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Game 159 Open Thread: September 29, 2006

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weaver capuano
4-4, 5.21 11-11, 3.87

another reminder: tomorrow marks the official launch of SB Nation's stl rams blog, Turf Show Times, penned by Cardinals Diaspora's own ryan vb.

outsider radio's brandon rosage had me on his podcast, "360 the pitch," yesterday to talk about the cardinals' outlook for the postseason. we talked before yesterday's action, when the cards still led by 1.5 games; the conversation revolves around the big pujols homer that ended the losing streak two nights ago. you can hear the whole thing at this link; i'm on about halfway through the hour-long show.

here's what baseball prospectus has to say about the cards in its (subscription-only) preview of the season's final weekend :

Don't think of what has happened to the Cardinals over the last ten days as being a collapse. Think of it as something that happens to all mediocre teams in the course of a 162-game schedule -- and make no mistake, the 2006 Cardinals have been mediocre for most of the season. The lack of a serious challenger in the division for most of the year has created the illusion that they were better than reality should dictate.

Consider this: is their recently-snapped, seven-game losing streak really that much more germane to their overall failure to lock down a weak division than the eight games in a row that they dropped back in June, or the eight-game schneid they experienced in late August? Of course not. This is what teams that win in the low eighties do. It's just unfortunate for the Cardinals that their number came up at such an inopportune time, and that it has coincided with another mediocre team getting its scales balanced.

tonight is the biggest regular-season start of jeff weaver's career. when he played for the tigers they were never in a pennant race, and when he pitched for the yankees they either had enormous leads in september (2002) or had booted him from their rotation (2003). his only other truly critical start came in 2004, when weaver pitched for the dodgers at home on the last friday of the campaign -- as he does tonight for st louis. it was a head-to-head game vs the dodgers' closest pursuers, the giants, who trailed by 2 games. los angeles needed 1 win in the final 3 to clinch the division; weaver pitched a decent game in the opener, gave up 3 runs in 6 innings, but took the loss. the dodgers won the next day and clinched the division anyway.

weaver's very next start -- and the only other important one of his career -- came against the cardinals in game 2 of the nlds. he pitched like crap -- hit two batters, threw a wild pitch, and gave up 6 runs in 4.2 innings.

i won't be in front of the computer much this evening or tomorrow. about 3 weeks ago, when it looked like the cards would jog to the division title, my wife and i chose this weekend -- which looked to be a meaningless one, baseballwise -- for a little family getaway to the mountains, so she and the kids could get a little face time w/ me before i turn into the scary monster known as October Daddy -- whole damn month's halloween when postseason glory is at stake . . . . anyway, i'm not cancelling the trip; a promise is a promise. the weather's going to be glorious, and we're gonna run around in the woods and throw rocks into streams and catch the last warm alpine rays of the year. so i'll only be able to see the last few innings of tonight's game, and i'm gonna miss the whole game tomorrow; if the cards are at risk of elimination sunday, i'll make sure to get in front of a set for the last few frames. The Rev will be on the case sunday anyway, so no impact on the site; as for tonight and tomorrow, i'm just going to post a gaggle of overflow threads ahead of time. the ones that don't fill up, i will delete after the fact.

and let me get a disclaimer out there ahead of time: in the event that my inattentive weekend should coincide with a season-ending winning streak -- should the cardinals suddenly turn into champions and win these last three games 10-0 -- October Daddy will not entertain the suggestion that, for good luck's sake, he should continue to avert his gaze during the playoffs. October Daddy will be in front of the set for every pitch, come what may -- and if that is deemed to be bad for the mojo, the cardinals will just have to find a way to counteract it.

they might begin by using reyes, not marquis, in the playoff rotation . . . . .