Tag Archive | "Ryan Franklin"

Edward Mujica eerily similar to Ryan Franklin for St. Louis Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals entered the 2009 playoffs with a closer who barely reached 90 mph with his fastball after years of a closer who threw in the mid-to-upper 90s yet had a nearly perfect season before the Cardinals faced the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Division Series.

EdwardMujica

Ryan Franklin had replaced Jason Isringhausen when Izzy got hurt, or got too ineffective, late in the 2008 season and saved 38 games in 43 opportunities.

The situation at the back end of the Cardinals’ bullpen four years later is nearly exactly the same. The Cardinals lost their flame-throwing closer, Jason Motte, to elbow surgery during spring training and eventually gave the ninth-inning job to Edward Mujica late in April.

Mujica’s fastball tops out around 91 mph, but as was the case with Franklin, he has masterfully induced dozens upon dozens of groundballs on the way to 37 saves in 41 chances with nine games left in the regular season.

And the Cardinals are set up to again play the Dodgers in the National League Division Series if they hold on to win the NL Central over the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds.

The last time the Cardinals and Dodgers met in the division series is when Franklin’s almost magical run came to an end and never returned.

Dodgers first baseman James Loney hit a line drive to left field in Game 2 that Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday dropped. Franklin then walked two hitters and gave up two singles, the final one to pinch hitter Mark Loretta to give the Dodgers a 3-2 win and a 2-0 lead in the series that ended in a sweep two days later.

That playoff series was the beginning of the end for Franklin, who had been an All-Star in 2009. He saved 27 games in 2010 but he blew four of his first five save opportunities in 2011 and did not make it to the end of June before the Cardinals released him.

Obviously, the Cardinals hope the matchup against the Dodgers ends a little differently this time around, but the lesson from 2009 is clear. Mujica has been terrific for the Cardinals so far this season, but he is not an overpowering pitcher and not a long-term answer for the team at the closer position.

Thankfully, the Cardinals have a more solid backup option this time than they did two season ago, even though it is the same person.

The Cardinals tried seven different pitchers in the ninth inning in 2011 before manager Tony La Russa settled on Motte in September. Motte saved nine games in the regular season, closed out the National League Championship Series against the Milwaukee Brewers and the World Series against the Texas Rangers, but he had a total of three career saves before that season.

Motte now has a world championship ring and 54 career saves to his name, and manager Mike Matheny will likely give him every possible chance to take back the job when he returns healthy to spring training in 2014.

Until then, Mujica has a lot of work to do, and he has shown some weaknesses lately. After he converted 21 consecutive save chances to start the season and was a perfect 9-for-9 from July 19 through Aug. 26, Mujica has blown two of his four save chances in September and has given up 12 hits in his last 6.1 innings.

Mujica is one of the biggest reasons the Cardinals are in a solid position to make the playoffs, but the team will need more of his first-half performances than his September outings if it is going to beat the Dodgers this time around.

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St. Louis Cardinals will be fine, maybe better, without Jake Westbrook

The St. Louis Cardinals have used 10 different starting pitchers in the first four-and-a-half months of the 2013 season, and they will now likely have to play the rest of the season without Jake Westbrook, who started the pitching carousel when he originally went on the disabled list in May with elbow inflammation.

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However, the Cardinals have shown they can withstand injuries to just about any position outside of catcher, where Yadier Molina has an incredibly large influence on the team, and they should be able to make it through the rest of the season and playoffs without Westbrook.

In fact, there’s a decent chance they could be better.

Westbrook has been the Cardinals worst starter by far in the second half of the season. He won his first two starts after the All-Star Break, but then the proverbial wheels fell off. Westbrook allowed 28 runs in his next five starts, all of them losses except the final game against the Milwaukee Brewers when the Cardinals won 8-6 even though Westbrook nearly gave up a 7-0 lead in fewer than five innings.

Now Westbrook is on the disabled list again, this time with a back injury that could keep him out for the rest of the season and end his career with the Cardinals, because his contract has a mutual option for 2014 the Cardinals might not pick up.

Westbrook’s injury is not nearly as blatant of an excuse to remove a struggling pitcher as when Jason Isringhausen supposedly injured his pitching hand in 2008 by punching a television in the clubhouse, but it could have similarly unexpected, positive consequences.

