Monday, April 28, 2008

Time to get serious

Cardinals lost today to Cincinnati, 4-3. For a recap, go here. Sounds like they were done in by some bad luck (Duncan lost it in the lights) and a lack of timely hitting.

Bronson Arroyo joins a long list of pitchers who get well against the Cardinals. Let's see, 0-3 this year until tonight, last ML win was Sept 12 ... against St. Louis. Figures.

With 2 days left in April, the team stands at 16-11. That's the second-most wins in April for a LaRussa-led Cardinals team, tied with the 1998 start. The only years better than that were 2000 and 2006, which both started 17-8. You know how those seasons ended. A win tomorrow and Wednesday would give the club 18 wins for the month; if you had told me in February this team could finish April 18-11, I would have called you a liar. It has been a most pleasant April.

This team seems to have recaptured the play hard attitude that marked the 2004 and 2005 versions. They don't quit, ever. In fact, with some better situational hitting and work at the back of games, they could easily be 19-8 right now; I'm thinking of the two extra-inning losses to Milwaukee and Friday's 3-2 loss to Houston. I sincerely hope this trend continues the entire season.

One other item: Matt Morris was released Sunday by Pittsburgh. His exit interview with the media, as mentioned on Viva El Birdos, indicated he was hanging them up. Morris was one of my favorite Cardinals. Not only did he attend a Big East school (even if it was Seton Hall), he was a stud for some pretty bad Cardinals teams in the late 90s. He lost all of 1999 to injury, and came back in 2000 as a reliever, still hitting 95-97 on the radar gun. I remember sitting in Busch II and watching him pitch, glad to see his stuff had returned to where it was before the arm surgery. He had the great misfortune to have his best year the same year (2001) Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling had their last dominating campaigns, so he didn't win a Cy Young. Man he was good in the NLDS that season. I will believe forever the 2001 Cardinals were good enough to win the World Series that season, even with all their bullpen woes, because Matt could have started 3 games. Morris lost NLDS Game 1, 1-0, and got a no decision in Game 5 (final score 2-1). His other stats for that series: 1.20 ERA, 15IP, 2 ER, 12 K. Wow.

In recent years he had declined noticeably; in 2004 he was ineffective from the stretch, and it went downhill from there. Ever the consummate professional, he took this latest development in stride, with humility and thanks. Gonna miss you, Matty Mo. Thanks for the memories.

Until next time...


MC said...

I got to see Matty Mo play at Seton Hall back in the day! Who would have known?

Anyway, I turned on the Pirates-Phillies game on Saturday to watch Morris' first inning of action. He sawed off the first batter and the second batter fouled out. After than it was a series of misfortunes and probably did him in. I'm glad I got to see him pitch one last time, for whatever it was worth. He was truly a great Cardinals and a great person, first and foremost.

Cardinal70 said...

I was sad to hear about Morris hanging them up as well. He's one of the few pitchers the Cardinals have developed that has amounted to anything in the last decade or so. I hope he stays around the Cardinal organization in some capacity, maybe make the trip to spring training or something.