real life not cooperating at all today; have to lay this very hasty post on you this morning, more when the day becomes more humane.
post-deadline trade whisper wire has fallen totally silent in baltimore, despite the orioles' precipitous fall out of playoff contention. they have one player the cards can really use -- a left-handed bullpen ace, bj ryan, who will be a free agent after the season -- and another who might bolster the bench, melvin mora (mentioned as an stl trade target before the deadline). but all that franchise's energy has been diverted into dealing with the rafael palmeiro thing, replacing their fired manager, and trying to move sidney ponson and his fat contract. not likely ryan made it through waivers anyway, but mora might have . . . .
two weeks or so ago the cards fell out of the nl run-scoring lead; they have now reclaimed it, leading the reds by 8 runs with a game in hand. also rank second in the league in obp, 4th in slugging, and 4th in homers -- but 1st among likely playoff teams. the astros are getting ready to pass them for the nl era lead; hou already has the league's lowest obp-against (cards are 2d) and have allowed the league's fewest overall runs (cards rank 3d). the cardinal staff though stands all by itself in groundball/flyball ratio. as a team they're getting 1.71 grounders for every flyout, far and away the highest ratio in the league. the dodgers are 2d at 1.43, and most of the rest of the league is clustered between 1.40 and 1.13; milwaukee and washington bring up the rear at about 1:1. the cards' extreme groundballiness also helps explain their sky-high double play rate -- they are on pace to turn 198 dps, which would be the highest total for any nl team since 1997.
my biggest concern at the moment is hrs allowed -- the cards rank 6th in the league here, and next-to-last among the likely playoff teams (san diego has allowed more). morris kept it in the park last night against a powerful lineup, is a good sign, and mulder has only yielded one in his last 6 starts; but the pen and the back end of the rotation have gotten stung.
very eager to see how the kid throws tonight.