Isringhausen had struggled to a 5.70 earned-run average with just 12 saves through 42.2 innings that season before he went on the disabled list in August, which led Ryan Franklin to the job, and he went on to save 65 games the next two seasons, including a trip to the postseason in 2009.

The 2013 Cardinals are probably in an even better situation to replace a struggling veteran because they have a pool of talented young pitchers that would easily surpass any of the team’s minor-league reserves during the Isringhausen Era that lasted from 2001-08.

Second-year pitcher Joe Kelly has already become a force in the rotation since manager Mike Matheny finally released him from bullpen purgatory and let him start July 6 against the Miami Marlins.

Kelly allowed four runs through six innings that day against Miami, but he has allowed more than two runs in a start just once since and has improved his record from 0-3 to 5-3 after another stellar performance Thursday against the National League East Division-leading Atlanta Braves when he held them to two runs through six innings as the Cardinals won 6-2.

Rookie starter Shelby Miller has also pitched well, going 11-8 with a 2.94 ERA in 24 starts, and second-year starter Lance Lynn has been in the rotation all season, posting a 13-7 record with a 3.97 ERA.

But now the Cardinals will need one more inexperienced pitcher to exceed expectations as the team enters the final month of the season in a three-way race for the NL Central title with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds.

Its first option will be rookie left-hander Tyler Lyons.

The Cardinals first called up Lyons from Triple-A Memphis in May to fill in for injured starter Jaime Garcia, who underwent season-ending shoulder surgery. Lyons was good in his first two starts, but his ERA exploded from 1.29 to 5.51 in his next four starts before the Cardinals sent him back to the minors.

Lyons came back to pitch the second game of a doubleheader July 30 against the Pirates and allowed three earned runs through six innings in a 6-0. It wasn’t a bad outing, and the Cardinals were in the middle of a seven-game losing streak at the time, but Lyons will get his third opportunity of the season when he takes the mound to start Monday against the Reds.

Plenty of uncertainty will surround that start and probably each of the rest of his starts through September, if the Cardinals stick with Lyons and don’t move to Carlos Martinez or Michael Wacha, but he now has both positive and negative experiences as a big-league player that should help him this time around.

And if he pitches well, he could add his name to the list of pitchers that includes Adam Wainwright and Shelby Miller who turned late-season call-ups into steady jobs at the top of the Cardinals rotation.

If nothing else, Lyons at least might be able to say he became a large contributor to a team that has a chance to make a deep run in the playoffs.

It might be an unlikely scenario, but as Tony La Russa learned in 2008, the decision to put Westbrook on the disabled list might be the best one Matheny could have made for the long-term health of his team.

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St. Louis Cardinal Fan Catches Allen Craig’s Homer In Milwaukee

Allen Craig lifted his 12th homerun of the season this afternoon in Milwaukee, extending the St. Louis Cardinals’ lead to 7-0 at the time.

The more impressive feat was that of the fan who covered a lot of ground to track down the ball and snag it out of the air.

Check out the video below and tip your cap to a Cards fan in a visiting ballpark giving maximum effort to bring home the souvenir.

Craig’s solo homer8/21/13: Allen Craig launches a solo homer to left-center field, giving the Cardinals a 7-0 lead over the Brewers in the top of the second

Embedly Powered

via Mlb

But who was the fan?  Well, thanks to the wonderful world of Social Media (and @gr33nazn on Twitter), we discover that it is none other than “Milwaukee’s Ballhawk” Shawn.  You can read more about The Ballhawk at his blog by clicking this link.  He claims to be a Cardinal fan, especially Ryan Franklin, and is sporting a Franklin shirsey in the video.

Well done, Ballhawk, well done.

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Mitchell Boggs and finding a new answer for the ninth

With the unknown status of the full extent of Jason Motte’s injury, the St. Louis Cardinals bullpen will be the next unit that is forced to adjust on the run. However, with their closer on the mend, a brand new set of questions will have to be answered in a short amount of time.

Mitchell-Boggs

When it was revealed that Motte is suffering from a mild sprain in his elbow on Saturday, it immediately reshuffled the entire bullpen’s responsibility. While the depth of arms on the roster, and within the organization, has been much hallowed, the role of closer is not one that is easily passed along. Motte became the first pitcher in team history to gather every save on the season for the team, and his 42 saves tied for tops in the National League. And despite only being the technical closer for the team for a year and a half, he remains one of the most indispensable parts of a team that has long looked for a definite lock on the end of games.

