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how often has this ever happened: jason marquis, tied for first in the national league in wins, now ranks dead last in the league in era. and i wouldn't put it past him to sustain that manic-depressive split all the way thru september . . . . . for good measure, jason leads the league in homers allowed (24) and is 5th in hit batsmen (9).

it wll be said that marquis' epic badness is an illusion, the product of the megaton detonations the chixos and braves dropped on him. uh uh; jason has come by his position honestly. he has only 9 "quality starts" this year -- the same number of starts in which he has allowed 5 runs or more.

to get back to that era leaderboard for a second: the cardinals have 3 qualifiers on the list (ie, pitchers who have thrown enough innings to qualify for the league era title). one of them, chris carpenter, ranks 2d; the others are last (marquis) and 3d from last (suppan). mark mulder is only 4 and a third innings shy of qualifying; if we were to grant him 4 and a third shutout innings so he could qualify, he'd come in just below suppan -- giving st louis 3 of the league's 4 worst era qualifiers.

that's not good.

i would argue that now is the time to blitz the marlins and bring back dontrelle -- offer them reyes and wainwright, plus bryan anderson or the double-a arm of their choice, whatever it takes -- but one thing gives me pause: willis ranks 5th in the nl in total pitches thrown this year, after having ranked 6th in that category last season. and that's not even counting his WBC workload. 'salotta wear-n-tear on an arm that's still young n tender; he is only 24 years old, the same age as reyes. . . . .

it would prob'y make more sense to trade for joe borowski instead and move wainwright into the rotation. if he can just manage to stay out of the bottom 5 in league era, that'd be an upgrade -- plus it'd fulfill my life-long ambition to have borowski playing for the cardinals. . . . .

never mind, can't do it. wainwright's way too valuable in the pen. you see that inning he threw last night? kept the deficit at 8 runs . . . . .

well, enough of that. here's something completely different: the most recent edition of the riverfront times includes a cover story about chris mihlfeld, albert pujols' personal trainer -- and, to his eternal regret, a bit player in the dread jason grimsley affair. no investigative bombshells here, just a good read and another angle on el hombre.