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texas toast

oh, for the days when we merely complained about how many baserunners isringhausen gave up before he finally closed out the game. since his injury, the cardinal relievers have gone 0-6 with 0 saves. their aggregate line:

ip h w so hr w-l era whip
46 55 14 35 8 0-6 5.48 1.50

kind of ironic that as all this is going on, trevor hoffman breaks the all-time record in saves, eh?

the cardinals finish the year with a 34-47 road record, their worst since 1997. they remain well positioned to win the division despite the whitewashing in houston; even if they get swept by the padres and achieve their third 8-game losing streak of the season, they will still be in first -- no matter what houston does. and if st louis should go winless for the rest of the season? even then, i'm not sure houston would catch up. and the cards won't go winless; more likely they'll will win one vs the pads and two or three vs the brewers, and that ought to take care of the "race." but suppose they really do blow this division -- would it really be so awful? it would be awful if a team that had a real shot to win a championship were to piss that chance away in 10 days of bad baseball. it would be awful if a fan base that had developed a sense of admiration for its team were forced to watch their beloved boys self-destruct. but neither of those things applies in this case. the cardinals don't have a good shot to win their 1st playoff series, much less the whole tournament; and we fans have been more aggravated by than admiring of this year's cardinal team. so while i'd rather see the cardinals win the division than not, a full-blown choke wouldn't make the top 5 -- maybe not even the top 10 -- on the list of my greatest disappointments as a fan.

and it most certainly would not rank up there with the 1964 phillies, whose spirit has been invoked with increasing frequency after each successive loss in houston. the '64 phils were a .600 team -- 90 wins, 60 losses -- when they commenced to gagging up the season; they hadn't lost more than 4 in a row all year until their infamous 10-game losing streak in late september. the phils flushed 5 1/2 months of excellence down the crapper in less than two weeks, whereas the 2006 cardinals' run of excellence lasted no more than 2 months; their last few drops of that quality swirled down the drain sometime in early august, i reckon. the '64 phillies were a good team who suddenly, shockingly turned into a bad one the last two weeks of the year. but if the '06 cardinals blow the lead, it'll come not as a shock but rather as a confirmation of something we've known all along -- they're just not a very good team.

changing gears -- la russa called out edmonds in the paper today:

"By my count, there have been at least four pinch-hit opportunities in the last three days," La Russa said before the game. "And all the games were tight. It's disappointing he's not here."
given la russa's (in)sensitivity to the health status of mulder and izzy this season, and rolen last year, i can't say i blame edmonds here. he's probably just taking sensible precautions.

the same article says anthony reyes will pitch on wednesday. that would put him in line to pitch monday's makeup game, if the game is necessary to get the cards into the playoffs. . . . almost makes you hope they have to play the game, just to see if la russa would dare pitch the kid. it's even possible the cards would have to play that game not to clinch a playoff spot but rather to force a tie -- ie, they wind up half a game behind on sunday, and need to win monday just to force a one-game playoff for the division. anybody know if such a game -- ie, a tuesday playoff following the monday makeup game -- would be a home game?

if it were to come to that, jason marquis would be on turn . . . . . and in any other season, that might loom as a nightmare scenario. but in 2006? it would only be fitting for reyes and marquis to pitch the last two, do-or-die regular season games.