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what's left to root for

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nifty way to wrap up the home schedule. after shelling brad lidge for 5 runs back on april 8 in their first crack at him for 2007, the cardinals had gone just 1 for 17 against him --- until last night. albert pujols reached base all four times he faced lidge this year ---- once on an error, twice on walks, and last night on an rbi single.

with the victory, the '07 cardinals ensured that they won't stand alone as the worst of la russa's 12 st louis teams; they're now tied with the 1997 cardinals at 73 wins and can pass them with just one more W. with 3 more victories, they'll also pass the '99 team; those were senor tony's only sub-.500 finishes in st louis before this season. a few other ignoble deeds remain to be avoided, however:

1. with 7 games to play, the cardinals have allowed 795 runs. the worst runs-allowed total in franchise history belongs to the 1999 cardinals, at 838. they need to hold their opponents to 43 runs or fewer this week to avoid becoming the most scored-upon cardinal team of all time. in their average 7-game segment this year, they've allowed 36 runs; could be a close call. the cards have allowed more than 43 runs in 2 of their last 4 segments of 7 games --- the totals (working backwards) are 52, 32, 45, and 30. here are the worst runs-allowed totals in franchise history:

yr runs nl
rank
1999 838 11th / 16
1912 830 7th / 8
1922 819 7th / 8
1929 806 5th / 8
2007 795 12th / 16

2. last night's win left the cards' run differential at negative 105 --- 690 runs scored, 795 runs allowed. the last cardinal team to get outscored by 100 runs or more was the 1955 squad, which scored 654 and gave up 757. as it currently stands, the 2007 cardinals' run differential is the worst of the last 91 years; the last team to get outscored by more than 105 was the 1916 team managed by miller huggins (-153). that was rogers hornsby's rookie year. the worst marks since then:

yr runs opp
runs
diff w-l pl
1916 476 629 -153 60-93 7th
1955 654 757 -103 68-86 7th
1990 599 698 -99 70-92 6th
1995 563 658 -95 62-81 4th
1919 463 552 -89 54-83 7th

you might have noticed that three of those years --- 1955, 1990, and 1995 --- marked the end of a managerial regime (eddie stanky, whitey herzog, and joe torre, respectively). just sayin' . . . . .

3. the 1916 team also was the last cardinal team to lead the league in negative run differential. the 2007 cardinals still might achieve that; they're tied for 3d place at the moment in a breathless competition:

runs opp
runs
diff
was 636 750 -114
pgh 704 813 -109
fla 758 863 -105
stl 690 795 -105
hou 696 790 -94

this year's group didn't quit, and they managed to hold our interest well into september; for that, we should admire them. but the bottom line doesn't lie: it's one of the worst cardinal teams in a long, long time. we ought to keep that in mind when discussing what sort of personnel moves are in order next season.

read elsewhere dept.: