So, how's everybody feeling this morning?
Me? Well, I'll tell you. I'm getting awfully damned tired of having to write about deflating losses. Seems like every time I sit down at the 'ole laptop to churn out another post, the Cardinals have just lost a game, usually in some maddening, potentially debilitating way. I'm beginning to think it may, in fact, be a conspiracy against me.
The especially tough thing about last night's loss is that I didn't see it coming. I really didn't. In fact, I actually wrote a preview of the series yesterday over at the Rundown that was positively- dare I say it?- optimistic. I looked at the pitching matchups, and I felt pretty good. The Cards usually knock Sheets around as well as any team in the game, and Wellemeyer has been coming around nicely as of late. I also thought hey, Ryan Braun's still ailing, maybe the Cards can get the best of him for once.
Well, my crystal ball is positively busted.
I certainly took issue with Tony's decision to send Welley back out there with over 100 pitches. With as many off days as the Cardinals have in September, why not take advantage of them? The bullpen was fully rested, yet La Russa chose to send a starter who has had health issues this season back out to pitch another inning with an elevated pitch count. I just don't get it. I'm sure that someone will defend Tony for the decision by citing what the bullpen did when they finally got their chance in the game, and that's fair. I still don't agree with that line of thinking, though. Results be damned. Once again, we see La Russa push a pitcher past where he should reasonably be expected to go, whether it's due to a lack of confidence in the alternatives or simply the 'hero' phenomenon that has been well documented this season by several others around here. I just can't understand the logic here.
Anyhow, it's not important this morning, is it? What is important is that the Cardinals now find themselves standing very, very close to the edge. Four and a half games back of the Brewers for the wild card, tied now with the Metropolitans for second place, with less than 30 games to go. It's certainly still possible for the Cardinals to make the playoffs, of course, but the odds are getting longer and longer all the time.
And so I return to my original question: how do you feel this morning? I opened with it as a bit of a flippant remark, but I also meant it quite sincerely. How does everybody feel about the Cardinals this morning? More importantly, are you starting to consider throwing in the towel?
Many around here, myself most definitely included, have been taking nearly every opportunity to declare the Cards' season over. The slightest bump in the road has elicited cries of "sell, sell!" and laments for our boys in red as they ride on toward the abyss. Myself, I do it largely because one, that just happens to be my nature; I'm always ready to see the bitter romance of the fall, often long before it begins. Two, I do it also, at least a little bit, as a way to try and inoculate myself from the bad times. It almost never works, of course, as I find myself each year hoping for that ten game winning streak with nine games left. Preparing for the worst never seems to ease the sting when the worst comes along.
So, how do we feel today? There are still a handful of days left in August; should Mr. Mo, as he apparently likes to be called, try to swing a deal sending away one of our veteran starters? Is this team still firmly in control of its own destiny, despite what all of those of us so low on faith say?
Sometimes, the numbers and the details just don't matter. What do you think about this Cardinal team we have here, at the end of an August most thought would be utterly meaningless? They've been good and they've been bad. What do they mean to you?
Also, I've got fifty internet dollars to the first person to correctly identify the source of my title today without looking it up. And I'll know if you do, cause I'm magic.