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september playing time

well, sports fans, we have had the questions we've been asking all september (and longer) answered.

q: how long do we have to watch corey patterson and ryan theriot before adron chambers and tyler greene get a chance to play? 

a: an extra inning game with the bench pretty well spent, shortly after corey patterson drops a ball to allow the tying run.

consider the following: in september (prior to last night), adron chambers had 1 PA, tyler greene 0, tony cruz 0, shane robinson 5, corey patterson 7, ryan theriot 10, gerald laird 10, nick punto 10, allen craig 13, daniel descalso 25, skip schumaker 40.

rafael furcal leads the september cards with 57 PAs.

now, the furcal thing is obvious - they're auditioning him for a return in 2012, which is probably a good thing, given the paucity of options on the free agent market and a relative lack of obvious trading partners for shortstops.

still, why are we playing laird over his younger, cheaper doppelganger tony cruz? if cruz is the option for next year, why has he seen nary an appearance in september? i understand they've been working yadi hard because of the race, but they still found time for laird.

why are we giving PAs to baseball nonentities ryan theriot and skip schumaker, when we have other infield options?

why are we quasi-platooning david freese with daniel descalso at third while matt carpenter catches up on watching "Treme" on DVD?

why does mitch boggs have 2 appearances to 6 for arthur rhodes and 8 for kyle mcclellan? certainly not because either of them is a better reliever than mitch.

despite one of tony la russa's stranger months of managing decisions, even for him, the cardinals are more or less back in the race for the wild card at 3.5 games back, and less, the central division, at 5.5 games back.

now, as much as i like to pile on corey patterson, i will say his error last night looked like one a lot of guys wouldn't reach. it was so close to the line that i had to watch the replay to make sure it wouldn't have been a foul ball if he hadn't touched it. patterson is still, generally, a pretty rangy guy. he just fails to make up for his enormous offensive shortcomings with his glove. 

on the other hand, i don't think a struggling player does himself any help with backhanded humility like this:

"A lot of guys may not get to that ball. But, for me, I've got to catch that ball," said Patterson, who had the ball pop from the palm of his glove. "I just dropped it. I may have gotten to it a little quicker than I thought."

taking the time to compliment yourself by saying, even truthfully, that a lot of players may not get to the ball, when you DROPPED the ball, is probably bad form. gilding your own fielding error lily by saying that your problem may be that you're TOO FAST is just ridiculous. also, factually inaccurate. he didn't over-run the ball. it hit in his glove. the only problem was that he couldn't actually hold on to it.

corey, save the self-complimentary rhetoric for when you actually catch the ball.

* * * 

our september success has been accompanied, not surprisingly, by a sudden jump in our pitching performance. all season, our pitching has been the primary element holding our team back. of our five starters, only carpenter has an FIP or ERA over 3.25 for the month. we are third in the majors for starter FIP in september. that's not a sustainable trend, but we'll take our flukish pitching performances where we find them.