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Monday, August 11, 2008

It Could've Been Worse: Cards vs. Cubs Wrap-Up

Posted By on Mon, Aug 11, 2008 at 10:58 AM

Well, I suppose things could be worse. We could have lost more than one ace pitcher over the weekend. Fortunately, the Cardinals only have one on the roster currently, so losing Carpenter was pretty much as bad as it gets.

I've tried to stay positive this season, and it hasn't been particularly hard to this point. The team has definitely overachieved, and it's been a ton of fun to follow. After this weekend, though, I'm pretty much out of happy thoughts.

What I keep coming back to (aside from the fact that our former Cy Young winning pitcher may be out for an unknown period of time), is the game on Friday. Last night's game was tough, make no mistake, but games like that happen sometimes. Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster was just too much, and the Cards couldn't get the big hit when they needed it. Friday's game, though, was perfectly winnable.

The Cardinals lost batters on the bases Friday, they lost batters at home plate Friday, they pretty much lost runners everywhere Friday. The bullpen wasn't managed very well, either, with the team's two best relievers, Kyle McClellan and Chris Perez, both used for only three outs, while Franklin was somehow expected to get six. Not to pile on Franklin, but it was a miracle he got through the first inning without giving the game up, much less thinking he was going to make it through a second frame.

So, the Cardinals now find themselves seven games back, with only 42 games left, and only six head-to-head match-ups against the Cubs. I've always felt like you were never out of it as long as you still have enough games against the team you're chasing to catch them. Well, unfortunately, that particular threshold has just been passed for the first time this season. It's still too early to say the Cards are out of it entirely, of course, but it is certainly getting pretty close to that point.

The only good thing that could possibly come out of this, I think, is that if Carpenter has to miss any significant amount of time, it may very well put an end to the Cards' ridiculous notion of putting Wainwright back into the bullpen when he comes off the disabled list. Cold comfort, I know, but it's about all I've got today.

It was a rough weekend pretty much all around. Let's hope for better in south Florida, shall we?

- Aaron Schafer

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