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the goodbye look

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i saw the cardinals in person a mere week ago and they looked sharp. they toughed out a 1-0 win on the road vs a contending team -- rolen made a game-saving play with the glove -- and the next day the B-team wore down the rockies and the cardinals won 6-1. when they game ended they came charging off the field, looking like they owned it; i even e-mailed a friend of mine, "i'm encouraged; they have got 'the look.'"

wha' happen?

could it be something as simple as the heat? on the first weekend of the year, recall, they went up to a frigid wrigley field and got swept, and afterward a few guys admitted the freezing temps had taken off the edge; they just didn't feel like playing in that environment. maybe now they don't feel like playing because of the swelter? i'm grasping at straws here; but then, the team seems to be made of straw right about now.

i've seen all i need to of weaver; the experiment failed. he was worth a look, but these early blowouts sap morale, and the cards appear to have reached the limits of theirs. weaver's next turn comes monday in cincinnati, the first game of an important series; the cardinals simply can't afford to send him out there.

common sense dictates that his slot should go to wainwright, but it remains la russa's policy to run other, less competent pitchers out there. fine; he's the manager, it's his call. next best thing might be to move sosa into the rotation; tony's comments in matt leach's pregame notes suggest that they're already inclined to do that: "I think he's proven he could start. It probably has to do with need."

there is need.

other options: the cards could call up brad thompson or tankersley for a start; they could put hancock in there and call up falkenborg for the bullpen. any of those options beats weaver, imho; give him his release and move on.

mulder's slated to make his first rehab start sunday, august 6, for quad cities; his second would fall on friday, august 11, which would make him next available on wednesday, august 16. the cardinals will be playing the reds at home that night; if the rotation continues to stink and mulder's first two rehab starts are successful, i wouldn't be shocked to see mark activated for that game, which falls two weeks from tonight. indeed, joe strauss intimates that's plan A -- and that the odd man out may be anthony reyes, who has a lower era, lower whip, and higher k/w than any of the other 7 starting pitchers the cards have employed this year except carpenter . . . .

. . . . . can't trust those rookies.

how likely is it that mulder can come back and pitch effectively again this season? i made a quick survey of recent playoff teams, looking for an analog -- not a systematic search, just fishing around --- and couldn't find one. kevin brown returned from back and hand injuries to pitch (badly) for the yanks in the 2004 postseason; josh beckett overcame 7 weeks' idlement from pitching-hand blisters in 2003 to win the series mvp. in our own little world, woody williams returned from a long DL stint to pitch well in 2002, and john tudor did likewise in 1987 . . . . but none of these guys had a shoulder injury. so i can't find a hopeful precedent, but my purview is pitifully small; if anybody knows of a case where a pitcher sat for 2 months with a shoulder injury but came back and was effective in that same year, post a comment. i'd like to know how wishful it is to think that mulder might still bail the cardinals out of this mess.

a sign of life from larry bigbie --- he hit a homer, his first at any level so far in 2006. mike parisi pitched 6.1 effective innings for the win, his 7th. mitchell boggs was effective last night too, winning his 9th game for palm beach. he now ranks 6th in that talent-rich league in strikeouts and 15th in era.

i'm out of pocket all day, not back until right before game time; if i don't get a game thread up before 1st pitch, just carry on here. marquis vs cole hamels is the matchup.