The storms that rolled through the area last night have left me temporarily without power. So it is that I find myself up at my parents' house, badly hungover, having taken an ice cold shower before leaving home, and cursing this inquisitorial torture device known as dial up. In short, it's been somewhat less than an ideal morning up to this point. Moving on...
The story of the night, of course, had to be the debut of Joe Mather. A fantastic diving catch to keep the Pirates off the board, another very good running catch in the same inning, and what turned out to be the difference making run in the game. Not a bad night for the kid as it turns out.
Mather's debut continues a season long trend. He becomes the sixth player to make his debut with the Cardinals this year. What's more impressive than that, though, is the amount of success that those players have had. With the exception of Rico Washington, every one of those rookies has come out and exceeded expectations. Whether Mather continues that trend or not remains to be seen, but it's certainly exciting to see so much young talent entering into the fold.
Tangential thought alert: Watching SportsCenter. Highlights of the Cubs' victory yesterday, I'm struck by two thoughts. One, I'm more than a little surprised at just how much it's pissing me off to watch highlights of Jim Edmonds in that jersey. Two, I've stayed away from most news sources to this point, and I may have to continue to do so, because I'm not going to be able to handle hearing the word 'destiny' thrown around in reference to the North Siders. It's beyond disgusting.
Second tangential thought: Highlights of the Celtics-Pistons game on now. Apparently, the Pistons decided the best way to beat the Celtics, and Paul Pierce, would be to just mug the guy nonstop. As much as we complain about the umpires in baseball, they're not even in the same class of incompetence as the referees in the NBA. I'm not a basketball fan, so I rarely have cause to notice, but every time I do watch a game, or even just a highlight reel, I invariably see several missed calls, just as a matter of course. Yikes.
Back to business. Something I found interesting, watching as the bullpenners made the game far more interesting than it should have been, is that there seems to be a growing dichotomy among our relief corps, between the veterans and the kids. It seems, at least for the moment, that the shutdown guys in the pen, the guys we want to see in the games, are all the kids, and the vets are typically the guys who we all fear seeing. Last night, we saw Villone, who did a nice job with his three pitches of the night, and Springer, who gave up a runner but got the job done, and then it got a little iffy. Flores did his usual job, recording a pair of outs but allowing two baserunners, and then Franklin, Mr. Drinking Game himself, allow the Pirates to climb back to within one before finally closing it out.
Third tangential thought: I hate John Kruk. He's now on SC, talking about the Cubs. According to him, if Kerry Wood can stay healthy, the Cubs are going to run away with the division. I have a serious problem with that. The Cubs currently carry the best record in baseball, and yet still the Cardinals are only a game and a half off the pace. How much better do you really expect the Cubs to play? Is a .750 winning percentage at home really sustainable? Oy.
In contrast to the vets, the kids have been nearly unhittable. Perez in particular has just blown the competition away every time out, and McClellan, after struggling very briefly, has come back out and dominated. Even Parisi, who we'll see make the start today, has been outstanding, with the exception of one bad curveball in Los Angeles.
So my discussion fodder today is this: how does everyone feel about the way the bullpen is currently being used and currently constructed? Are you happy with the vets in the roles they're in, or do you want to see the kids used in more late situations? Don't get me wrong, it's not as if Perez or K-Mac are being used just in mop up roles, but I'm just curious to see what everybody thinks about the relief efforts. Should things continue on the way they have been to this point, or would you prefer to see the kids move into even more prominent roles? Or, does it even matter to you? As long as the Cards win, do you care who pitches?
I'm going to program a game thread and an overflow now, as I have no idea when my power, and internet access, are going to be restored, so I'll ask if the other moderators here could keep an eye out to make sure that they launch alright later in the day. Thanks everybody, and have a nice weekend.