Finding anybody that can take up a mantle that was absolutely held by another is a tall task. While it makes sense to place a similar styled arm in the role, finding the right makeup to match the arm is a tougher equation. There’s a lot more that goes into ending games than just throwing hard for one inning. It’s a mentality, and often it’s not one that is developed; it is it there or it isn’t. “Jason has it. You could tell even before he took on the role,” said assistant general manager and former All-Star Cardinal closer Ryan Franklin said during the Cardinals Winter Warm Up. “Either you have it or you don’t, and you will find out soon enough along the way.”  Little did he know it was a question that the team would have to find an answer for in the near future.

For the time being, Mitchell Boggs will be the answer. After the strides he took a year ago, it is right that he does so. He was the undisputed eighth inning answer last season, and his 34 holds led the National League and he is accustomed to preserving games. Boggs has the attitude and the fire to do so; he has embraced the late-inning role that he has been trusted with. Just one spring removed from having his place on the team questioned, he developed the competitive mentality to continue to compete night in and night out just to stay relevant to the team. The question is not in his arm, next to Trevor Rosenthal, he may have the liveliest arm on the team, but for a team that struggled to win late with some regularity last summer, how he transitions to having his nights moved back one inning could tell the story of how the season goes.

Boggs shift in the mix changes the demand of the rest of the pen as well. The push to replace Boggs in the setup role could prove to be a tougher equation than him replacing Motte. Edward Mujica, who was the defacto setup man for Boggs last fall, will likely become the favorite to be the new setup man, but the role will likely be a time share. Rosenthal, who was the fireman for pitching the club out of tight spots late in the season, will also get the ball in the eighth inning more often. Fernando Salas also receives a more concrete role on the team, with the seventh inning becoming a prime situation to use the former closer in. Joe Kelly will likely see a more variable role in the fashion that Rosenthal and/or Salas had been pegged for out of the pen, if he loses out on the fifth starter slot to Shelby Miller.

The trickledown effect of the loss of Motte for the time being changes what was a definite strength of for the team, a deep and matchup heavy bullpen. With Rosenthal not being able to float as easily between the sixth and eighth innings, it changes how quickly Mike Matheny can let his starters off the hook. And it puts an even higher demand on scoring enough runs early for the offense that the tight game isn’t as often of an occurrence.

Yet the question for Boggs finds it’s way to every other arm in the bullpen equation: can they answer the call to their new demand as easily as their previous one? The answer will have to be found on the run, and if there isn’t one, it won’t be able to be planned for. Whether its the  return of Motte, the emergence of Boggs or even who takes the ball in the sixth inning now, with the end of the story changing, nothing else earlier is the same.

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Cardinals Spring Training Pics From InsideSTL

Our friends over at InsideSTL spent last week hanging out at a picnic table, and eventually under a tent, in Jupiter, Florida and talking with any Cardinal players that came by and were willing to sit down for a few minutes.

What resulted were some great candid shots of the guys as well as a very candid interview with Adam Wainwright about his contract situation.

The images below were posted to their website and are being shared here with their permission.

Carlos Beltran

Picture 1 of 62

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball
Follow him on Twitter here.

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Get it together

The St. Louis Cardinals have fallen back into a bad habit they were plagued by early in 2011: giving away games.

Admittedly, it is hard to find much fault with a 16-10 start to the season. This is in no way meant to nit-pick or make up something to complain about. But when the Cardinals lose, it is often in sloppy fashion and lacking in fundamentals. That’s a big problem for a team stocked with so many veterans and in-house youngsters that cut their teeth in one of the greatest playoff runs in baseball history last year.

So let’s flash back to 2011—the bad parts, not the postseason parts we all relive over and over again on home video, DVR recordings, and YouTube. Remember the great Ryan Franklin meltdown? Yeah, that happened in 2011. Blown save after blown save led to a poor record early in the season and the eventual release of the veteran reliever and a revolving door at closer that did not stabilize until August. How about Starting Shortstop Ryan Theriot, or Colby Rasmus patrolling center field with all the enthusiasm of someone who just had a lobotomy? Sometimes watching Cardinal Baseball early in 2011 was like watching an old slapstick comedy featuring clowns instead of ballplayers.

