We'll get to the second half of the title at the end.
First, Kyle Lohse. He gives up a leadoff single on the first pitch of the game, then retires 24 in a row. And they were efficient; he struck out 4, but only threw 89 more pitches to get through the first eight. The ninth may have been his most taxing, where he threw 22 pitches and faced the tying run in Lance Berkman. I'll assume LaRussa had someone up in the bullpen (ESPN.com doesn't say).
Lohse's complete game was really important from a bullpen usage point-of-view. As has been chronicled elsewhere, the team has only one off day between now and May 11. Although the bullpen hasn't been overtaxed - Thompson leads the group with 5 IP, mostly in blowouts - LaRussa freely used them during the homestand. Stealing a day off for the corps, as it were, is big. Everyone's reset for the road trip.
Boy this opening homestand couldn't have gone much better. Perhaps winning the game they should have one on Opening Day would improve things a bit. But for a team picked by most to finish third to start 5-2, sweep one of its bitter rivals, torch an ace who's tortured them for years? Break up the Cardinals.
I'll point out that in 2004 they were also picked to finish third, behind Chicago and Houston. Seven games do not a good comparison make, and that 04 team had a better lineup, and probably a better bullpen, than this one; but it's interesting nonetheless.
So it's off to Arizona. Wellemeyer vs. cancer survivor Doug Davis, Carpenter vs. Univ of Missouri product Matt Scherzer, and Piniero vs Jon Garland.
Now, to the second part of the title.
Yesterday was Easter, and so we had some family/friends over to the house for dinner. One of them, a family friend of long standing, had never been to our house (which we moved into about this time last year), so I was giving him the dime tour. We had finished looking at the downstairs, and were headed up stairs (I was in front of him about 3-4 steps), when I heard a thump. Apparently he missed, or tripped, over the first step, and fell, hit his head on a stair, and knocked himself out for about 15 seconds. Luckily, our stairs are carpeted and padded, which softened the blow a bit (he's 6'1"), however, when you're 80 any fall is tough to take. We called the paramedics to come check him out; he was fine (Thank God), but a little unsteady, so they took him to the local Sharp hospital for evaluation (as of 2100 last night he had passed all the tests they ran).
About six weeks before my father-in-law had tripped in almost the identical spot and fallen; however, he managed to brace himself quite gracefully (and miss my 18 month old son, who was hanging on him and probably contributed to the event) and was unhurt.
So, if you're old enough to collect a social security check, and come by the house, I'll be handing out helmets; the stairwell will also be lit up like a grand opening with floodlights and neon signs pointing out the stairs. It's not that we don't trust your balance, our your depth perception, its my house apparently doesn't like old people.
46 minutes ago