after a news-filled day, the baseball game comes almost as an anticlimax. here's a blog post by derrick goold with everything you wanted to know about rick ankiel's return to the big leagues; here's a link to the post-dispatch's coverage of scott spiezio's substance-abuse problem.
tonight's contest marks the completion of cycle #2 of the wainwright-looper-reyes-wells-piniero rotation. in the 9 games of its existence, that rotation has compiled a 3-3 record and 4.39 era, which is pretty good by current standards. more impressive, it has produced 6 outings that lasted at least 6 full innings --- including the last 4 in a row. if pinierio lasts that long tonight, it will mark the first complete rotation cycle of 6-inning starts since --- are you ready? --- april 9 through 15, 2007. that's the only time it has happened all year, and it doesn't really count as a full rotation cycle because only 4 starting pitchers went to the hill --- reyes' turn in the rotation got skipped, and kip wells pitched twice. the last time 5 different cardinal starters lasted 6 innings or more in consecutive starts was --- you won't believe this --- may 29 through june 3, 2006. the starters were marquis, reyes, suppan, ponson, and mulder; carpenter was on the dl. in the last of those 5 games, albert pujols strained his oblique and joined carpenter in sickbay. . . . . be careful out there tonight, albert.
hat tip to the Day by Day Database's starting pitcher log for those factoids.
the brewers are off today, so a win would leave the cardinals 5.5 games out of first place. they haven't been that close to the lead since june 13.