John Smoltz is hurt. Chris Carpenter has lost his “A” game. Ryan Franklin has morphed into a bad Brad Lidge slash Jason Isringhausen clone. Kyle Lohse is complacent after signing a big contract. The defense is poor. The hitting is worse. It’s time to stop the season right now and put this team out of it’s misery. We can’t let them perform any longer. We simply do not want the youth of America exposed to such blatant acts of cruelty. The kids, why doesn’t anybody ever think about the kids!
Easy, people. Easy.
The Cardinals were swept by the Atlanta Braves, but the worst thing that happened this past weekend was the botching of being able to clinch the NL Central title at home this upcoming weekend against the Cubs. And really, that’s not what this team’s ultimate goal is or should be. So why are so many people acting as if the previous 2 months were some sort of a strange aberration and that this team, the one that got swept rather meekly by an average Atlanta team, are the real Cardinals?
Cardinal fans are still in the 2007-08 mode of thinking. Where one bad thing begets an even worse thing until the season is lost and the front office excuses start flying high and tight. As the trademark owner of such phrases as ‘the sky is falling’ and ‘are you fucking kidding me’ when it pertains to the Cardinals, I can personally avow that I know what your gut reaction to the weekend sweep was. And I can also tell you that It’s OK. This team is fine. Everything is going to be good.
In fact, I’ll do you one better: this team needed a wake-up call and some motivation this September. And now they’ve got it.
In college basketball we always ask if those one or two losses for the top 10 teams are needed to make sure everyone’s focused and remembers that there really is a fine line between winning and losing. Inevitably, it turns out that a mid-December stunner was good for a team in March. It reminds them that they’ve got to get their asses ready to compete every single night.
That’s even more magnified in professional sports. Because at the end of the day, the guys on the other side of the field are playing with their livelihood’s on the line. They’ve got families to feed. And for the Latino guys, let’s be honest here, they don’t like condoms… so the more money the better.
Listen, Ryan Franklin needs to prove he can close games like he did earlier in the season. Kyle Lohse needs to produce something more than a pain-free outing to get excited about. The bats need to hit better against above average pitching. All these things are very valid and very real. But as we sit here on Monday morning, the Cardinals are a mere game out of the best record in the NL and have some pretty cake opponents the last two weeks of the regular season. This team is going to be fine.
Let’s chalk this one up as a wake-up call and save the doom for after tonight’s loss to the Marlins. Then you guys can have your “OMG- We’re Fucked!!!!” column.