September 27, 2006


Cards' Lead in NL Central Just 1 1/2 Games (R.B. FALLSTROM, 9/27/06, The Associated Press)

Ronnie Belliard homered twice and had three RBIs for the Cardinals, who also got a two-run single from Jim Edmonds in his first start in a month after being sidelined with post-concussion syndrome. It didn't prevent them from losing their seventh in a row because Carpenter (15-8) failed to protect a three-run lead.

St. Louis appeared to have all but clinched the division title with a seven-game lead and 13 games to go. But the Cardinals' skid has coincided with a winning streak for the Houston Astros, who beat Pittsburgh 7-4 Tuesday night for their seventh victory in a row.

"We're not OK because we can't make enough happen to win a game," La Russa said. "But we're still alive, so we understand that also."

Given all the damage he's done to the game -- chiefly through the reliance on lefty/righty specialists -- it would be a fitting thing for Mr. LaRussa to become this generation's Gene Mauch. Meanwhile, Mets fans ought to be panicking, because an Oswalt, Clemens, Pettite rotation will hand them their heads.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 27, 2006 12:00 AM

Red Sox fans ought to enjoy watching a Pedro-vs.-Roger pitching match-up in the NLDS, especially if Schilling really meant to say "If I return next year" instead of "When I return next year" in yesterday's meeting with reporters.

Posted by: John at September 27, 2006 9:02 AM

It doesn't get much better than watching Petey sob in the dugout the other day, though when Damon's doing the samne two years from now it'll be close.

Posted by: oj at September 27, 2006 9:26 AM

I feel bad for Carpenter. LaRussa, and not for the first time, left him in the game about 30 pitches too long. As inconsistent as the bullpen has been it was better than a pitcher who had nothing left.

Posted by: andrew at September 27, 2006 10:53 AM

I'd still rather be two up in the loss column instead of two down. Sure, the Cardinals could blow it, but it's not the way to bet.

And the postseason is largely a crap shoot. The Mets are a good team with a +94 run diff. But that number suggests they're hardly among the greatest ever. They can be had in the playoffs.

Posted by: Casey Abell at September 27, 2006 11:19 AM

Arrrgh!! Tony always has to be soooo smart about everything. By my count, the guy has single-handedly lost 3 of the 7. On the other hand, it's expected that he'll blow it.

I'm a serious Cards fan and am tired of this guy making every move but the one that will put the right players in a position to win the game.

Give me Jim Leyland!! The student is ten times the manager the teacher is.

Oh yeah, and the most damage he did was turning a blind eye to Canseco and Mac as they juiced their way to the top.

Of course, he's a lawyer.

Posted by: Pepys at September 27, 2006 11:33 AM

The Cards really deserve to lose this. Throughout the season I believe they have had an 8 game losing streak, a 7 games losing streak and a 5 game losing streak. Those are in addition to this current slide of 7 straight. That is just plain terrible.

Posted by: pchuck at September 27, 2006 12:00 PM

Pchuck, you're right. That's what makes this choke different from the Phils in '64. The Cards are a mediocre team while the Phils were very good.

No pitching is not pretty.

Pace Carps.

Posted by: Pepys at September 27, 2006 12:18 PM

Pepys, unfortunately everyone in the NL Central is terrible. Heck, everyone in the NL is terrible.

Posted by: pchuck at September 27, 2006 2:55 PM

What a great story. Card fans are great baseball fans, Pujols is the best player in baseball, and neither deserves to have this happen, but I've always disliked LaRussa, the most overrated manager in the history of baseball.

(I still haven't forgiven LaRussa for playing his 2nd baseman, was it Womack?, at doubleplay depth against Papi in game 1 of the 2004 Series. Was he serious? And of course Papi nearly murdered him on a ball that would've been a double play if Womack was 10 feet further back. Heck,they could've turned 2 on Papi with Womack in the middle of right field.

The Cards could've had a shot if they had pulled out that game, I tell you, and Sawx fans would still be the cuddly losers of yore, and not the obnoxoids of the present.

Go Houston!

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at September 27, 2006 4:10 PM

LaRussa is hyper-conscious, he always has to be doing something. That Womack deal was typical. He jsut had to outsmart the Sawx instead of putting his guys where they can succeed. Tony has to succeed in an obvious way.

If the Astros didn't have to score, I'd call them the favorites.

Watch out for the Dodgers. Playing very well right now. Lots of momentum.

Posted by: Pepys at September 27, 2006 4:42 PM