The Redbird Report 10/01

The Cardinals started the season by losing their first three games and ended it by winning their last five. Their true worth is somewhere in between, but all interested parties know that the total product must be improved next year. "I don't think we can (hold the line on payroll) in this market to be competitive," said general manager Walt Jocketty.

Club officials believe the payroll must rise to the $110 million neighborhood, which, depending on which math you use, is $15 million more than it is now.

The Cardinals had more than their share of injuries, not counting the death of pitcher Josh Hancock, but Jocketty said, "The worst thing to do is sit back and wait and assume guys are going to be OK. I think it's better to be more aggressive. Then if we end up with a surplus somewhere we can deal with that."

Manager Tony La Russa agrees there needs to be a facelift. "Part of that facelift can't come from within the organization," he said. "If that's the case, you have to go out and trade or sign free agents."

The weakness of the Cardinals this year was their starting pitching, which did not have a complete-game victory and only two pitchers in double figures, converted relievers Adam Wainwright (14) and Braden Looper (12). By contrast, Kip Wells and Anthony Reyes were a combined 7-31 as starters.

The strength of the club was its late inning relief although RHP Jason Isringhausen had only 34 chances to save games. He converted 32.

But too many times the Cardinals simply weren't competitive. They lost a club-record 38 times by five or more runs.

CARDINALS 6, PIRATES 5: OF Skip Schumaker had a 5-for-5 day and RHP Jason Isringhausen gained his 32nd save in 34 attempts. But 1B Albert Pujols failed to get to 100 in either walks (for the first time) or runs scored (for the seventh time), ending at 99 in both categories. The Cardinals' season-ending five-game winning streak tied their season high.

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