since the trade deadline passed, dontrelle has helped do for the marlins exactly what the cardinals, reds, dbacks, and other suitors were hoping he would do for them --- improve their position vis-vis the postseason. he's gone 3-2 with a 2.91 era in august, florida's 2d-best pitcher for the month. (rookie anibal sanchez has a 2.03 august era.) the marlins will have a chance to decide their own fate down the stretch: 16 of their 30 remaining games are against other wild-card contenders, including 10 vs the phillies, whom they play on 3 of the season's final 4 weekends. i imagine the reds and padres will enjoy seeing those teams beat up on each other.
despite their just- snapped 9-game winning streak, the marlins have only the 4th-best record (16-11) in the league for august --- and only the 3d-best in their division, behind new york (19-8) and philadelphia (18-10). the cardinals, at 12-15, are guaranteed their 2d losing month of the campaign -- a feat that even the despised 2003 team avoided. hasn't happened since 1999, a year in which the cards went 75-86. . . . cards also are in danger (albeit slim) of finishing below .500 against two of the nl's three divisions. they're 32-32 vs the central, currently 14-13 vs the east with 4 games left (1 fla 3 wash).