It’s A Win-Win Situation

Attaway, Birds! Just when I was grumbling that we had left Supe in the game too long, the Brewers went and exchanged one waning pitcher for another. And as it turned out, Shouse really wanted us to pull out today’s game. How generous and what excellent timing! (OK. Jokes aside, the boys did really well at capitalizing on mistakes in the zone (and out, as in the case of Juan garnering a basesloading walk) and working to just get on base in the 8th. The stage was perfectly set for Spiezio who delivered in the clutch. Now THAT’S Cardinals baseball.)

So now, we’ve done what we needed to do today and so the rest is up to Atlanta. I’m not going to grease their wheels by saying it is a mutually advantageous event should they beat the Astros tonight, because, well, the truth is, as far as we’re concerned, it’s clearly a we’ll scratch our backs if you’ll scratch our backs, too, kind of situation.

But, if I know the Braves, there is that little matter of personal pride. This is the first season in quite some time that they are not scheduled for the post season. So I’m hoping for a little spite-laced play from the Bravos this evening. You know, I want them to go up against Houston with a "If we’re going down, we’re taking you with us" mentality.

So that being said… We’ve won our game, so, come on Hotlanta, how ’bout winning yours.

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Two For The Price Of One

All we did was win one game and we cut our Magic Number in half. Many many thanks to our new best friends, the Braves, for knocking the ‘Stros down a rung and slicing our Magic Number to two.

Painfully, we West Coasters won’t be able to watch tomorrow’s game (I don’t think) because it falls before the designated 4p deadline for Saturday games that are aired on both the MLB and MLB.com packages. I’m hoping the Cards can get along without us because what we need tomorrow is a repeat of today’s events.

The best case scenario for the Redbirds is for Atlanta to take another game out from under Houston and for St. Louis to defeat the Brew Crew once again. Those two victories will clinch the NL Central title for the Cardinals which– aside from earning us another post-season berth– will take Carpenter off the hook for the regular season and keep him fresh for game one of the Pennant Playoffs.

I’m ready for October… Are you?

Let The Pains Begin

So much for Jason Marquis bringing his A-game into tonight’s matchup. Uggh.

However, Marquis was up against an equally craptastic counterpart in the Brewers’ excuse for a hurler who was/is also slinging ineffective pitches at the plate. So I can’t help but wonder why WE aren’t sitting on four or five runs as well.

Offense, boys. We need offense.

And while I continue to sit here baffled by our current state of affairs, I can’t help but ask: Why is Encarnacion in the game? Where is Jim Edmonds, Chris Duncan, Scott Spiezio or Skip Schumacher for that matter? What on earth possessed Aaron Miles to throw the ball with the runner already safe at first? Did we think we could win this game without our best starting nine (plus or minus X) out on the field? And lastly, can we blame the Brew Crew for hitting everything they can to right field? (After all, it’s not as if our weak link out there is an ancient Chinese secret.)

Finding That Winning Combination

What a win! And it couldn’t have come at a better time. (Now, if only those rascally Astros would take a lump or two.)

Last night’s Cardinals lineup was the best we’ve sported in weeks… and it got a notch better when we brought Bennett in. I hope Tony throws out something similar tonight. (Read: Please keep Encarnacion on the bench and Miles & Belliard on the field. Unless, of course, X is ready to go.)

Of course, Alberts big hit was a saving grace, but I dare say the two men on base in front of him were the biggest factors. Without them waiting for their ticket home, Albert swats a solo homer and we’re but tied. As it was, however, we took the lead and held on for dear life. Well, friends, our life raft is mercifully still afloat.

I don’t mean to look outside our circle for help– after all, we can only ever hope to control our own actions– but it would really be nice if the Braves went on a winning spree right about now. I tell you what, the situation surrounding the several scenarios of a two- or three-way tie are just plain crummy. It would really behoove our playoff progress if we didn’t have to play through Wednesday (in the case of a three-way tie) or use Carpenter in any capacity before heading into the pennant race (which would happen if our regular season goes any further than Sunday). A couple more wins on our part and a handful of loses for Houston would really do a body good.

So, on that note: Tonight’s a good night to hit the field with your A-game, Jason. Let’s see some life in those Cardinals bats. And GO BRAVES!

How Low Can We Go?

ppffffttt!

That’s pretty much all I have to say about tonight’s game and, well, for this series against the Astros in general.

All except for one question: Wasn’t there a time when a batter had to make an effort to get out of the way of a ball in order to be granted first base on a hit-by-pitch? At least, say, turn his back on the pitch? Burke was attempting to check his swing when he got plunked on his back elbow by Marquis in the first inning– meaning he was coming into the pitch, not moving away from it. Stuff like that is irritating… particularly when it loads the bases.

Thanks to the fellas for making a game of it. One of these days we’ll figure out how to finish one off in our favor. I dare say (or at least hope) that we may be down, but we aren’t out.

Weaver vs. Clemens, eh? It seems, this go ’round, the starters are really the least of our worries. So indulge me as I try to put a little mojo on the mound for Kinney, Johnson, Wainwright, Flores, Looper, Johnson & Sosa.

Any win will do. Go Cards!

Close(r) Call

Losing Isringhausen for the seasson didn’t (and still doesn’t) concern me. But our choice of replacement does. Nothing against Looper or Wainwright– I’m a big fan of both those guys. But I’d love to see Jorge Sosa taking the closing role. He throws a solid 90+mph with options. We haven’t shown him off too much so I don’t think too many teams have gotten a good look at him yet, either. I think he’s capable of coming in and hammering the nails in a losing team’s coffin. And, on the other side of that coin– as has been evidenced the last few nights– we really need the reliable arms of Braden and Adam earlier in the game.

Tony, if you’re out there reading, I hope you’ll give this setup a try. After all, at the rate we’re going, it couldn’t hurt and, who knows, it just might help.

Go get ’em tomorrow, Birds!

P.S. Welcome back to David Eckstein. A homerun to start off the game?! What a return, indeed. And, wishing Jason Marquis a quick recovery.

P.P.S. Ronnie Belliard has been my favorite acquisition of the season. Everyday he does something to prove his worth and earn his wings as a Cardinal. I love the way he plays and can certainly appreciate his bat. Go, Ronnie, go!