Friday, August 15, 2008

Is the Bullpen fixed?

It's probably way to early to answer that question with any real certainty, but the signs over this road trip show things are at least headed in the right direction. The 'pen has yielded only 3 earned runs over 21 innings of work during the 8 games of this trip so far. Not only is Perez 3 for 3 in saves chances, but McClellen has been just as good as the new primary set-up man. The best example of that was on Monday when consecutive errors by Ankiel (in his first game back in the field in over 2 weeks) in the eighth left the speedy Hanley Rameriz on third with no outs and the Cardinals nursing a one-run lead. Somehow, McClellen managed to get a weak ground-out with the infield in, a strike-out and a pop-up to strand the runner on third. Jaime Garcia also deserves praise for steady work in middle relief such as his two scoreless innings tonight. It seems that Carpenter going back on the DL has made the Cards re-think their options with Wainwright and he will make a rehab START tomorrow. I'll restate that I think that would be the best move for the team both in the short and the long term. The bullpen's sudden resurgence does make that decision easier though. One thing that seemed to be hurting us the last two weeks was a normally reliable defense. We had several games there with multiple errors, but the last two have been clean I think, so hopefully that junk is over with. I REALLY like the lineup now with Ludwick, Pujols, Ankiel and Glaus in middle surrounded by good contact hitters like Shu, Miles, and Yadier. Bottom line, I think we'll have a good team on the field these last few games. Unfortunately, the Cubs and the Brewers are playing lights-out right now. The Cubs scored three in the ninth to win again tonight. We'll need at least one of them to drop-off significantly or it won't matter what we do really. That may sound pessimistic, but it's a reality with only 37 games left. Still, all is not lost. Hopefully Carp will only miss the 15 days and Wainwright should be back in 7-10 days as well I would guess. It is certainly a must to beat-up on the bad teams left on our schedule such as our current opponent, the Reds. Let's get after them again tomorrow!


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