of it. My biggest fear isn't really anything on the team. It's somebody going Carlos Beltran on them for a series, and singlehandedly sinking them for three games.

Bellyscratcher: Bullpen. With Sanders and Walker wearing their hittin' shoes, I think they can somewhat compensate for Jimmy's iffiness. If Carp & Mulder can't get back on the horse, the pen will loom very large. Especially w/out Big Reyes.

Scott: All y'all took my answers -- injuries, bullpen, luck. My worry is that the starting pitching hasn't switched it back on like the lineup did this weekend. Mulder was all over the place, Marquis wasn't all that effective in the end, and Matty sucked today (he got booed!). The rotation's our core strength -- if that goes away we're in serious trouble.

Ryan: Pitching is always a concern for me. There's just so much complexity with it. The head game with those guys. I tend to think Carp is back on but the other starters I am less confident in. Mulder bounces back pretty well ... The left side of the pen is glaring too

Scott: I am often glaring at the lefties in the pen, true...

Rob: We can always worry about LaRussa too. He wants to win more than anybody, but he wants to win his way. That's where the bullpen problems could be magnified.

Lboros: He's got that wild-eyed look.

Ryan: Yeah, he can be a little nuts, but his playoff history is pretty solid

Lboros: He gets jittery. The vets like Rolen and Matheney who tended to calm him down last year aren't around.

Bellyscratcher: Yeah, this thing with Marquis and Suppan yesterday threw me for a loop.

Scott: So, awesome. No pitching, no relief, no health, and our manager's a nutjob.

Bellyscratcher: Pretty much.

Lboros: We can hit.

Scott: In Tony's defense -- I don't think that playing matchups against various teams is particularly insane. If Jason's got a good track record against the Pads, I'm okay with giving him a start.

Ryan: I still am willing to wager that Supe starts.

Bellyscratcher: He better.

Lboros: Will we see Ray King in any game situations?

Dan: I would love to see King, but only if he's in the stands with me.

Rob: I'd bet we'll see King. But it will be against lefties only.
Ryan: Maybe just one, or with a 5-run lead.
Bellyscratcher: Oh, it's sad to say, but I really hope to not see King. Dude's head is not in the game.
Lboros: Would we rather see Flores, or simply forget the whole LOOGY thing and go with a right-hander who's throwing well?
Bellyscratcher: I'd say Randy, then Al -- until Al tweaked his elbow.
Dan: I trust Flores. His LOOGY slider looks pretty good.
Lboros: Put me down for Flores too.
Ryan: Gotta keep Flores in. It's back to that whole crapshoot thing with King.
Rob: Adam Dunn never wants to see Flores again.
Scott: Well, yeah. But I still bet that King gets lots of work. Even if Big Reyes is okay.
Lboros: If Al Reyes can't go, who replaces him on the roster? Brad Thompson?
Scott: BT and Eldred both get to go.
Bellyscratcher: Brad.
Dan: I would hope it'd be WonderBrad, who I also wouldn't mind seeing against lefties.
Ryan: Li'l Reyes to replace him?
Lboros: Yes! I'd love to see it.
Ryan: To me Brad should be on the roster anyway. He's a huge righty from the pen.
Lboros: Nothing against Brad, but Li'l Reyes can get away w mistakes coz he throws so hard.
Ryan: Good point. Remember Haren last year.
Scott: Six in the pen, right? Izzy, Jooly, Flores, BT, Eldred, and Ray.
Lboros: Plus Soops.
Scott: I'd drop Eldred if Al's good to go, but I bet BT gets dropped instead.
Bellyscratcher: I'd love to see younger Reyes, but I'm afraid of the whole "experience" thing. Last year Haren had been up the previous year too.
Lboros: Gotta roll 'em sometimes.
Ryan: Exactly.
Bellyscratcher: I'm a natural worrier.
Dan: I think La Russa might throw Anthony Reyes in just to prove he doesn't care what happened to Ankiel. It seems like something he'd do
Lboros: Can Anthony hit?
Rob: They've been really careful with Anthony though.
Bellyscratcher: They mentioned him today when Johnson was having some issues.
Ryan: I just like having a 95mph guy, especially if we face an AL team this month.
Lboros: Think K-rod.
Scott: I don't want to drop any of those guys in favor of Li'l Reyes. Again, maybe Eldred, but I think if TLR was thinking about using him we'd have seen him more down the stretch.
Bellyscratcher: Agreed, Scott.
Lboros: It'll never happen, but it would be fun to watch.
Ryan: TLR seems to not have a lot of trust in young guys.
Scott: That's why Ray got so much work -- TLR was giving him the opportunity to work through whatever it is that's affecting him.
Lboros: So how's the bullpen set up then? Izzy closes, Tavarez sets up --
Ryan: Unless he totally freaks out.
Bellyscratcher: Which is always a possibility with Tavy.
Lboros: Suppose Tavy looks shaky and Reyes is out ---- who sets up?
Ryan: Eldred is in, i bet
Rob: I'd like to see Morris in the Al Reyes spot. But that's not happening.
Ryan: Marquis can pitch the 8th
Bellyscratcher: Bingo.
Lboros: I wish, but he's starting . . .
Ryan: He's probably our best bet if Tavy goes Zambrano.
Rob: Tavarez will be loading the ball up 100% of the time during the playoffs.
Scott: I think Jooly sets up. It takes a lot for TLR to go away from a guy he trusts, even if that guy's shaky.
Bellyscratcher: Or insane.
Lboros: He's had a bad 2d half.
Scott: Insane has never been an issue for TLR, much to my delight...
Dan: I think Tavarez is the good insane though
Ryan: Yeah, that spot needs to be crazy.
Lboros: Or too dumb to get it --- like Li'l Reyes.
Ryan: Dumb and cocky isn't a bad thing for a pen pitcher.
Scott: Any number of USC grads are going to start writing you angry emails...
Dan: Paging Kyle Farnsworth.
Bellyscratcher: Ah, So Taguchi is waiting to face Atlanta.
Lboros: Is Farny closing for ATL?
Dan: Yeah, after Dan Kolb ran out of Closer Mentality
Lboros: Who do you NOT what to see in there protecting a lead, other than King?
Dan: Honestly, King's the only guy I don't want to see in a close game.

To continue reading, go to Cardnilly via this link.