cardsrul's diary sums up the distinguishing feature of the 2005 cardinals. come what may in october, this has been a remarkable season, the 2d in a row for the lucky baseball fans of st louis. the fellahs have to win a World Series before we can start asking where they rate on the list of all-time cardinal lineups, but if we leave the postseason aside this team is already in the discussion alongside the great `67-68 team, the three-time world champs of 1942-46, and the gashouse gang. historic stuff.
at one point this year i disparagingly compared mark mulder to jason simontacchi; on another occasion, snickering somewhat less, i likened him to woody williams. with the season now more or less finished, here's yet another side-by-side:
it's not a perfect comparison, but still . . . . . that year's morris, coming off a 20-win season and still mourning darryl kile, outpitched randy johnson in game 1 of the nlds, got bombed in the nlcs opener at busch, but hurled a beauty in losing game 5. if he wasn't quite staff-ace material, he was close.
which pretty much sums up mulder as we head into the 2005 postseason. he has silenced all the doubters, myself included, with a magnificent second half. over his last 14 starts, covering 98 innings, he's 7-2 with a 2.29 era, a 1.24 whip, and just 6 hr allowed; his obp allowed in that stretch is .320, his slugging pct allowed a stingy .358. mulder still often walks a fine line, viz his last two starts -- 23 baserunners in 14 innings, two baserunners put out at the plate -- and he still can't throw a pitch past anybody. so there may be a 4-inning, 7-run outing lurking in there yet, waiting to rear its ugly head in a playoff game. but danup's mantra remains in force: the guy has pitched great for nigh on three months, so just go with it.
as long as we're drawing comparisons, here are the latest mulder v haren returns:
interesting comparison -- haren yields fewer baserunners but more dingers, strikes out a lot more guys but also yields a lot more runs. mulder gets to face a weak-hitting pitcher twice a game, which pads his stats somewhat; if we eliminated pitcher at-bats from mulder's line, i think haren's season would emerge as the better one -- but mulder has had the better second half. haren, though, has been pretty good himself post all-star. he lost a heartbreaker last night in fenway, and i still have to wonder: as good as mulder has been, could he put up a line like haren's against the red sox in fenway park in a must-win game? doubt dies hard . . . .