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Season's Over, Folks.

I've got the hiccups this morning. It's really, really beginning to piss me off. I've tried every folk remedy I can think of. I've tried holding my breath, drinking water in a variety of odd ways, sugar, bourbon, and at least five other more arcane actions that I'd rather not discuss in a public forum. Nothing's working so far. However, I have come up with a potential plan of action. Since nothing else is working, I'm now considering setting myself on fire. A little unorthodox, I know, but I'm pretty sure it'll take care of the problem.

Is anybody else beginning to get the opposite feeling when Braden Looper takes the mound that we're increasingly getting every time Welley goes out there? It's really strange. It used to be that we were terrified when we saw the Colonel on the mound; now I feel like we've got an excellent chance to win every game he starts. Looper, on the other hand, gives me the feeling that the Cards had better score eight runs, because he's not holding the opposition down.

Actually, that's probably not quite fair to Looper. He wasn't completely horrible last night. He struck out seven batters, he didn't walk anyone, and he kept the ball in the park. He should have had a really nice night. Unfortunately, the defense behind him was less than airtight. That play by Izturis, when he threw the ball away on a pretty sure double play, was a back breaker. Instead of a runner on third with two outs, you get two runs driven in, a man on third, and nobody out. That's tough for any pitcher to come out of unscathed, much less than one who was throwing a lot of line drives in the first couple of innings.

You know what, though? It still doesn't change the fact that I get a distinct sinking feeling whenever I see Looper's name in the game preview. I just don't feel good about him on the mound anymore. He doesn't seem to have a real out pitch; both his slider and splitter seem to generate fairly weak contact when they're on, yes, but neither seems to get many swings and misses. His fastball isn't a real weapon anymore either. He's definitely still got the guts and the heart, but I just don't see a whole lot from Braden that impresses me in terms of repertoire anymore.

Great to see Mitchell Boggs make his debut last night. I think Parisi makes a nice long reliever, but he just simply doesn't have the stuff to start. Boggs, on the other hand, I think may just have the stuff to make a good starter down the road. For now, I like seeing him get some low pressure, long relief innings. He gets his feet wet, without being thrown right into the fire. I worry a little bit about him being forced into taking Pineiro's next scheduled start, though. If he fails miserably, what does that do to his confidence? I don't think Parisi is a huge part of this team's future; Boggs very well could be. If he gets shelled and falls apart, the Cardinals could end up really, really regretting it. Still. I love the kid's demeanor on the mound, and he's definitely got the stuff. He was bringing serious heat last night, sitting between 92 and 95mph all night long. He has nice sink on that fastball too, and the Houston hitters just weren't squaring him up very well. He did throw one really bad pitch, a fastball at 94 that just sort of sat there for Geoff Blum to whack into the stands. Still, it was a very impressive debut from a pitcher who has just seemed to get better and better until he's finally here.

Oh well, enough about that game. I'm seriously short on time, (and, honestly, ideas) this morning, so let's move on.

The biggest news at the moment is the health of Todd Wellemeyer's elbow. We all howled the other day when he was pulled from the first game of the split doubleheader with only 79 pitches, seeing as how he was just cruising along. Turns out, of course, that he's apparently having elbow discomfort. We won't know for a while how serious it is, but it's always a concern when a pitcher goes down with any sort of issue in a joint. So I was sort of thinking about what would happen to the rotation if the Colonel is, indeed, out for any significant period of time, and I think it's pretty likely that the whole thing just collapses in on itself like a dying star.

And so it led me to today's discussion topic: we all know, of course, that if Albert's elbow pops, the season is pretty much over. My question is this: are there any other players on this team you feel that way about? Is there another player you just think the team cannot function without?

Here's the question: what one player could get hurt and you just say, "The season's over?" Again, we're ignoring Albert; we all know if he goes down we should just pack it in. But what other player is there that this team just can't make it without?

Discuss, guys. I've got to go. Take care of yourselves. And if you don't hear from me again, you'll at least know that I did manage to cure my hiccups.