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let off the hook

i can't fault la russa for leaving morris in to start the 8th. matty hadn't allowed a hit since cabrera's homer in the 3d -- 15 of 16 men set down, with the lone baserunner reaching on an error. he had only thrown 89 pitches, needed just 6 pitches to get through the sixth inning and 9 pitches to get through the seventh. and he was still throwing hard: per fox's gun he struck out guillermo mota on a 92 mph fastball for the 2d out in the 7th, then started juan pierre out with fastballs clocking 92 and 91 mph. so when the cards went ahead 5-4, no reason at all to take him out of the game.

a flawlessly placed leadoff bunt by castillo; not morris's fault. he got ahead 1-2 on cabrera but then had a moment of indecision; a superfluous pickoff throw -- stall tactic -- followed by a conference with molina on the mound. both strikes to cabrera had come on breaking balls, and although they'd both fooled him both pitches were up, mistakes matty got away with. cabrera was set up for an inside fastball, and i think morris was tempted to throw it but wasn't sure of himself -- understandably not, since cabrera had socked his laser-beam 3d-inning dinger off an inside heater. but they couldn't keep showing him the curveball forever. discretion won out: they went back to the hook but left it off the plate outside. alas morris hung it above the waist again, and cabrera timed it and hit the piss out of it, as mvp-type hitters are wont to do with such pitches. fortunately the rope headed right for walker, but he misplayed it . . . . . even though neither matt nor larry executed, i'm not gonna fault our guys so much as i'm going to credit cabrera, who reminded me of pujols up there -- stayed balanced and took the pitch the other way, a very intelligent display of hitting. hats off to ya, kid.

delgado's triple . . . . well it was just an awful pitch by ray king, an 0-2 fastball straight down the middle and belt high. batting-practice fodder. ray's going to add to the tension this october, that's for damn sure; we'd better hope he's saving his best for last. the cardinals have been looking for help, along with a lot of other teams, but in the end the only lh relievers to change hands this trading season were ron villone (to the marlins) and jason christiansen (dealt last night to the angels), and neither one would have improved upon the king/flores tandem. so we'll live with those two and with whatever results they produce -- and with the heart attacks and strokes that will likely be caused by their every appearance, whether successful or not.

in the p-d's "cards talk" forum they're saying that joe strauss is saying that rich aurilia may be stl-bound today. if it happens i'll applaud; he's not a very good player, but he would give the team a second weapon (sort of) off the bench against lh pitching, which they badly need for the postseason. here are the current-year opss for card bench players vs southpaws:

  • gooch .814
  • rodriguez .656
  • luna .626
  • seabol .611
  • mabry .543
  • diaz .515
aurilia's ops vs left-handers this year is .782; over the last four years combined, it's .755. that's not great, but it's an improvement over the status quo. and not an inconsequential one. in a short postseason series, everything can hinge on a single at-bat. if/when that at-bat comes, i'll take my chances with a veteran who has played in the world series rather than with a career minor-leaguer.