Talking Cardinal Baseball

Daniel ShoptawAnalyst IAugust 7, 2009

KANSAS CITY, MO - JUNE 20:  Chris Carpenter #29 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches against the Kansas City Royals during the game on June 20, 2009 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)


Oh, hey.  How are you?

Really?  Brad Thompson got suspended?  I didn't see the pitch, but I know that Tony LaRussa wasn't happy with him...

Oh, by MLB.  Well, while you never want to see pitches around the head area, I just wonder what the modern game would think of Bob Gibson and Don Drysdale.  Heck, they called Sal Maglie "The Barber" because of his close shaves.

No, I'm not saying that I think pitchers should be free to continually barrage hitters with beanballs, but I do think at times MLB has gone too far in the other way and doesn't let the players police the game the way they did back in the 50s and 60s.

You're right.  That's the only time Thompson and Gibson will be in the same sentence.  If the Cards had to lose someone for three games, at least it wasn't a vital cog.  Heck, this might make the team better.

Chris Carpenter.

No doubt.  Having Carpenter on the mound every fifth day has been a treasure for Cardinal fans.  I love knowing that he's going to take the mound, because almost without exception, you are looking at seven, eight innings of great baseball.

Yeah, with him leading the league in ERA and Adam Wainwright up there in wins, it's a heck of a punch for a short playoff series, isn't it?  Assuming they get there, of course.

Well, there is that Chicago team.

When you stop laughing....

OK, really....

Seriously, as much as I relish Completely Useless By September, as it stands right now the Cubs are percentage points in first.  We'll see how long that lasts, but remember that Chicago was the odds-on favorite to win this division for a reason.  I hope the Cards can pull away from them, but I'm not sure that it won't go down to late September.

You do have to like their chances of at least staying technically tied for first tonight.  Carp's got 10 wins in 12 career starts against the Pirates, who have taken just about every semblance of major league talent and sent it elsewhere in another rebuilding attempt.

Can I name any of the Pirates that'll be starting tonight?

Well, there', well, Andy LaRoche is still there.  Ryan Doumit.  Not a whole lot of others that I can mention.  Those that have been around, though, haven't hit Carp with any regularity.

Right, who does?

Paul Maholm.

Yeah.  He has been tough on the Cards in the past.  He's had a rough year, though, and the Cards only saw him at the beginning of April, so maybe they'll be able to light him up.

Well, he's no Ian Snell, but Albert Pujols likes to face him.  Hitting .526 with a long ball.  You add that to the way AP is swinging the last couple of days and how much he usually hits in Pittsburgh, and I'd expect a two hit night with a good chance of a homer.

OK, fine, I do expect that most every night.  But I think this time the stats actually back it up.

Looking forward to it is well.  Any last words?  You mean, besides apologies to Bob Newhart?

Yeah, don't ask me why I went that route.  Friday, up early, bad combination.  It's no bus driver school, I'll admit that.

Oh, yeah, final thoughts.  The Cards are in good shape, with Pittsburgh and Cincinnati next up.  The Cubs have to be a little concerned about winning every day, because St. Louis just might.  And throwing Carpenter and Wainwright at Pittsburgh is like using a sledgehammer on a fly, but whatever gets the job done.  Should be a fun weekend!