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for the last word (we all hope) on The Flip, check out RB's diary and the associated link. albert made a (minor) mistake, he admitted it, and the whole thing's over with -- and not a moment too soon.

albert is currently on pace to break the following franchise records:

held by year category record pujols'
mcgwire 1998 homers 70 102
medwick 1937 rbi 154 221
hornsby 1922 total bases 450 528
o'neill 1887 runs 167 179
burkett 1901 runs
142 179

the anticipated dearth of hittable pitches has not occurred in the wake of albert's three-homer game; they keep pitching to him (he has walked only once in the last four games), and he keeps clobbering the ball. i still have a hard time believing he can get anywhere close to these records without tripping the "just walk him" trigger, which would propel him toward the runs-scored standard but keep him from reaching any of the others.

amazing albert fact of the day: as you marvel at this blistering start, keep in mind that he is historically a second-half hitter. over the last three seasons his avg, obp, and slugging are all higher after the all-star break, as is his home-run rate. so he may be slugging 1.200 by late august . . . .

re the squeeze in the 2d inning -- why play for one run there? it's early, and there's a big inning in progress. perez has only retired 3 of the first 9 batters (and one of the outs was the pitcher), and eckstein -- the team's 2d-hottest hitter, and one of the best on the team with men in scoring position -- is at the plate in a hitter's count. let the guy swing the bat, dammit. what's the worst that can happen? perez is a pronounced flyball pitcher, making an inning-ending double play unlikely; and the team's fastest runner is on third base, so it doesn't take much of a fly ball to get him home. and if either eckstein or edmonds (or both) gets on base, albert bats with a buncha men on.

you could argue that the squeeze kept the pirates in the game; cards could have put it away right there but instead only led 4-0, which became 4-2 -- a game again -- a couple innings later. i think the 2d inning's too early for a squeeze under almost any circumstances, but in last night's situation it was an especially dumb call.

how can juan encarnacion have drawn only one walk this season? this might help explain it: last night he saw 15 pitches in his four at-bats -- and swung at 12 of them. he put three in play, whiffed on three, and fouled the other 6 off. . . . yadi coaxed his first walk of the year last night, so he and juan'cion, between the two of them, have almost equaled mark mulder's walk total for the season.

baseball prospectus is out with its first postseason playoff odds of 2006. it's not encouraging news for cardinal fans; per this report, the cards have only a 1 in 4 change to make the playoffs. before you go hang yourself, though, consider this: the same report has the diamondbacks and rockies as the two likeliest teams to win the nl west, and it tabs the detroit tigers as the dominant team in the american league. so never you mind that both the cubs and reds are shown here as having about the same chance as st louis to play in october, or that the brewers and astros both have significantly better chances. look at it this way: somebody might read this thing and give you 3 to 1 odds on st louis to make the postseason.

reid gorecki hit two more dingers at springfield last night, bringing his total to 8 in 75 at-bats. impressive display, but let's not get too carried away. his career slugging percentage in four previous minor-league seasons is .422; he is 25 years old and still just getting established in double a. the more signficiant news from that game is that cody haerther also homered, his 2d in three games; after a slow start he's up to .293 on the year with a .551 slugging avg. 'nother piece a good news: colby rasmus homered again for single-a quad cities, his 2d.

per roger clemens won't return until june at the earliest, if'n he decides to come back at all . . . . and if he does pitch, it might be for somebody other than houston. even so, the rocket may return to the mound before aj burnett, who isn't seriously hurt but also isn't taking any chances. per associated press: "Burnett was alarmed by the pain and loss of velocity he experienced Friday. He said he'd be willing to miss a month to get it right."