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taking pulses

those of you who, like me, are trying to will matt morris back into form would do well to read salvo's saturday article at the birdwatch. "It's hard to make any kind of case for Morris to be in the postseason rotation," he writes, adding yet another angle on mattymo's unfitness for playoff duty. The Brass remain committed to the guy, at least for the record, and if given the chance he may well redeem their confidence; much stranger things have happened. morris's struggles are mystifying; perhaps he, like marquis three weeks back, is on the verge of getting it right. but the reed of hope gets thinner by the outing.

the other major rehab project on the staff, ray king, has retired 10 of the last 12 batters he's faced, a span that covers 6 appearances. this follows a lousy 5-game stretch in which king blew two leads and retired only five of nine batters and blew two saves; which in turn was preceeded by a run of 13 outs in 15 batters; which itself came after a ghastly 4-game urp that saw king retire just 5 of 14 batters faced. in table form, here's king since the all-star break:

dates games batters outs pct
jul 15 - 30 7 13 10 77
jul 31 - aug 7 4 14 5 36
aug 10- 26 7 15 13 87
aug 28 - sep 2 5 9 5 56
sep 5 - 18 6 12 10 83
in sum, 20 of 63 men have reached base against king since the all-star game, an obp of .317 -- not disastrous in and of itself. but, as against morris, hitters tend to get to king in bunches. indeed, the two pitchers have the same problem: they look very good for stretches but fall apart for a lineup cycle or so, long enough to put the team in a deep hole. in morris's case, this pattern occurs within a single game; in king's case it is distended over a period of weeks.

i'll have more to say on king and the 'pen soon. for now, i'll simply send you over to stl prettywar for two outstanding shots of busch stadium. one features arches of sunlight and dirt on the playing surface; the other's a nighttime shot, with busch lit up like a cruise ship at port.