It's nice to see the Baseball Gods spread misery to places other than the Cubs, in fact I wish they'd do it a little more. In the case of the St. Louis Cardinals, we can find misery both physical and mental. And after living through the last few year's worth (okay hell, the last hundred years) of injury and season-ruining concepts like Milton Bradley, I feel no guilt whatsoever in thinking it couldn't happen to nicer guys than the Cards.
First the physical:
Last Saturday Cardinal starter Brad Penny went on the 15 day dl after pulling a latissimus dorsi. That's a giant muscle that takes up about the whole upper half of your back. That day he hit a grand slam vs. the Angels, but says it didn't happen on his swing, and later he would say he felt something wasn't right there for about 5 days.
So they brought up rookie PJ Walters, who has a 9.56 ERA in 16 games with the Cards last year.
Then Kyle Lohse had an MRI on his right forearm that revealed inflammation, and chances are he'll go do a 15 day dl thing as well. In any case, he's not pitching against the Cubs this weekend. There's apparently no structural damage, but Lohse says, "Something is going on."
So the Cards have some other choices from their system. Including Rich Hill.
Now the mental:
Have you noticed that the headlines have been saying things like "Reds knock the Cards out of 1st" rather than, "Pujols homers again!"? That's because Albert Pujols is having (for him) a terrible month, and it's making him angry.
Couple games ago, Tony LaRussa had Ryan Ludwick try to steal with 2 out and Albert up. Ludwick was out. Albert has a tantrum in the dugout and Tony tells him to quit it. They yell at each other and finally Tony says, "I (blanking) know how to manage."
Now, I admire Tony for putting a superstar in his place, but I also love that this little story feels like a dull spot in that shiny Cardinal red.
And if you haven't noticed, Mark McGuire's feeling a little heat down there too since his hitters rank 11th in the NL in average and runs scored, and 10th in slugging.
So as we look forward to a Memorial Day Cubs/Cards series, it's nice to know it's nicely not so nice down there.
I got an email from Chris Jaffe over at Hardball Times, and he put together a little list of his 10-best Cubs/Cardinals games. It's a fun read.
Okay, tonight it's tough luck and 2-4 Ryan Dempster vs. 4-2 Clayton Kershaw and the smokin' hot Los Angeles Dodgers, who've won 8 of their last 10. Hateable Manny Ramirez has been kinda hurt, he's only played in 26 games, and in his last 10 he's hitting .241 on 7 hits in 29 at bats. More nice.
Cubs, can you please get Dempster a W?