Well here we finally are. The last weekend of the season. For the Cardinals, this will be the last 3 games of 2008; they are not to be seen again (on a baseball diamond, that is) until pitchers and catchers report in Feb 09.
The end of the season is always bittersweet. On the bad side, there's no more baseball on every night across the country. My fantasy team will no longer be a viable path to distraction during those boring days at work. On the good side, we get to see other teams play on TV than the Yankees/Red Sox/Cubs/Lame-o West Coast regional game. And playoff baseball is usually compelling and fun to watch.
Of course, the Cardinals will not be in the playoffs this year. As has been pointed out elsewhere, this will mark the first time this decade (and millenium, for those of you given to soaring hyperbole) the team won't be playing in October in consecutive years. So that's a bummer too. But I can't really be all that upset as the season winds down; although currently 4th in the division, most of us thought they would be sub-.500 all year. They weren't. And they were alive for a post season berth (although granted, most hope of that happening was washed away by their 7-game losing streak this month) right up to the final week.
Because of that, I will go to this last weekend with my fan-head held high. They fought. They came up short. That's life.
I would, however, like to see them sweep the Reds, because then their final record would be 86-76; since they spent most of the summer between 10-15 games over .500, it would be appropriate.
Going back to yesterday's post, one prominent name (in addition to Ryan Howard, who Pitchers Battting Eighth mentioned in the comments) I left out was Adrian Gonzalez of the Padres. In case you hadn't noticed, and because the Padres suck, you probably hadn't, Adrian his hitting .281 with 36 HR and 118 RBI this season.
He compares, statistically, favorably with AP.
Here's the kicker, however: San Diego is 15th in the NL in runs scored (630). Gonzalez has knocked in 19% of their runs. He's also scored 102. Take away the 36 for the HR he's hit, so we don't double count those:
118-36 = 82 + 102 = 184 / 630 = 29.2%. Yep, one man has either knocked in or scored over a quarter of San Diego's runs this season.
Just for fun:
AP: 184 / 753 = 24.4%
Ludwick: 174 / 753 = 23.1%
Delgado: 172 / 794 = 21.7%
Wright: 206 / 794 = 25.9%
Howard: 197 / 779 = 25.3%
Manny: 72 / 242 = 29.8% (prorated for his time with LA)
How ungodly bad would the Padres have been without Adrian Gonzalez in the lineup?
21 minutes ago