fitting tribute: moment to remember from last night's game: top six, when mattmo -- nursing a just-gained one-run lead -- pitched out of a first-and-third, none out jam. whiff, popup, whiff -- the last one ending on a carve-you-to-pieces curveball that would have done daryl kile proud. dk57 was much in evidence last night -- his wife and kids were there to tear down #57 on the busch countdown chart -- and i think mattmo put a little extra kile mustard on that last pitch. the bellyscratcher has more kile reminiscences this morning. read `em . . . .
storm brewing: it was true before mark prior's elbow got cracked, truer now: the milwaukee brewers are the cardinals' biggest worry in the nl central. and they are a credible threat: baseball prospectus gives them a one-in-six chance of winning the division. i saw that and thought, c'mon they're a .500 team; but after looking it over i can make a case for the brew crew's having an outside shot. here goes:
- the brewers have played better than their record shows. they have scored 210 runs and allowed only 176, a pythagorean w-l of 28-19. the cards' pythagorean is only one game better, 29-18.
- they are gathering momentum. after a 7-13 start, the crew has gone 17-10 (stretching back to the last week of april).
- they can pitch. brewers are 3d in the league in era, a quarter of a run better than the cardinals -- and their best pitcher, ben sheets, hasn't pitched for a month. he returns today, joining the underrated doug davis and cris capuano at the top of a strong rotation.
- they have trade chips. the milwaukee farm system boasts three of baseball america's top 25 prospects: rickie weeks, prince (son of cecil) fielder, and jose capellan. any of the three could bring huge returns in the summer trading derby, which is nearly upon us.
- they have played the cardinals tough. stl has taken 5 of the 6 meetings so far, but all were tight low-scoring affairs that could have gone either way.
next series with the crew is july 18-21 at busch. . . .