Thursday, August 20, 2009

winning's fun 'n stuff

Oh yeah. Every ESPN reporter worth his salt was calling this series against LA an "NLCS preview", and now that we've won it, I feel comfortable agreeing with that assessment. After all, you're talking about two of the best teams in the NL, and I can't begin to express how warm and fuzzy it makes me feel to be able to type that. 


You'll agree that we possess The Best Player in Baseball. There is absolutely no valid argument against this. (In fact, from this point forward, I'll only refer to him as such, and yes, it will be capitalized.) Our second best hitter could go to any other MLB team and be number one, but we'll keep him in the cleanup spot, thank you very much. 

Then there's Luddy and Ank and Raz.... DeRosa and Schu and B-Ryan and Lugo.... And let's not forget the relentless and timely hitting by our All-Star backstop. The most amazing thing about our offense this year, as I am reminded by TLR in the post-game interview, is that there is life after the sixth inning. 

Last year, if we were behind going into the seventh (or even the sixth or fifth), there was little or no hope of pulling one out. Oh sure, it happened now and then, but admittedly, it was rare (and very surprising when it did happen), and you certainly didn't count on it. The team showed less confidence with each passing inning, as though they knew their opportunities were dwindling. 

This year, though, there's hope. There's a twinkle in the eyes of the batters in late innings, and even when the Cards are down to their last out, you can't help but expect great things to happen. 


Adam Wainwright was phenomenal. A no-hitter into the sixth, and now with 11 straight games giving up 2 or fewer ER. Too bad he couldn't get his 15th win, but a team win is what truly counts, and I have no doubt that Adam is perfectly happy with the outcome. 

Ryan Franklin bore the majority of my scorn last year, but I wiped his slate clean during the offseason, and am proud to consider myself among the Frankie supporters. He has been a spark and an anchor for the bullpen, and while last year I would cringe at the thought of relievers coming into a game, this year I have no fear. 

In other news, we signed the amazing John Smoltz today after he cleared waivers from the BoSox (meaning he'll still make a boat-load of money this year, but we won't be responsible for paying most of it), and no matter what happens, you can't see this as anything but a smart move. The possibilities (as I see them) are such: 

(1) We pay him a few dollars, he pitches well and wins a few games for us in the rotation; 

(2) We pay him a few dollars, he pitches terribly and loses one or two games before Tony decides to move him to the 'pen, where he imparts immeasurable wisdom upon the young pitching staff, thereby increasing their individual values; 

(3) We pay him a few dollars, he has a terrible accident with a can-opener and never throws a single pitch as a Cardinal, then spends his free time studying medicine until he eventually finds a cure for cancer; or 

(4) We pay him a few dollars, he pitches a few good games and a few lousy ones, makes virtually no difference in the Cardinals' season, and then disappears into a wardrobe one day, forcing Chipper Jones to speak at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in his absence. 

What do we have to lose? 

Milwaukee got swept by Pittsburg today, but the Cubs were able to salvage one game in their set against the Padres. 

Cards remain 6 games up and move to 16 over .500.