Again, it’s far from that bad this season. But some of the same issues have cropped up again. A week and a half ago when the Cards lost their first series of the season by dropping two in a row to the Cubs, it was the bullpen coughing up the lead in the ninth inning both nights. In those two losses plus the loss to Pittsburgh the previous Saturday, the Cards were a combined 0 for 15 with runners in scoring position. They have been running into outs on the base paths. They have committed errors that led to runs, like in Friday’s game in Houston. And they have had trouble knocking guys in once they get on base. If you play your best game but lose to a team that plays just that much better, there is no shame in tipping your cap. Go get ‘em tomorrow. But these losses are borderline ugly, and definitely avoidable.

Fortunately it is still pretty early in the year and the fundamentals ship can be righted. The Cards hit better with RISP in their three losses this week, going 10-43. It isn’t a great number, but at least it isn’t an 0-fer. As regulars get healthy and back up to the speed of the game, defense will hopefully improve. And as we saw last season, any bullpen issue is fixable with the right moves.

It’s just tough to see some of these mental lapses and think, “Wow, this again?” The Cardinals are getting out of their softie, NL Central-dominated early schedule and will be playing some tougher teams real soon. They have the talent and drive to beat anybody in baseball. They just have to stay out of their own way and cut down on the dumb mistakes.

Chris Reed also writes for InsideSTL Mondays and Bird Brained whenever he feels like it. Follow him on Twitter @birdbrained.

#RIPMCA

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Keeping It All In Check

The day has finally arrived. Pitchers and Catchers are required to report to Spring Training Saturday with the first official workouts of the preseason scheduled for Sunday. Anticipation is high, and so are expectations. The St. Louis Cardinals’ 2012 season and the defense of their World Series Championship begin now. But don’t forget some of the lessons that 2011 team taught us.

Just a few days into the 2011 Spring Training campaign, the Cards lost Adam Wainwright for the season. Wainwright was the team’s de facto ace. He looked like a lock for better than 200 IP, better than 200 K, and another sub-3.00 ERA but it vanished just like that. With him, the Cardinals were a team that looked to be in the mix atop a crowded NL Central. Without him, well…how does a team replace that kind of production and become a winner?

By the end of October 2011, it was a distant memory.

Just a few games into the 2011 regular season, Ryan Franklin looked to be finished. The Cards’ closer looked like anything but; he was as ineffective as ineffective could be. It wasn’t long—though many would probably argue it was still too long—before he was benched, and then sent packing before the season had reached the All Star Break. So not only had the Cards ventured into the season without their ace, but they then were going through a revolving door in the ninth inning too.

But by the end of October 2011, that also seemed like eons ago.

Just before the trade deadline, GM John Mozeliak moved the enigmatic Colby Rasmus, two lefty relievers in Brian Tallet and Trever Miller, and the perennially underperforming PJ Walters to the Toronto Blue Jays for Edwin Jackson, Octavio Dotel, Mark Rzepczynski, and Corey Patterson. Over the next couple of weeks, Mozeliak would also sign journeyman lefty Arthur Rhodes and trade minor leaguer Alex Castellanos to the LA Dodgers for Rafael Furcal. In all, the Cards turned over six players on their roster and, at the time, only one (Rzepczynski) was under team control beyond the end of the season. Talk of “win-now mode” ran in parallel with suggestions of not getting enough for Rasmus and betting on aging, short-term talent.

Does anyone want do-overs on any of those moves now?

On August 25, 2011 the Cardinals were 10.5 games out of the playoffs. On October 28, 2011 they became World Series Champions.

The lessons here are plenty. Injuries happen, but they are not the end of the world. Don’t give up on the team because of one loss, whether on the field or off it. Also, don’t give up on a team until they are truly, completely, 100% eliminated. Trust that the people getting paid to make big, difficult decisions about the team actually know what they are doing. Sometimes players work out, sometimes they don’t…but they all deserve a chance to make it happen. Baseball has no clock—so until they make their 27th out, any team has a chance…even down to their last strike (twice). Unless your house is on fire or a family member is dying, never ever EVER leave (or turn off) the game early. Because it ain’t over until it’s over, and anything is possible, and as long as they mathematically have a chance, the St. Louis Cardinals can repeat as World Champions in 2012. After what we all witnessed last year, no argument to the contrary holds water.

It begins now.

Chris Reed also writes for InsideSTL Mondays and Bird Brained whenever he feels like it. Follow him on Twitter at @birdbrained.

