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Game 44 Open Thread: May 24, 2007, 12:10 pm CDT

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ah, the nl central: such a silly little division. here are the standings since may 9, right before the cardinals embarked upon their 2-7 trip to socal and detroit:

W L PCT GB
hou 5 6 .455 ---
stl 4 7 .364 1
chi 4 7 .364 1
mil 4 8 .364 1.5
pitt 4 8 .364 1.5
cin 3 9 .250 2.5

that's right, folks: during one of their most discouraging stretches of play in this century, st louis lost ground to only one team in the division --- and only 1 game, at that. this is not a fluke. here are the nl central standings over each team's last 162 games:

W L PCT GB
mil 80 82 .494 ---
hou 79 83 .488 1
stl 74 88 .457 6
pitt 72 90 .444 8
cin 72 90 .444 8
chi 69 93 .426 11

this reminds me of one of those municipal races in which every one of the candidates sizes up his/her opponents and smiles inwardly: what a bunch of mediocrities. how can i possibly lose? my apologies to any of you who happen to be municipal officeholders --- but if you are one, as long as i have your attention could you please see to it that my g*ddamn alley gets paved? . . .. um, uh-oh waitaminute i just remembered something: my brother ran for his township council last year. and i have a cousin who served three terms on his local school board. and my wife sits on our city's Parks and Rec board . . . . . okay, so this metaphor doesn't apply to every municipal race across america. only to some of them.

i happen to think the brewers are pretty good this year, and the cubs are probably better than their record; that said, it wouldn't take much for the cardinals to get back into striking position. for all the disasters that have befallen them this spring, they're only 6 games out in the loss column as of this morning --- not exactly light-years behind. with a win this afternoon, they can get their record since josh hancock was buried back to .500.

but let's not get ahead of ourselves. one game at a time; they've got a long way to come back.

edmonds' power stroke returned from the dead last night, the single most encouraging event since --- well, since his other 2007 homer, which occurred one month and one day ago. but last night's was different than the jet-stream-blown shot he launched at wrigley: he yanked this one high and deep to right, his first extra-base hit to right field since last season. i've been waiting to see that . . . . no, to tell the truth i quit waiting a few weeks ago. i had given up. but then, i gave up on jimmy last year 'round about july 1; he hit 9 homers that month. in the midst of the streak, i got kinda gushy-crushy on edmonds, as even the most macho of us will do from time to time:

damn, but it's good to have edmonds back. it's as if he did more or less the same thing as clemens -- took the first three months of the season off to conserve finite physical resources. . . . . it's not just that his stats are better -- he looks like a great player again. all three of his homers this month came off that trademark edmonds uppercut, where he reaches out and paddles the ball high and deep to right field -- like a tennis player yanking a cross-court backhand. he's taking his full rip again. i figured that we'd never see that swing again . . . . it's as if we've been working with the demo-only version of edmonds, with all the more robust features disabled. then suddenly the disk arrives in the mail and you load it in, and you find out the program can do all this stuff you never realized it was capable of.
i gave up on edmonds again right before the playoffs, when (battling post-concussion syndrome) he struck out in 8 of his 15 september at-bats; but in october he scored 8 runs and knocked in a team-best 10. he'll never be the player he was, but maybe --- maybe --- he's not entirely washed up.

since he called out the team on may 13, after the cards' lifeless 3-0 loss to padres rookie justin germano, edmonds is hitting .300 / .417 / .500 --- it's only a 9-game split, but it's so nice to see such gaudy numbers that i couldn't resist. in fact, what the hell --- here are 9-game splits for most of the team, juxtaposed against the 34-game splits they opened the season with. "OPS diff" lists the differential in each player's OPS, pre and post may 13:

through 5/13 since 5/13 OPS diff
eckstein .207 / .282 / .234 .500 / .516 / .633 +633
edmonds .208 / .274 / .264 .300 / .417 / .500 +379
molina .264 / .337 / .310 .400 / .444 / .560 +357
duncan .284 / .371/ .474 .333 / .355/ .800 +310
pujols .248 / .347 / .426 .382 / .462 / .559 +248
rightfielders .198 / .255 / .275 .324 / .361 / .353 +184
rolen .204 / .283 / .306 .250 / .364 / .357 +132
TEAM .234 / .301 / .322 .323 / .374 / .467 +218

yeah yeah yeah; it's only 9 games, a random blip. to a man dying of hunger, one crumb of bread seems like a whole loaf; in the nl central, one crumb can be worth a few games in the standings. it's how you survive in this silly ol' division --- one crumb at a time.

gorzelanny

looper

5-2, 2.43

5-3, 3.27

GAME TIME 12:10 CDT