Update [2006-6-22 17:50:17 by lboros]: official site reporting that pujols will start tonight. and they tell me not to panic . . . . .
and, oh yeah; mulder will go on the DL with a sore shoulder. sound decision.
i heard this morning from emeritus blogger brian gunn, longtime author of the beloved Redbird Nation. during last night's game, he got to wondering: are the tuesday/wednesday massacres the worst back-to-back starts in cardinal franchise history? brian e-mailed the question to rich lederer of baseball analysts, who in turn sent the query to dave smith at retrosheet. smith only has access to box scores dating back to 1957, but he ran a quick query and learned that indeed, within the last 49 years, no two cardinal pitchers have ever yielded more runs in back-to-back starts than the 22 mulder/marquis allowed tuesday and wednesday.
the 2d-worst back-to-back pair occurred on april 4 and april 5, 2001, here in denver -- the 2d and 3d games of albert pujols' career. andy benes and matt morris combined to yield 20 runs in those two blowout losses.
and here's the kicker: the 3d-worst two-day beating sustained by a cardinal rotation occurred exactly one year ago today, on june 21 and june 22, 2005. the two pitchers? marquis and mulder, who yielded a combined total of 17 runs.
anybody remember those? i recall the mulder start but not the marquis. how'd they do moving forward? in mulder's case, the horrid start represented the low point of his season; from that point forward (per pinto's day by day database) he posted a 2.69 era, 10th best in mlb over that period. marquis, by contrast, was just beginning a nightmarish summer; he would go 1-8 with a 5.40 era over the next two months.
the situations aren't entirely comparable. at this time last year both carpenter and matt morris were pitching very well (matty mo was 8-0), as was marquis himself -- the 10-run drubbing only pushed his era to 4.10; he'd been below 3.50 before that. moreover, the back-to-back poundings weren't enough to knock st louis out of the national league era lead; they still ranked 1st, and would remain there for most (if not all) of the rest of the summer.
the cardinals today rank 7th in earned-run avg, which may explain the greater histrionics this time around. last year's two drubbings were truly isolated cases, whereas this year's fall within a seven-week pattern of bad work by the rotation.
we'll see if reyes can change that pattern at all.