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ready, set, september

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i haven't said anything about the hurricane; why would i in a sports blog? but it has become clear that the suffering on the gulf is far too great to be compartmentalized away. the topmost advertisement on the left-hand sidebar has a link to the red cross; whatever you can spare, $5 or $500. this is one of those times.

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tyler johnson got the save last night for memphis, his 7th of the year. his pitching line since the all-star break now reads:

ip h r er w so era
24 18 4 4 5 34 1.50

memphis still has 6 games left on its schedule (to be played in the next five days), after which johnson will likely get added to the 40-man roster and get recalled along with adam wainwright and anthony reyes. it has been my understanding that he won't be eligible for postseason play since he didn't get called up before august 31. but somewhere i read that in 2002, when francisco rodriguez made his big postseason splash for the angels, he didn't get called up until after september 1. and sure enough, per baseball-reference.com, k-rod debuted september 18, 2002. so maybe johnson would still be an option in the postseason. i know tony and dunc are not wild about rookie pitchers, but what the hell -- ray king has been lackluster, and johnson has been absolutely dominating hitters the last six weeks. could be one of those lightning-in-a-bottle things; i hope they'll at least keep an open mind.

and if anybody can clarify this rule -- ie, is johnson eligible or isn't he? -- please comment below or post a diary.

hector luna damn near hit for the cycle last night as the cardinals wrapped up a 19-11 august. in the process he raised his ops against left-handers nearly 200 points over what i posted yesterday; he's now at .819 . . . . @#$!$#% small sample sizes. if we roll in his stats v lhp from last season, the totals come to: .259 avg, .308 obp, .402 slugging, .710 ops. but we're still only talking about 120 plate appearances, not enough to reflect a true level of ability. one might (and i would never do this) discount his performance last night since it came against, essentially, a triple-a pitcher. . . . . in any case, we'll find out a lot more about luna's skills in october, because his bat may loom large. the cards did not acquire rich aurilia at the deadline, as i and some of you had hoped, so luna rates as our 2d-best right-handed bat off the bench. last night's game notwithstanding, he does not imwo (that's "in my worthless opinion") equip us well.

but i'm just a crabby old man.

in the 7th inning last night, for the 2d time in the series, david eckstein went up there hacking in a two-out rbi situation and came up big -- two-run single on a 1-0 pitch. this after a first-pitch two-run triple on monday night in the cardinals' 5-1 win. two more examples of eckstein's smart situational aggressiveness, of which i have written admiringly before. i have really come around on this guy; or, more accurately, he has won me over.

at random: neil pollack mocks the cult of the general manager at slate, blaming moneyball/billy beane and fantasy games. "the nation's fantasy sports obsession has made everyone think they're a GM," he chides. bah . . . . . for a guy who still dreams of playing the game, not manipulating rosters, read bob klapisch's dh turn at baseball analysts. great read . . . . ben jacobs at hardball times still thinks the astros will win the wild card, which for cardinal fans is both a good and a bad thing. more to say/ask on that subject tomorrow.