we should probably prepare ourselves for innings like that one once mulder comes back.
whopperman has a brief spot report on the outing, and joe strauss was there as well. mulder did throw 71 pitches without pain, which is a significant positive. and he adjusted after the 3d, came back out throwing strikes in the 4th. where should mulder pitch his next game? he is eligible for another rehab start; i'd give it to him. the club will probably wait and see; if the race tightens up, they may feel compelled to bring him back for the cincinnati series next week. i would advise against that, for a couple of reasons. first, the reds massacre left-handers; they're hitting .280 and slugging .500 vs them as a team, as opposed to .256 / .429 against right-handers. second, it's not the reds we should be worried about; it's the astros. they've opened august on an 8-2 tear, and their pitching staff is clicking. since the all-star break they have the league's 2d-best era (colorado's is 1st), nearly a run better than the cardinals'; lidge has blown only 1 save since then, and pettitte clemens and oswalt are all dealing. tonight houston's version of anthony reyes, jason hirsh, makes his big-league debut.; he is 13-2 at triple a this year with a 2.10 era.
notice how the astros fearlessly throw their rookie starter into the heat of a pennant race . . . .
the astros have cut their deficit in half since august began and now stand just 5 games back of st louis. given the vast superiority of their pitching staff over ours, i think they stand a damn good chance of overtaking the cardinals and winning the division outright. failing that, they are now only 1 game out in the loss column of the wild-card race. looks like a playoff team to me, and the proverbial "team nobody will want to face" in the postseason.
a few other items:
- after a nearly two-month hiatus, cardnilly is back -- doesn't think much of the new stadium or the 2006 cardinals. welcome back, scott.
- and a hat tip to 'nilly for linking derrick goold's article on trey hearne.
- top 2004 draft pick chris lambert left with an injury after 1 inning last night. according to the springfield cardinals' web site, the trainer came out to look him over after just one batter; he stayed in the game and finished out the inning. awaiting further word. . . . springfield got shut out 4-0, although cody haerther continued his 2d-half resurgence with 3 hits (2 doubles).
- the cards' two #1s from 2006 both pitched for quad cities last night. ottavino: 4.2 innings, 5 hits, 3 walks, 3 earned runs; needs improvement. perez: 2 innings, 1 hit, 0 walks, 0 runs, 5 strikeouts. quad cities rallied for 3 runs in the bottom of the 10th to win 7-6 and split a dh; adam daniels pitched well but lost in the opener.