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Game Nine Open thread

Wagonmaker Maholm
1-0, 1.29 0-1, 7.20

That was some ride last night, eh? I stopped watching that partway through the eighth inning--my ride showed up, and the game felt just like so many that we've been forced to slog through this season, already--a decent, but unexpected, performance from a starter, complemented by almost no offense--Aaron Miles was the teams' offensive leader until Spezio tied it up. As Alex Fritz said in last night's game thread, that was "just mean" to the Pirates, having us win like that. I'll take the win, though.

Also in last night's game thread, poster Icky thump predicted Kiesler's line from last night. As far as predictions go, not half bad Also, congrats on your return to the majors, Randy. That start looked largely like smoke and mirrors to me--lots of terrifying flyballs, and out of location, half-breaking, 82 mph sliders, but once again, I'll take the results.

Of course, the crazy thing with the team thus far has been the insane slump that Pujols (2007 OPS: .598) and Rolen (.596) Have had to start out the season. Let's look at some other Cardinal tandems that have started the season out with a horrible April. The system only allows us to find month splits going back to 1999, so i took a look at Cardinal teams from 2007 to 1999 where two of the top three of the most feared hitters on the team had a .250 or below average.

Players Season AB HR AVG OBP SLG
Pujols/Rolen 2007 56 2 .178 .245 .339
McGwire/Lankford 2001 87 5 .195 .320 .471
McGwire/Drew 1999 121 7 .231 .363 .488

Now, obviously, 1999 McGwire went on to have one hell of a season, so that's a bit of a consolation. Of course, 1999 McGwire/Drew also struggled quite a bit less than 2007 Pujols/Rolen. It should also be noted that 1999 was JD's rookie season, so perhaps it makes sense that he had to ease his way into the league (though there was little indication of an "easing in" in his 1998 September callup).

2001 McGwire was on the way to what I call his "FrankenSeason": he ended the year with 29 HR (more HR than his 26 singles) and a .187 batting average. Lankford was also clearly on the decline by 2001, and might not have been considered one of the teams' three best hitters by the time the 2001 season began, being supplanted by Rentería and Drew. He did end the season with an OPS+ well above 100, but was traded away to get Woody.

The other terrifying thing is that our current start looks way worse than the other two. For now, I'm going to go with the mantra that this really doesn't mean all that much, as April is only halfway finished--really, the best indication is that I could only find three starts this slow, so it's probably the case that it's really hard for two all-star quality players to maintain this poor of a start for a season. We should see Albert and Scottie improve for April, much less on the season.

Or the team is truly toast. But there's no reason to believe that. Yet.