First inning - Cardinals retired in order, Hoffpauir hits 3-R HR. Turned TV off.
Fourth inning - Cardinals have tied it; watched Zambrano hit HR. Turned TV off.
Managed to log in for the second game, at least for a while. Broke away to have dinner with the family, and never got back on line. Kids can be so demanding sometimes. I ended up watching the game in fast forward at about 10:30pm, but by that time the chat was long over.
- Figures Ludwick is heating up just in time for a 3-day break. But at least he's heating up. The return of his bat couldn't come at a better time, what with DeRosa on the DL and Ankiel admitting his shoulder is still bothering him.
- Ankiel should sit until he's completely healthy. If there's one thing this team/organization has an overabundance of, its outfielders.
- The play in the top of the fifth with Wainwright was interesting. The rule governing that play is Rule 7.09(f), which reads:
If, in the judgment of the umpire, a base runner willfully and deliberately interferes with a batted ball or a fielder in the act of fielding a batted ball with the obvious intent to break up a double play, the ball is dead. The umpire shall call the runner out for interference and also call out the batter-runner because of the action of his teammate. In no event may bases be run or runs scored because of such action by a runner.
On the replay it looked like Adam stuck his hand in the way of the throw. The fact he slid towards Theriot, and not towards the bag, seemed to bolster this. However, (a) Wainwright is 6'7", and Theriot 5'10", so even as he gets down he's still in the way, (b) Wainwright missed his calling as a volleyball middle-blocker if he's able to predict with that much accuracy where the ball will be before it leaves someone's hand, so it was probably a fluke, and (c) why on earth would a pitcher attempt to block a thrown ball (probably moving at what, 70+ MPH?) with his PITCHING HAND.
The umpire called it incidential contact and that (to my mind) was correct. Of course, if Zambrano had been hit on the pitching hand instead of Wainwright, it clearly would have been interference.
- Piniella's pitching/outfielder adventure was amusing, but didn't change the outcome. It would have much more fun if our Hoffpauir had lifted a fly ball to left. Although the result would have sucked, wouldn't it have been cool to see a pitcher catch a fly ball then throw out a runner at home plate? How many times has that ever happened?
At any rate, a split of the series will work. The Cardinals didn't bury the Cubs, like they could have with a 4-game sweep; we all knew that was a long shot, however, given how Thompson had struggled in his previous 3 starts (and validated by his effort on Saturday). And Lohse was not sharp in his first start off the DL, which I probably should have expected; drawing Zambrano didn't help either.
We'll look at it this way - a 10 game road trip, through (a) a pre-season favorite to win the Division, (b) a team that thinks it has a shot to contend, and (c) last year's defending Division champ, which ends 6-4, is a success. They left tied for first; they come to the break witha 2.5 game lead in the division, and having picked up ground on every team in the division except Houston (who were 3.5 back on 2 July and still are).
They play .540 ball the rest of the way they win 88 games. And that might just be enough this year in the Central.
HR Derby tonight, ASG tomorrow, off-day Wednesday.
Post plans for this week include first-half grades for the team, a Musial v Pujols article, and the next Series Preview. So stay tuned for that.