I'll continue with my new format and just list some developments or reflections on this last week, rather then have an official list of good and bad.
The win streak should be seven, if not for Izzy blowing the game last week against the Pirates, and apparently he was content to stop the streak at four, because he did his best to lose today's game, too. This means two things:
1) The Cardinals are playing good ball of late, and still don't have Wainwright or Carpenter. They went through a whole turn in their rotation (granted, Lohse started twice because of the break), and won every game. That's great news for a rag-tag rotation.
2) Jason Isringhausen should no longer be closing ballgames. I definitely think he can be a productive reliever, but I say the experiment and effort to bring him back to his old role is done. He's been ass-awful in the ninth inning. Period. It's too much of a risk.
How about giving Russ Springer a chance? Sure, he's valuable in middle relief, but that role is easier to fill then the closing spot, and his 2.10 ERA is certainly a step up from Izzy's.
The offense is still not good enough to win the Central. At least in my eyes. I hope I'm wrong. But Glaus, Ankiel, and Ludwick aren't going to hit this well for the rest of the season. Additionally, Albert Pujols was nasty against the Pads, going 7-for-12 and getting on base on Sunday in a pinch-hit role. But John Mozeliak shouldn't get complacent. Acquiring a hitter is still a must.
Jaime Garcia wasn't too bad, although the HR to Cha Seung Baek absolutely floored me. I couldn't believe that. But moving past that, the kid went five innings in his major-league debut at 22-years old. Not too shabby. He'll probably get a couple more starts, and hopefully he'll capitalize on his chance in the bigs.
Chris Carpenter threw four scoreless innings in AA ball on Sunday afternoon. I don't know if anybody has posted that information yet, but he allowed only one hit, striking out four, but walking four as well. Holy crap, it'd be nice to get him back in a couple weeks.
This series against the Brewers is huge. Duh. But for the details, it's at Busch, and the Cardinals need to take advantage of home turf. Seth McClung and Ben Sheets haven't had their best lately, and Jeff Suppan sucked before going to the DL. If the Cards can take three of four, that would be tremendous. But the pitching MUST improve.
They are who we thought they were! The Cubs are human. Remember? They haven't looked this vulnerable in a while now, and they're at Arizona and at home against Florida this week. That's about as tough a week as you'll get in the NL, sad as it is. Look for the winner of the Cards-Brew series to have a stake in first place at this time next week.