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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Longest Inch: Dodgers 9, Cardinals 8

You hope, after today's sloppy game, that today represents the last start for Mr. Lisa Guerrero. When the Erickson roulette wheel came up seven, it was time to go. There were plenty of moments he could have gotten the hook, but Tracy just refused the offer. His 6.15 ERA is only a hundreth off his 6.16 ERA from last year's futility with the Rangers; this was his worst game of the year, with seven earned runs.

Good grief.

The game drained the Dodger bullpen, which means tomorrow they'll be dead if they need anybody; Schmoll hasn't looked sharp in a week or so, and Carrara's wild pitch was completely consistent with the rest of his performance: unable to find the strike zone, he squeaked into a double play, as Sanchez did in the inning prior.

Thank God for Yhency. Oh, I know, he's probably badly overrated, but ten saves are nothing to sneeze at. And likewise for Choi, whose 3-run shot proved, if not the difference, then the resurgence.

Grabowski, upon whom I've bagged repeatedly, got a key walk off the bench today, failing to make the final out of the sixth inning, and setting up an Izturis RBI single and Choi's home run. You maybe want to give them some credit, too.

If you wanted to see the side effects of the Mark Mulder trade -- well, here it is. The Cards' bullpen ain't what it used to be, though it still has some nice parts. They haven't stooped to the Esteban Yan-class reliever (hello, Angels!), but they're now eleventh in ERA in the NL, and ninth in strikeouts. What's more, of the three relievers the Cards used in last year's postseason with five or more innings of work, Isringhausen is on the DL, and Kiko Calero, who had a sub-4.00 ERA last year, was traded to Oakland; only Julian Tavarez is currently active. Malcontent Steve Klein now works for Baltimore; with the exceptions of Ray King and Tavarez, all the Cards' relievers from 2004 with sub-3.00 ERAs and more than 30 IP are working for other clubs or are presently disabled. That, I just about guarantee, will come back to bite them in the postseason.

It wasn't one of Matt Morris's better outings -- in terms of earned runs, the worst of the year for him, in fact -- but Kevin Jarvis, who took the loss, was the obvious and real loser here. The Cards' hitting continued hot, relative to the rest of the league, but cold for them, with Edmonds snapping out of a one-game 0-4 mini-slump and going 2-5. Sanders also had a 2-5 night, but Eckstein really showed ownership of the Dodgers pitching, going 3-4. I've already bagged on Stoneman for unloading Eckstein, but -- as I'll get to in the Angels recap later -- it's looking really bad right now, something Pearly Gates recently remarked upon. (How bad it will look after the All-Star break, if/when Eckstein goes on the DL yet again, remains to be seen.)


I heartily concur with your desire to see Mr. Lisa banished, and your take on the state of the Cards' bullpen. Last year, I would've been sickened by the prospect of the Dodgers engaging in a slugfest with St. Louis, but this year the prospects are considerably brighter because of the vast pitching advantage the Dodgers possess in the late innings.

One minor quibble -- the A's received (the sadly DL'd) Calero, Danny Haren, and Daric Barton from St. Louis; Mr. Pine Tar Cap is still with them.
Thanks for the note, Vic. For some reason I misremembered that fact and thought both had gone. Corrected in the body text.

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