Game 116 Thread / Cardinals @ Cubs (1 of 3)
|SP||Braden Looper||SP||*Ted Lilly|
10-9, 4.29, 65 K, 32 BB, 134.1 IP
|11-6. 4.35, 129 K, 50 BB, 140.2 IP|
|LF||#Vince Coleman||LF||Alfonso Soriano|
|CF||#Willie McGee||SS||Ryan Theriot|
|2B||#Tommy Herr||1B||Derrek Lee|
|1B||Jack Clark||3B||Aramis Ramirez|
|RF||*Andy Van Slyke||RF||*Kosuke Fukudome|
|3B||#Terry Pendleton||C||Geovany Soto|
||Mike Heath||CF||*Jim Edmonds|
|SS||#Ozzie Smith||2B||Mark DeRosa|
|P||*John Tudor||P||*Ted Lilly|
UPDATE: Screw LaRussa, I have to get back to work. Let's see how he does with Mike Heath in the lineup from 1986.
(I'm posting this without a Cardinals batting order. Based on what Bernie Miklasz is reporting here, Tony LaRussa is waiting to see if Rick Ankiel and his strained abdominal muscle are ready to go before he posts the lineup.)
At around 8:45 this morning, I saw a middle-aged couple walking hand-in-hand in downtown Chicago, wearing matching St. Louis Cardinals t-shirts. This reminded me of two things: first, that the Cards were in town to play the Cubs, and second, that middle-aged couples should never wear matching t-shirts.
As for baseball, all of the analysis of the Cards' unexpected success this season has overlooked the obvious—Tony LaRussa and Dave Duncan are witches.
Nevertheless, on Thursday, Brian Gunn, formerly proprietor of the first-rate Redbird Nation blog, picked his favorite team apart in an excellent analysis for The Hardball Times and concluded that the Cards haven't the stuff to catch the Cubs or even hang with the Brewers in the race for the Wild Card spot. A miserable bullpen (an MLB-leading 27 blown saves this season) and a starting staff still beset by injuries will do that to a club.
On Wednesday, John Perrotto at Baseball Prospectus (subscription) wrote about LaRussa's shift into full-blown pennant race mode, wherein the manager says he will be thinking much less about constantly juggling the Cardinals lineup to keep his regulars fresh and his bench guys sharp and thinking much more about simply playing the guys who "play the best." Somehow, this has led Tony La to reinstall Jason Isringhausen—5.98 ERA and just 12/19 in save opportunities—as his closer. (Maybe it's because one of the guys with whom Isringhausen shares the NL Blown Saves lead is Isringhausen's teammate, Ryan Franklin.)
This afternoon, the St. Louis Meritocracy turns to Braden Looper, who dropped a 2-1 decision to the Cubs and Carlos Zambrano back on the Fourth of July. The Cubs, who have split six games with St. Louis this season, all of them played at Busch, hand the ball to Ted Lilly, who has a victory and an ND against the Cardinals in '08.
Separately, Lou Piniellia, who might have skipped Jason Marquis's turn in the starting rotation in light of Monday's off day, is now saying that Marquis will, in fact, take his regular turn Wednesday at Atlanta. Rich Harden will pitch the series opener against the Braves on Tuesday with Lilly going Thursday.