Doo doo doo doo doo. Doo doo doo doo.
You unlock this season with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension - a dimension where the Rays are 8 games over .500, a dimension where Edmonds is a Cub, a dimension without Izzy. You're moving into a world not of a rebuilding season but a hot start, now a slump and questions. You've just crossed over into the Cardinal Zone.
Portait of a slumping ball club: the St. Louis Cardinals, 2008, NL Central, 3 games out, and a strikingly young team. Pujols has just had his OB streak come to a screeching halt--a streak where he spent the last month and a half getting on base, the onset of which took place amongst a searing start from the Cardinals. But these last few weeks have been dissimilar than from before, in a ballpark very much like the one which the Cardinals are about to play the Rays in interleague play, tonight, the Cardinals are at home yet on their way to a destination which, unbeknownst to the Cardinal fans, happens to be in the darkest corner of the Cardinal Zone.
Astros! Astros! I'm not imagining it! They're out there. Look they're out there now! They jumped passed us when you weren't looking!
"There's something out on the wing! Some...thing!"
And if you look to your left...you'll see the Astros passing us in the standings. The last of the killer B's is hammering away like never before. Sure, a lot of it has to do with the Crawford "can of corn homerun" Boxes. But he has always been underrated.
Anyhow, here we are, mediocre/poor starting pitching and abysmal offense make for losses. Pujol's streak comes to an end and the bullpen does well.
So which is the real Cardinals of 2008 and which is the twilight zone? The team that started the season or the team that is mired in a offensive and bullpen funk? Only time will tell.
Perhaps today may contain a hint of reality. In a Saturday matinée (which means that I won't have to kill myself to stay up to watch it over here in GMT), Wainwright takes the hill and Perez should be available after only 17 pitches last night. Let's hope Pujols and co. avoid those evil donuts and show some patience.
The season of the St. Louis Cardinals is far from over now, a season not only from April to October, but also from the fear of recurring bullpen breakdown. The Cardinals have that fear for a while longer, though, for the moment, the Cardinals have this assurance: LoB can be a good thing--'cause it means runners are getting on base. Single digit LoB is usually a sign of a LOSS. Happily this fear won't hang over our heads for long, either the thread will hold or the Sword of Damocles will come crashing down. This tangible manifestation is very often left as evidence of trespass, even from intangible a quarter as...the Cardinal Zone.
Dooo doo doo doo...