two days, two game-turning homers . . . . kinda feels like october, doesn't it? the cards have scored 7 of 8 runs in this series via the longball while outhomering houston 4-1, which is (per this recent post) how you win postseason baseball. stl's virtual october seems to have begun two wednesdays ago, when the cards won on a 9th-inning squeeze play in arizona; since then every game has been tight and low-scoring, and more than half the runs by both teams -- 17 of 32 -- have scored on dingers. yes it's july, but at no point in october will stl face a tougher trio of pitchers than pettitte oswalt and clemen, nor a hotter team than the astros. they're good wins.
Crawfish Boxes did a win-expectancy chart of yesterday's game; nice production values, and a stark graphic delineation of the impact of walker's homer.
speaking of whom, behold the three phases of larry:
|thru may 11||98||21||29||4||14||13||.296||.389||.500|
|may 11-jun 17||86||18||17||3||13||11||.198||.320||.372|
|since jun 18||42||11||16||4||11||8||.381||.480||.738|
thanks to david pinto's day-by-day database for the numbers. it's surely just a coincidence, but the chunk in the middle -- the bad chunk -- corresponds to scott rolen's disablement. for whatever reason, larry has swung a happier bat with rolie around; i won't even begin to guess why. nor would i expect the trend to continue if the cards take bernie's advice and sit rolen down for another two or three weeks. and what do i think of bernie's advice? seems to make sense at first blush, but i want a medical opinion: will 3-4 weeks' rest restore normal strength to the shoulder? or are we talking scope/surgery? anybody with a clue about that, jump right in . . .
back to walker for a sec: he has scored 49 runs in 264 plate appearances, which works out to 111 runs over 600 plate appearances. that's a productive player -- don't need no VORP or OPS or WSAB to recognize it. note that his runs scored remained high even during his period of slack, scottless production -- during which, it should be noted, his obp was an almost acceptable .320.
will nothing stop this team? the cards are hitting .207 in their last 7 games. they've won 5 . . . .