That was a nice start last night by Thompson. I think everyone here is happy that Kippers was the one that was demoted and not him. I was a little worried watching him as he went late into the game, however. It really seemed like he was beginning to lose the sink on his sinkerball. Against the hapless Royals offense, it didn't really seem to matter--even though he allowed a double and a run in the 7th, he managed the game, and kept on getting the groundouts and double plays that he needed (both the 6th and 7th ended on double plays). I do have some concern about whether or not he'll be able to get away with this against the Phillies or the Mets, but I guess I'll be worried about this a lot less than my previous concern about whether or not Kippersley is capable of throwing a strike when he has runners behind him on second or third.
That being said, his sinker looked better last night than I've seen it since he was originally called up. If Carp, Mulder and Okha all make the team, and WonderBrad keeps on flashing the stuff he showed last night, I can see him besting his 2005 numbers out of the `pen. He really only has one good pitch, but it has such a unique motion to it, it's really all he needs. At this point, my only concern is that he gets overexposed while he's starting in our all-injury and retreads, all the time rotation.
And this gets me to a trend that I've been seeing in the comment threads and the diaries lately. The team actually, to me, seems to be playing a lot more solidly than they were a month ago--the offense is scoring, and the overworked bullpen is holding relatively steady. The hole of the team is its starting pitching, and there is help coming in the relative short term in the form of Carp, Mulder and Okha (who starts tonight in Round Rock--I'm currently trying to figure out if I can get to that game). Percival, after that first rough outing, is looking increasingly solid, and Kip Wells has finally, FINALLY been demoted to the bullpen. After the all-star break, the pitching staff will look very, very different, and will look decidedly better. Despite all of this, I've been seeing a very harsh tone toward the team and toward Jocketty and the ownership. I just really don't understand why the negativity is hitting a peak now, rather than two months ago, when the team was truly looking hapless.
If they can get back to .500 before the all-star break, anything can happen in the second half, as the new, recharged 2007 Cardinals come back. Long ago, I tried to push Uncle Tupelo's "The Long Cut" as the thematic song for the 2006 Cardinals. In retrospect, it seemed to work out. This year, I'm hoping their slow early pace, and their (hopefully) rapid later pace will make the team's theme song be something like "Bohemian Rhapsody."
Though I refuse to love the Cardinals and then leave them to die.