As I mentioned last time, I'm not quite ready to write the epilogue on the the Card's season yet, but I did want to throw one "what if?" out there. I've railed a lot about how the bullpen cost us a bunch of close game from basically mid-may to mid-august. After seeing Wainwright be great in his three starts back, however, I've come to think that MAYBE his injury is the biggest reason we currently stand 5 1/2 back of the Brewers. Having that "ace" in the rotation takes so much pressure of the rest of team. The offense relaxes because they know they don't need much to win that day. The offense has relaxed so much, in fact, that in two of the three games he has pitched since he has been back, they've scored a bunch of runs. The bullpen also has the pressure off them because they know they likely won't have to pitch too many innings (though TRL yanked him early yesterday, probably not wanted to overtax him so soon back), and if they do come in, it will likely be with a nice lead. Having him out for two months put extra pressure on everyone on the team. The team held-on OK, but was basically .500 while he was gone. I mentioned way back that I thought Wainwright was the most important cog on the team (aside from Albert at least), and I think that has proved true over the course of the season. It would certainly be of great help to have him and Carp for an entire year next year, but it's a darn shame that didn't happen this year with some many of our hitter's having career years. Anyway, we gained one on the brew crew yesterday and they are down big early to the Mets as I write this, so maybe we can do it again.