well, now it's official: we have returned to 2003. same awful starting pitching; same nightly parade of 1,000 relievers (as jeff gordon called it); same unwatchable baseball. the team that buzz-sawed so efficiently through opponents the last two years -- especially opponents like the royals -- is now trying to carve teams up with a swiss army knife. slow going; very messy. you read from time to time about somebody using a swiss army knife to save a life in a wilderness emergency -- perform surgery, amputate pinned limbs, stuff like that.
i bet some of the cardinals would like to use one of those dull blades to slash their own throats this morning.
but as tempting as it is to give up on this team right now, i can't -- not when the players so manifestly haven't given up on themselves. down 6-0, and pedaling up the steep grade of a 10-game futility streak --- that's 9 losses and 1 undeserved win -- the cards had every excuse to just sit back in the saddle and save their energy for another day. (1st stage of the tour de france is today; can't help myself.) instead they got up over the handlebars, increased the cadence, shifted up a couple of gears, and chased down the leading group. that they subsequently blew a flat, just when they seemed poised to coast to a victory . . . . . well, that's just where the team is right now -- reach the finish line first, but then fail to break the tape.
don't abandon 'em; not yet. they've already been ill-served by the team ownership, and now la russa/duncan are making their lives harder by refusing to make necessary personnel changes on the pitching staff. hell, if mark mulder's arm hadn't fallen off he'd still be out there, his era would be at 8.00, and we'd still be listening to tony saying "i saw a lot of positives; he's about to turn it around" after every 3-inning, 7-run performance. if you haven't read the post-dispatch yet this morning, here's how la russa would respond to someone who suggested that changes might be in order for the rotation:
Said one team member: "You get the feeling something is about to happen."
as for mulder -- the latest estimates place him 10 days away from throwing a baseball, and likely a month (minimum) from throwing his next pitch for the cardinals. for that, too, we and the cardinal players have dunc/la russa at least partly to thank.
coupla quick notes from quad cities: 1st-rounder chris perez debuted there last night with a scoreless inning. he came on in relief of
6th-rounder tyler norrick, who (i forget to tellya) got moved up to the quad after one dominating start in short-season a. norrick pitched ok in his first outing (see box score) but not so well last night. . . . also now playing for quad cities is 2005 1st-rounder tyler greene, who was demoted from palm beach.