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Friday, Sep. 30, 2016

Cards drop a close one and fall back in standings

Posted Thursday, June 26, 2008, at 4:01 AM

Riddle me this: Why did Tony LaRussa elect to pitch to Gary Sheffield in the bottom of the ninth with first base open in game two against the Tigers? To me, it seems like common sense to set up the double play in that situation instead of pitching to a guy with over 1,600 career RBIs, regardless of what his current average is.

And why is Chris Duncan starting over Ryan Ludwick? I realize that Duncan needs some at-bats, but Ludwick crushes right-handed pitching and is among the league leaders in homers and RBIs. But I guess Duncan's outstanding .228 average does warrant playing time over Ludwick. Yes, Ludwick has struggled as of late, but nobody is struggling worse than Duncan right now.

Anyway, the Cards had some bright spots and some not-so-bright spots in the game.

On the bright side, Schumaker and Ankiel showed some power, and Troy Glaus picked up a couple of hits. Also, Albert Pujols is on his way back, along with Todd Wellemeyer.

On the not-so-bright side, the bullpen was shaky, and Kyle Lohse made some pretty big boo-boos on the mound. And though the offense scored seven runs, they went 1-8 with runners in scoring position. The Tigers were 6-15. That statistic will have to improve if they Cards want to make a legitimate run this year.

Mark Mulder is slated to start on Saturday, and that makes me excited and scared. I'm just not convinced that he's going to be able to contribute. His arm slot has been tweaked, and that will likely affect his sinker, which requires a higher arm slot. If he can throw like he did in Oakland, he will be a huge boost. If he throws like he has the past few years, he'll quickly get whiplash and his starts will turn into $7 million merry-go-rounds.

Today will be a crucial game. The Cards are 4.5 back again, and they'll need a win to keep pace with the Cubs, who will probably post another win against a mediocre Orioles squad.

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Brandon Higgins
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A blog for Cardinals fans by a Cardinals fan. This blog will explore the happenings in the St. Louis Cardinals organization on a semi-daily basis, from roster moves to game-by-game analysis.
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