First, a Public Service Announcement: the United Cardinal Bloggers Radio Hour will continue on through the off-season, at least for now, and specifically for tonight. Dan Shoptaw will host today's show, scheduled for 7:30 PM Pacific time. Adjust your schedules accordingly. I hope to dial in and talk with him, as always, but that's contingent on a few other things lining up tonight.
It's been 4 days since the Cardinal season finished with a thud. I thought the Cardinals had a good chance of winning this series. I remember looking at various predictions of the NLDS, both at ESPN, CBS Sportsline, and other places, and virtually everyone picked the Cardinals to win in 4 or 5 games. That kind of uniform thought started me thinking something had been missed. For me, I didn't fully appreciate, until the series was over, how razor-thin the Cardinals' margin for error was. Their roster contained 4 players - Carpenter, Wainwright, Pujols, and Holliday - who in 2009 were arguably better than anyone the Dodgers could run out there at any position. However, looking at roster slots 5-25, the Dodgers were better. Better bullpen, better bench, better.
In order for the Cardinals to have won that series, their 4 studs had to play at their A-game level every game. Objective analysis indicates only Wainwright succeeded (8 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 7 K). AP (3-10, zero extra base hits) was largely neutralized, Holliday had a HR in Game 2 but was 1-11 otherwise, and Carpenter pitched poorly. With 3 of their 4 big guns scuffling, the team just didn't have enough to compensate.
I think the fact Troy Glaus got 2 post-season at bats underscores that point.
I said before Game 3, that when you find yourself pinning all hope to Joel Piniero (after August 1: 4.64 ERA, .738 OPS against), you're in trouble.
So the off-season started Sunday. I would expect there won't be much activity on any front until after the playoffs end around Christmas. As an aside, isn't is asinine all 4 LDS series are over but we still have to way until tomorrow for the LCS round to start? The Yankees will have had 5 days off between games, the Angels 4, the Dodgers 4, the Phillies 3. Why can't MLB run their playoffs like hockey does - once the two series winners are known, start the next round no more than 2 days later. All the excitement that had been generated last week is gone. No wonder MLB is losing the next generation of fans.
There are already reports that Ankiel probably won't be re-signed. Dave Duncan is leaning towards returning if LaRussa returns. LaRussa hasn't decided if he wants to manage yet next year. Then there's Molina being sued for failure to make contracted autograph appearances and other minutiae.
Anyway. This will be the fourth off-season for the ol' blog. I've got some things lined up - there are Baseball Bloggers Alliance award justifications to write, a fantasy baseball wrap, roster analysis, and so on - that will be up over the coming days/weeks. Not to mention stories as warranted about the ongoing playoffs. So check back - hopefully you'll find something worth reading.
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