Yes, Houston, we copy. We just lost the Wild Card.

by on September 4, 2008 · 6 comments

Well, that’s really where it all began, isn’t it?

I apologize for my longer than anticipated absence, and in some ways, I’m not that sorry.  I barely got to see any Cardinal baseball while I’ve been on ‘hiatus’, and that’s seemingly been a good thing.  I hate to go down the path of pessimist, but it’s high time to face the music.

If only managing three of five from Atlanta and Pittsburgh didn’t do it…

If only managing a split with Milwaukee didn’t do it…

Then a sweep at the hands of the Houston Astros surely did this Cardinal post-season drive in.

As if that weren’t enough, the Cardinals wind up dropping two games to the D’Backs (I hate their jerseys and logos by the way) that they should’ve won.

The bullpen has reared its ugly head again.  Kyle McClellan has continued to impress and confound in equal and opposite amounts as the season drags on.  Rumors still abound that he should arrive at Spring Training 2009 prepared to take on a starting rotation spot.  And what if he fails?  Then will he be shuttled back to the bullpen, completely unprepared for a role that he should remain in?  Sounds eerily familiar for this organization.

Chris Perez suffered his first major failure tonight since taking over the ‘ninth inning pitcher’ role (he’s clearly still not the closer).  How will this leave the youngster’s standing in the mind of manager Tony LaRussa?  Tony’s obviously been prone to leaving guys to work their own issues out on the mound this season, but he’s also shown a real proclivity not to trust young pitchers in virtually any situation.  Will Perez be afforded the opportunity to learn on the job, and have the same ups-and-downs as his predecessors?

Rick Ankiel is still struggling with his oblique injury.  Why the team refuses to shut this guy down, I will never know.  This situation is dragging on eerily similar to Chris Duncan’s sports hernia last year.  We all know how that turned out.  Why not shut Ankiel down now, give him an extra month of off-season, and allow him to return to camp next season fully rested?  It’s not as if he’s playing full-time now, with the injury, so what’s the harm in shutting him down now?

Jaime Garcia’s elbow injury is seemingly going to make way for a more wide-open fifth starter competition next season.  Garcia is likely headed for a TJ, hopefully sooner than later.  His mechanics have kind of forecasted this type of injury to come, and naturally, the Cardinal staff did nothing about it.

Have I covered all of the negative issues this week?  Nope…

Chris Carpenter is returning to the big club as a reliever.  JUST SHUT HIM DOWN.  Do it.  It’s clear by the shoulder strain, by the front office’s “management” of the situation, and by Carp’s own reaction to being sent to the bullpen (he didn’t seem too happy about it) that he is not yet right.  Same deal as with Ankiel in my mind.  If Carp is not ready to be a starter (which the Cardinals are paying him handsomely to do), then he should be in rehab or on the shelf until he is ready to do so.  If that means he’s not back until Opening Day 2009, then so be it.  It is not worth the Cardinals’ entire investment in this guy to see him reinjure an elbow or shoulder throwing as hard as he can out of the ‘pen the rest of this season.

Finally, I don’t think the Brewers/Phillies/Mets can lose enough between now and the end of the season for the Cards to sneak in anymore.  I’d love to be proved wrong.

There.  I’ve said my pieces about the last few days/week.

Congrats to Jason Motte on a successful debut against Arizona.  Here’s hoping that the Motte-Perez combo is one we can enjoy for some time.

Writing about the Cardinals and other loosely associated topics since 2008, I've grown tired of the April run-out only to disappoint Cardinal fans everywhere by mid-May. I do not believe in surrendering free outs.
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