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Game 103 Open Thread: July 30, 2005

we'll start with last night's game. ugh. another iffy performance from morris, not only on the mound but also at bat and with the glove. in fact, his pitching probably had less to do with the defeat than his whiff on a 5th-inning squeeze attempt and his failure to execute a 1-6-3 double play in the 7th. the pitching line was not pretty but he did battle past the ugly 1st inning to keep the game within reach, faced the minimum 9 hitters in the 4th through 6th and looked poised to pick up the win. in a perfect world, it was a win -- but the world's not perfect, and neither were the cards last night.

it was just two days ago that i attributed the cards' success in an injury-plagued july to the little things -- especially double plays, but also squeeze bunts (among other things). stl blew a dp and a squeeze last night -- execute them both and it's a win. botch them both, toss in 11 stranded baserunners, and all you're left with is a missed opportunity.

so much for that; to the trade deadline. today's post-dispatch has this statement from jocketty:

We're not looking for someone considered an extra outfielder. We're looking for someone like we found last season in Larry Walker. . . . . The injuries obviously make a difference in what our objective is going to be. But again, the injuries are all short-term. And we still have a pretty good lead. If we had a one- or two-game lead, it would be a different situation.

he went on to speak candidly about specific players -- brian giles, matt lawton, ken griffey, manny ramirez. first of all, i find it noteworthy that jocketty's being this outspoken -- in seasons past he has been nearly invisible at this time of year. the fact that he's out there talking to reporters makes me wonder if something's not working.

and the statements themselves -- pardon me if i don't follow. looking for somebody like larry walker? that suggests walker isn't coming back, unless the new acquisition is going to play short centerfield. . . . but jock says the injuries are all "short-term," which suggests the club does expect walker back -- indeed, la russa says so point-blank later in the same article. but if the cards expect walker back, then why go after brian giles? is he going to take sanders' spot? and would the upgrade from sanders to giles be worth the expense in talent?

i don't see a clear line of reasoning at all. jocketty has worked the trade deadline masterfully in the past, so the apparent muddle may simply be part of his cat-and-mousing. i hope it's that, rather than genuine confusion born of walker's uncertain status.

another statement from the article:

Jocketty played down mounting speculation that he is close to a deal for Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder Matt Lawton, who probably will be moved before Sunday's non-waiver trade deadline. . . . Jocketty has assigned special scout Jim Leyland to him, but, according to a club source, the reports are "mixed."

sources in pittsburgh say otherwise. according to the post-gazette, "The St. Louis Cardinals have ramped up their pursuit of outfielder Matt Lawton, and they could be the prime bidder for his services in advance of the non-waiver trade deadline at 4 p.m. tomorrow." the pittsburgh info may simply be old and/or mistaken; but then again it may be that jock is simply feigning indifference to keep the price down. the market for lawton is limited by his salary (he's owed $2.5 million between now and the end of the year) and defensive limitations; jock can probably afford to let this one ride, wait for pgh to get antsy and lower its asking price (which according to one recent report is brad thompson and cory haerther). jock told bernie miklasz last night, "Don't rule out Lawton, but unlikely for now." he also said: "We're on the phone, but nothing is happening, and I doubt very much that we'd be able to get anything done by the deadline."

suppan lowe
9-7, 4.16 7-10, 3.81