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(Draft) Picky, Picky

After Edwin Jackson inked a new deal with the Washington Nationals, the St. Louis Cardinals now sit pretty with five of the first 60 picks in this year’s amateur draft. With that many selections so early, the Cards should be in good position to fortify organizational needs.

 

Every MLB team shows time and again that the ultimate weapon to wield is depth. It doesn’t even matter where the depth is—positions on the field, rotation, bullpen, lineup, bench—the more quality players a team and a franchise has, the better their chances of making it to and through October baseball.

Take a look at the 2011 Cards’ bullpen as a prime example: at the beginning of the season, Ryan Franklin was the closer. By the ninth inning of Game Seven of the World Series, the closer (or ninth inning man…whatever, Tony La Russa) was Jason Motte. In between was a closer rotation consisting of Fernando Salas, Eduardo Sanchez and Mitchell Boggs. Lance Lynn made it to the big club and had a huge impact in the ‘pen. Kyle McClellan started and then pitched relief. Arthur Rhodes. Mark Rzepczynski. The list is long, but the story was clear…the Cards’ bullpen depth was one of their greatest strengths through the end of the regular season and into the playoffs. Just look at how they were used in the postseason. If that group falters, the Cards are done. But they held up, and the team kept advancing.

A long-standing credo states “You can never have enough pitching.” And that’s true, to a large extent. But one of the many things the Cards proved in 2011 amends that theory. It should really state “You can never have enough up the middle,” including catcher, pitcher, middle infield, and center field. Those zones are the ones that rely most heavily on defense, and by deepening those positions the Cardinals are likely to enjoy success for years to come.

Again, the 2011 team is a prime example of this theory in action. At the beginning of the year, the Cards had Colby Rasmus in center field and Ryan Theriot at shortstop. But John Mozeliak strengthened the pitching staff by sending Rasmus to Toronto and filled up a leaky shortstop position by acquiring Rafael Furcal. These may not have been foreseeable moves early in the season, but they were very necessary in building the 2011 World Series Champion.

Overall, the Cards showed how important organizational depth can be in 2011. When a player went down to injury, or a defensive substitution was needed, or a big out had to be secured on the mound, it seemed like another Cards’ farmhand was stepping in to take the reins. And it would be nice to know that if any problems at all creep up in the middle of the field, a capable player waits in the wings to get a chance to prove his worth to the Cardinal organization. Finding those players starts with the draft.

The Cards do have some promising Middle Field players coming into their own already. Jon Jay obviously has the most credentials of any position player. Daniel Descalso and Tyler Greene look to challenge Skip Schumaker for the starting role at second base. Tony Cruz and Bryan Anderson will be the favorites to back up Yadier Molina in 2012. And prospects Kolten Wong (2B) and Ryan Jackson (SS) look to get a chance to open some eyes fairly soon.

But it’s not enough. It’s never enough. The Cards need to take these extra draft picks and concentrate on the middle of the field. They need to look at center fielders with gazelle legs, cannon arms, and live bats. They need to look at middle infielders with magnetic gloves and impressive hitting stats. And pitching…well, a team can never have enough pitching. You pick often in 2012, Cardinals. Please pick wisely.

Chris Reed also writes for InsideSTL Mondays and Bird Brained whenever he feels like it. Follow him on Twitter @birdbrained.

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Bullpen Could Be A Strength For St. Louis Cardinals In 2012

The St. Louis Cardinals’ bullpen came a long way in 2011, beginning with Ryan Franklin’s blown save on Opening Day and ending with Jason Motte’s final pitch to win Game Seven of the World Series.

The squad battled through major ups and downs throughout the season, and the final roster hardly resembled the Opening Day roster. All of those changes turned out to be a blessing, however, as the team went on to win the World Series.

The Opening Day bullpen that included pitchers such as Miguel Batista, Brian Tallet and Bryan Augenstein eventually turned into a bullpen with Fernando Salas, Marc Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel.

The latter group was instrumental in the Cardinals run to the world championship. Manager Tony La Russa used his bullpen more extensively in the playoffs than any manager in the history of the game, and the relievers came through nearly every time in the playoffs.

Veterans such as Dotel and Arthur Rhodes left during the offseason, but the Cardinals picked up left-handed specialist J.C. Romero Dec. 15 and still have a strong core of young arms that will be ready to defend the championship this year.

