Sunday, August 24, 2008

putting it behind us

I knew it... 

It's all my fault. 

Baseball is a game of jinxes and superstitions and I ignored my better judgment and made a comment (temped fate, really) that I had no business making. 

 Ah, well. 31 more games. It ain't over 'til it's over, right? 

If you ever question hustle or wonder why Schu feels it's necessary to slide into first; if you ever defend players who strut out of the box or turn off their burners halfway down the line, all you need do is remember this game. 

Ninth inning, two on and two out for the Braves who are on top by one, and Russ Springer gets Martin Prado to ground one to second. 

A routine play? Sure. An easy out? Not necessarily. 

Albert had been playing deep and Lopez (at second) took what turned out to be a split second too long getting rid of the ball. Prado was safe, loading the bases. 

Now while we, as Cardinals fans, may find it easier to blame Lopez rather than Albert, or concede that we lost because of our own mental errors rather than because the other team played better, you have to give a lot of credit to Prado. 

He never gave up on it. He hustled down the line like he had gotten one past the infielders and actually had a chance. Anyone watching the play develop would have turned away from the tv (kind of like I did) and assumed the inning was over. But they would have been surprised (much as I was) when they glanced back up to see Prado standing at first and the replays showing a distraught second-baseman who had just saddled Springer with a slightly heavier load. 

Later, Lopez defended himself saying he was waiting for Albert to get back to the bag, and Albert apparently had nothing to say. But does any of that really matter? Does it make any difference whose fault it was? Was this the play (or misplay, rather) that decided the game? Can the Redbirds afford to let this one game, this one loss, this one mistake define the rest of the season? 

Of course not. If there's one thing, though, that the 'Birds have excelled at this year, it's bouncing back. They have turned moving on into an art form. They have suffered some of the most heart-wrenching defeats known to man (see: 20-2 vs Philly), and they have come back the next game ready to play (see: won the next two in that series). 

All year they have shown moxy and grit and heart and determination, and it's going to take a lot more than one little game against the Braves to slow them down. I don't think we have reason to worry, Cards' fans, but you didn't hear that from me. 

Speaking of Felipe Lopez, had a nice article about him (and about the club). He's been a very nice addition to the team since his arrival at the beginning of the month. He's batting .327 with the Cardinals (on-base .400 and slugging .449), with 2 doubles, 2 triples, and 3 RBI. He has stolen base three times (never been caught). He's also fielding well. He's played 48-1/3 innings at second, 14 at third, 15 at short, and 28-2/3 in left field. He doesn't have any errors (at any position), and combined he has 9 put outs and 29 assists. (