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perusing the perfect world

mulder and the cards had just enough of ev'ything last night -- just enough hitting, just enough decent pitches, and just enough good luck to generate a forgettable 4-2 win. well, i guess scrap-iron gall's happy debut makes it somewhat memorable. (he looks vaguely like gregg jefferies to me; anyone else?) mulder had men on base all night, was constantly behind in the count, and didn't seem to change speeds at all -- every pitch was between 75 and 85 on the gun. but he got outs on a number of well-hit balls and induced two two big double plays. just enough . . . . woody threw ok, not great, against his old mates -- except they weren't his old mates, really. only three guys in last night's starting lineup were on last year's stl roster: albert, edmonds, and taguchi. i for one miss the guy; it was nice to see him pitch again.

you wouldn't call it a pretty win, but given the cards' injuries every victory is a beauty.

picture perfect: the devil has been especially kind to the cardinals in july. five times this month, the cards have won games that they would have lost in a perfect world. that includes game 1 of the series vs chicago, in which the cards stole a win despite being outhit and outpitched. three separate run-scoring models had the cubs scoring 3 runs in that game, the cardinals only 1; in a perfect world, that's a 3-1 cub victory.

i've been tracking this all year in the "perfect world" box on the left sidebar out of sheer curiosity -- to see how many apparent losses the cards could steal into wins, and vice versa. i assumed the ledger would balance out over the course of the year, and for most of the season that has indeed been the case. from april through june they won four games they "should" have lost, but lost five games they "should" have won -- basically a wash. but in july, the cards have filched five wins that, in a perfect-world, would have been losses:

depending on your point of view, the cards have either been a) really lucky this month, or b) showing that they "know how to win." or maybe it's a little of both; maybe they're a veteran team that anticipates success and makes the most of the luck that comes their way. or maybe it's simply that good-pitching teams seem to get more breaks; all the games on this list were close and low-scoring, the kind of games that can be (and usually are) decided by a bounce here or there.

here's yet another theory: maybe it's the double plays. the cards have turned a whopping 28 of them this month in 21 games and now lead the league in that important category.

whatever the case, these sneaky july wins have been huge. turn em around and the cards' record for the month is just 9-12, their lead over houston just 5.5 games. . . . . . but then, their pythagorean for the month is right where it should be -- they've scored 91 runs and yielded just 65, which predicts a 14-7 record. . . . . . but, continuing to muse: stl has created 84 runs this month (via james' tech-1), while their opponents have created 77 ---- a much tighter spread. . . .

we're goin around in circles here. back w more when i get this figured out