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cards to the nlcs for the 5th time in 10 years. since 1996, here are the leaders in lcs appearances:

  • yankees: 7 (pending 8)
  • cardinals: 5
  • braves: 5 (pending 6)
  • red sox: 3
  • indians, mariners, marlins, mets, orioles: 2
  • angels, astros: 1 (pending 2)
  • chisox, cubs, dbacks, giants, padres, twins: 1
since 2000, the leaders are:
  • yankees: 4 (pending 5)
  • cards: 4
  • mariners, red sox: 2
  • angels, astros, braves: 1 (pending 2)
  • chisox, cubs, dbacks, giants, marlins, mets, twins: 1
the sweep of the pads raises the cardinals' lds record to 17-4; not too shabby. but over the same span, their postseason record in subsequent rounds is 9-19 . . .

but we can talk of these things later. last night david eckstein showed the world what we VEBbers learned a while ago: when circumstances dictate, the little twerp can ditch the wait-em-out, get-on-base approach and muscle up. (i've been calling it situational aggressiveness, if you're new to the site.) which is how he came to swing at a 2-0 pitch in the second inning last night. during the regular season (per espn) he saw 120 2-0 pitches and only put four of them into play; factor in swinging strikes and foul balls, and we can guess david swung at fewer than ten 2-0 pitches all season. only natural; a guy like this isn't supposed to swing on 2-0, right? he's supposed to work the count, try to get on base via the walk. but with two out and a man on first, the cardinals needed an extra-base hit; and with edmonds on deck, williams couldn't afford to monkey around with eckstein. he needed to throw a strike on 2-0 and didn't have the luxury of throwing a very fine one. so eckstein looked for a fat juicy fastball to drive, and he got what he was looking for. boom.

it wasn't a fluke. with men on base and two out this season -- rbi situations -- eckstein slugged .571 with an isolated power of .190. guy's just a damn smart situational hitter.

the rest of the lumber showed up too. albert swatted, edmonds smoked, sanders clobbered . . . yadi had a great at-bat and got a two-strike base hit. sorry it all came at the expense of woody, but not too sorry. it's the playoffs.

matty mo redeemed TLR's faith in him with a good, not great, outing. coupla those long flyballs might have been HR in st louis and most certainly would have sailed out in the astros' bandbox, which could well be the cards' next road stop. but petco contained them, and edmonds ran 'em down. morris never got hurt on his curveball last night; by my count he threw 21 of 'em, and the pads swung at 11 of those and only put two into play, both for outs. a third batter (greene, in the 6th) whiffed on an 0-2 curve. when he got hurt in the 5th, every hit came off of his fastball, which abruptly fell below 90 mph that inning. (he consistently hit 91-93 innings 1 through 4.) but when klesko came up with two out and two on in the 5th, morris got a little extra gas on the heater -- threw six of them to klesko, including four for strikes (three fouled off), and all hit 91 or higher on espn's gun. matt struck him out on a cutter inside to quell that comeback.

i'm in favor of keeping him in the rotation for the lcs, but he should pitch games 2 and 6 -- at busch, where historically he's been at his best.

then there's the bullpen . . . . . flores looks great to me; he's not only getting outs but making the hitters look bad up there. but the rest of these guys are gonna cost us a game sooner or later. they really have to address that problem, and they have options . . . . .

but that, too, we'll save for later. i'm taking my kids to see dan zanes, gotta run. enjoy the day ev'ybody.