Plus, the experience those young pitchers got during the stretch run of the 2011 season is sure to help them in future seasons.

After watching Motte nervously bumble his way through relief appearances at times during the previous two seasons, few people could have imagined him all of a sudden shutting down the best teams in the game during the most important stretch of the season, much less coming through flawlessly in the World Series to beat the Texas Rangers.

Yet, there he was on the mound at Busch Stadium throwing some of the most important pitches of the season.
After years of turnover and uncertainty in the Cardinals bullpen, that group could be one of the best parts of the team in 2012.

The Cardinals lost a lot of firepower in the lineup when first baseman Albert Pujols left in December to sign with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and they only brought in players who were Pujols’ age or older. The chances of both shortstop Rafeal Furcal and outfielder Carlos Beltran staying healthy for the entire season are very low.

That means the Cardinals will have to rely heavily on their pitching staff. The good news is this year’s pitching staff could be the best the Cardinals have had since 2004 when four starters had 15 or more wins, and that team went to the World Series.

Adam Wainwright will return this season to join what should be a strong rotation that includes Chris Carpenter, Jamie Garcia, Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook.

However, that rotation can only do so much. The bullpen is also going to have to shut down teams regularly late in games. With a strong rotation, the relievers will likely come into games with a lead, and a bad stretch of relief pitching could quickly demoralize the entire team.

Losing games is one thing, but losing because a reliever blew the game late adds an extra sting.

In any case, Cardinals fans should be as confident in this season’s bullpen as it has been in many years. This group is younger than most of the Cardinals’ bullpens during the La Russa era, and it now has experience that should keep them from getting rattled in tight situations.

After having a bullpen that appeared to be one of the worst in the league less than 12 months ago, the Cardinals could go into 2012 with one of the best bullpens in the game. That is quite a turnaround.

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Flare For The Dramatic

Leave it to THIS Cardinal team to leave the season hanging in the balance with only two games remaining. 160 down, 2 to go and still multiple scenarios where the Cardinals make the playoffs. Yet as I sit here writing this with the Braves seemingly giving the Wild Card to the Cardinals they trail 100 loss Houston 0-5 in the 3rd inning. Why, because this team has a flair for the dramatic.

Since Ryan Franklin started the blown save parade eight games into the season the Cardinals have found a way to make sure things not so sure, turn wins into losses and inspire hope only to douse out the passionate burning flames of Cardinal Nation with their underachieving play. Franklin gave way to Boggs, who gave way to Sanchez who gave way to Salas who gave way to Motte who all totaled 26 blown saves.

Still the Cardinals sit one game out of the playoffs. After losing 13 games in their opponents last at bat the Cardinals may still host a playoff game. A team that has played in 49 one run games, losing 23 games by another 21 in extra innings, losing 13 could still be playing in October. Nothing is as it seems with the 2011 Cardinals. Not winning, not losing.

Proving my point the Cardinals have now pulled to within one run…down 4-5 in the 4th inning. A team that was written off by all. If you’re one of the 3 people alive who thought the at 10.5 games out they still had a chance well then good for you…and you’re lying.

After losing nine of fourteen between August 13th and 27th, the Cardinals began would could end up as the greatest comeback in MLB history. Erasing a 10.5 game deficit to win the Wild Card by winning 19 or their next 28.

Even is this game the back and forth is almost too much to take. 0-5 became 5-5 just as quick and even quicker again became 5-6. Do the Cardinals not like momentum on their side? Our starting pitching adds to the drama in their own way by not even getting though seven innings combine through two games in Houston. Again, against a 100 loss team.

As a result Tony LaRussa must puzzle together his bullpen to find another six innings of availability. Six innings out of a bullpen that is more than taxed…mostly due to TLR’s insistence on tinkering within every game, playing the match-ups to a fault and going to the Motte well perhaps once too often.

Regardless of Tuesday’s result the Cardinals will still have a chance to force a one game playoff for the Wild Card by winning on Wednesday. Who else would start such a game but, yep…Chris Carpenter.

As I save this the Cardinals have tied it at six with two outs in the 7th…If only I were making this stuff up I could have a great career writing fiction. But fact is this is the reality of the 2011 Cardinal season.

These are just my thoughts…keep on reading and you’ll get up to speed.

Derek is on Twitter @SportsbyWeeze and also writes for the Rams at RamsHerd.com

Also on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/SportsByWeeze

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