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An Aaron Miles Fixed-Verse Spectacular

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UTILITY INFIELD LOVER—

A baseball team without utility
is sandpaper worn smooth by stathead cries;
slide rules and spreadsheets warn putatively
that on this side replacement level lies.
But I've a new split in life's great fangraphs—
math major's terror, a science of art;
final affront to statistical satraps,
my new creation: an xFIP of heart.
Take innings played and divide it by two,
add grit and hustle, subtract cheers from scouts;
garnish our twenty-five plates of man stew,
offer to bunt when the game's been blown out.

Though "Do without!" is what GM Mo says,
things weren't the same with Felipe Lopez.

UTILITY INFIELDER BELOVED—

Time's mitt exceeds NL regulations
and no one's yet held fast to his webbing.
Aging infielders, men without nations,
grounders to short, utilities ebbing.
I am that grounder, one hop up the middle,
the third out of some cosmic ninth inning,
and you a pebble, the shortstop's riddle,
my service time's final beginning.
Retired in Chicago and paid as a Red,
these Redbirds reminders of my useful past,
I play out the string with Time's words in my head:
"An E6 today's a delay that can't last."

With one out remaining, retirement stayed—
with you in speed-dial I'll always be paid.

The rest of baseball kicked and screamed through last night, but the Cardinals game was an ideal affair. For all Chris Carpenter's perceived laboring he's on pace, per ESPN, to go 21-3 with a 2.76 ERA. His strikeout to walk ratio is a step down from Perfect Carpenter but, at 3.7, above the likes of mere mortals, and his worrisome home run count has started to moderate. His strikeout rate is high as ever—perhaps he's changed the way he pitches badly

Meanwhile, the Cardinals continue to hit, including the question marks. Brendan Ryan's gift triple nearly completed the process of turning his horrifying pitcher-line into something that resembles a really bad hitter's season—.211/.291/.316 is, in fact (and finally), the second-worst season of his career, after the lost 2008 that facilitated his surprise 2009. Matt Holliday's sixth home run brings his season projection all the way to... 18, so we're still a ways from full-on Warren Harding normalcy. 

The only other real projection concern, as the Cardinals get a third of the way through their season and briefly make projecting really easy, is something you're likely to hear about from Al Hrabosky over the course of the next several weeks: Colby Rasmus's 178 strikeouts. Ready for a meaningless stat? 178 would leave Colby Rasmus second on the all-time single-season strikeout list for center fielders, behind our friend Preston Wilson (187) in 2000. It would also leave him out of the top ten; the top seven belong to active players, two each for Reynolds, Howard, and Dunn, and one for Jack Cust. I'll take 178 strikeouts if he also ends up with the projected 87 walks and 25 home runs.  

So the Cardinals reach their off-day doing the Tony La Russa-approved sensible thing: winning two games out of three, and against the division leaders. Today, a little more doggerel:

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Aaron's Miles: A Clerihew Cycle

Ray King,
ex-G-U-B fling,
wore out his good graces
and found pitcher-unfriendly places.

Larry Bigbie,
like Eleanor Rigby,
lost-and-forgotten
friend of the rotten.

Mark Grudzielanek
a spell-checker's tonic,
he left in 05.
Jock: "He's too old to drive."

(Aaron Miles's
time-earning styleses—
stay in the back,
watch for keystone-time slack.)

Ronnie Belliard's
late-season disregard
for Aaron Miles's status quo
worked better than Jose Vizcaino.

(O Aaron Miles!
Lesser Russophiles
would Belliard hate,
but he just lay in wait.)

Adam Kennedy's
fan popularity
when he wasn't earning Edmond
was like Cupertino's in Redmond

(Aaron F. Miles!
His La Russian wiles
paid off like The Prince
after Kennedy's wince.

The Chicago Cubs
sensing paystubs,
Miles hunted the division
on a wallet-based decision.)

Tony L.R.—
after passing the bar—
could persuade Mo, heaven save us,
to sign up Miles Davis.