much was made of the fact last year that scott rolen's absence from the lineup didn't seem to matter; he missed almost the whole year (and couldn't hit when he did play) and the cardinals still won 100 games. it's shaping up differently so far this season: when rolen's in the lineup, the cardinals are 14-7 and average 5.1 runs a game; when he's not, they're 5-5 and average 4.1 runs.
i know; it's very early. but this year ain't last year. last year when rolen went down, they had sanders and (at times) walker to pick up the slack in the heart of the order; when sanders went down, rodriguez stepped in and hit like him for a month, and when he tailed off, walker returned. this year the auxiliary bats are missing. so let's be thankful that rolen's shoulder is sound; maybe he'll play 140 games this year. now if albert's back will just cooperate . . . .
glad i missed the looper/is'hausen nonsense, but at least izzy held `em back. i'd sure as hell rather have him than lidge right about now. did y'all notice lidge's performance in colorado friday, the night after he barely hung on against the cardinals for the 2d straight night? came in to protect a 4-3 lead, gave up a walk and a hit, got hurt by an error that let the tying run score, and ultimately had to be relieved. that tells you something: garner took him out in a tie game with the winning run on 3d. dan wheeler came in walked the guy home.
the marlins' starting pitcher today, rookie scott olsen, has yielded 15 walks and 15 hits in 20 innings pitched. how the hell does he have a 3.15 era??
minor-league news: reyes back on the mound this afternoon for memphis, taking his regular turn . . . . . bigbie has resumed his rehab, such as it is; he is 0 for 5 with 3 walks the last couple of games and now hitting .143 (5 for 35) with 0 extra-base hits overall . . . . mark worrell picked up his 7th save in 8 tries; now has 5 w / 17 ks in 13.2 inn; has allowed 2.63 runs and 6.6 hits per 9. september's still a long way off, but for the moment it looks like a very good bet we'll be seeing this guy when the rosters expand.
under-the-radar non-prospect of the week: josh kinney. this guy signed as an undrafted free agent in 2001 and has clawed his way up the ladder, posting some impressive numbers along the way. in 2003 he recorded a 1.52 era in high-a ball, then got promoted to double a and had a 0.68 era in 40 innings, with 48 strikeouts and only 19 hits allowed. he stayed at double a in 2004 and got murdered; couldn't find the plate and got tagged for a 5.50 era. but last year he corrected the problem and was unhittable again: 42 innings, 28 hits, 1.29 era. he moved up to triple-a midseason, and the control problems resurfaced; he gave up 19 walks in 26 innings and his era ballooned to 7.36. but so far this season he is back in form: in 11 appearances / 16 innings he has put up a 1.69 era, with 4 walks and 10 strikeouts. the only other thing i know about him is that scouts completely discount him; he's not on anybody's list of the cards' top organizational prospects -- not even the 40-deep list compiled by scout.com's crew at the birdhouse. if anyone can explain why (danup?), i'd be curious. not that i believe kinney has any meaningful career ahead of him; i'm just curious about his story, that's all. he's on the cusp of the big leagues and getting guys out.