at times like these, i often turn to the online etymology dictionary for guidance and comfort. here's what i find there this morning:
ahhh, the wisdom in words. i feel much better now; you?
i actually do feel better, slightly, about carpenter's elbow. why, it's downright loose and limber. this joint may yet star in its own season-long drama, but for the moment it remains off-stage. stay right there.
interesting launch for the looper experiment. the mets, perhaps as curious as all the rest of us, took a good long look at him the first time through the order, taking a strike nearly as many times as they swung at one --- 10 takes, 12 swings. that's highly unusual. second time through, with the sense of sheer spectacle having abated, the mets became somewhat more active, taking only 7 strikes and swinging at 12; and by the third time around, they had him pretty well pegged --- only took 3 strikes and took a cut at 10. not coincidentally, they were 2 for 9 off him in each of the first two cycles, but 4 for 7 with a walk the final time through. so while it was, officially, a "quality" start --- and unofficially a pretty good one --- it tended to underscore the original doubts about this enterprise. one big question was does he have a broad enough repertoire to manage three trips through a batting order? by the 3d trip, as i've just suggested, the mets had begun to see ball hit ball, so it remains to be proven that loop can keep guys off-balance over 3 or 4 at-bats. the second major question was will he have the stamina? he was at 65 pitches as the 6th inning opened; i haven't looked at mlb.tv to see whether his velocity took a dip. this question, too, awaits its first affirmative evidence.
had the game not gotten so far out of hand, there might have been a lot of discussion about la russa's decision to stick with looper against two lefties --- shawn green and jose valentin --- in the 6th with two on, two out and the score still only 2-0, mets. looper has struggled vs lh batters his whole career; more to the point he was at 85 pitches, far and away his career high, and had retired only 1 of the previous 5 hitters, yielding two singles, a homer, and a walk within that span. the next 7 batters included 5 lefties, plus the pitcher.
tyler johnson, where art thou? (or should it be "wert thou?")
couple possibilities: one, if tony had gone to a lh reliever there, randolph could always have countered with a right-handed bat (franco or milledge) off the bench; maybe tony liked the looper-green matchup better than the putative johnson-milledge confrontation. a second possible consideration is that la russa was simply gathering information about his new starting pitcher. he'll do that sometimes early in a season --- challenge a guy, see how he reacts, find out how far a certain player can be trusted. at this particular point in the game, looper had retired 11 of 13 left-handed batters; perhaps tony wanted to see if he could ride him one more batter down the line.
i'd accept either of the foregoing explanations. if it were me i'dve gone to the bullpen, but (as is usually the case) there's more than one side to the argument. however, if the prime consideration was simply that looper was due to lead off the next inning --- well, that i wouldn't accept. that's a lousy reason. there's an off-day tomorrow, and none of the relievers had thrown more than a handful of pitches since sunday. if that's all you're worried about, pull the double switch and take the guy out.
in the end it mattered not; the cards were already down 2-0, and it might as well have been 20-0 for the way they're swinging that bats. i'd like to shrug it off as only 3 games, but the fact is that the bats have looked weak for more than a month. change is necessary. a final word from etymonline:
so hell, i'm not worried about the cardinals' offense. hornsby'll save them.