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new shack attack

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when will they learn? albert's game-turning bomb in the 7th yesterday marked the 4th time this season that he has homered to erase a st louis deficit, and the 11th time one of his dingers has put st louis in front.

and it's not even june.

on the season, albert has propped up the team by contributing nearly 500 points of win probability -- while the rest of the starting lineup, in the aggregate, has contributed negative 95 points. which is a fancy way of saying that he is singlehandedly making a bunch of mediocre stiffs look like a champ'ship-caliber offense.

say it with me, folks: you can beat the cardinals this year, but you still can't beat pujols.

actually, let's give due credit to the non-stiffs hitting in front of and behind albert. the guy in front, johnny rod'gz, laid off some close pitches and coaxed a walk to extend the inning and get el hombre up there; bravo. and the guy hitting behind pujols, mr rolen, made pitching around albert an unattractive option -- because if the astros had done so, they'd have had to face rolen with the go-ahead run in scoring position, when a mere single would have put the cards in front.

jason marquis continues to defy categorization. he staggered through the first 5 innings on 91 pitches, yielding 2 walks and 3 hbps while somehow holding the `stros to 1 run; then, as per us'l, he settled in and skipped through the 6th and 7th on a combined 15 pitches, which kept him in the game long enough to pick up win no. 7. he has now won 4 starts in a row and is tied for 3d on the nat'l league leaderboard in victories. . . . i'm still not buying it. marquis continues neither to get groundballs (10 flyball outs yesterday, vs just 9 groundouts) nor to strike anybody out (only 2 yesterday); his batting avg on balls in play (BABIP) is a minuscule .129 during his winning streak and .230 for the season. that's just not sustainable.

but see this diary for an opposing viewpoint.

have more to say, not least because i was at the game -- my first at the new shack. have some impressions to share, but i'm on a 6 a.m. flight back to denver, hence have to keep it brief for now. more monday aft'noon.