I didn't really expect the 20-2 beating at the hands of the Phillies, that the Cardinals endured on Friday night, in front of the hometown crowd, but at the same time, the loss, once again, the loss of the first game of a series, didn't surprise me as much as one might imagine.
Its something that I rarely do as a Cardinal fan, but I admitted on a radio program this week in Des Moines Iowa, that despite the Cardinals and Phillies having the same record coming into this three-game series in St. Louis, that the Philadelphia team was clearly the better team on paper. Of course, the game isn't played on paper.
Prior to the start of this season, I projected that the Cardinals were a much better team than the 'so-called' experts in the business were expecting and at the time, other than the managing editor here 'in the House', Brian Walton, there wasn't a lot of fans or writers on the Cardinals bandwagon.
After a split of the first two games this weekend, the Cardinals and Phillies still share the same 41-29 record and seats on the Cardinals bandwagon are getting hard to find.
Lee Hurwritz of MLB.com said it best in his headline this morning at www.stlcardinals.com, Resilient Redbirds go for series victory.
Perhaps no other word describes this team any better than 'resilient', they have taken some beatings this season, some of them embarrassing like Friday night, but they have been knocked down in the first round often, losing the first game of a series, only to rebound seven times to step out of the ring as a winner.
Sunday the Cardinals will go for their 15th series win, to put this in perspective, the Redbirds series won-loss record to date is 14-3, not bad for a team that was suppose to dwell in the cellar this season, as part of the so-called transformation process.
We've seen eight players make their major league debut this season, my God, we had three key pitchers from the club making minor league rehab starts on Saturday alone, as there seems to be enough injured Cardinals to fill another 25 man roster.
Despite the injuries, the key losses of team leaders and the influx of rookies and minor league veterans, this team continues to march on, undaunted by the challenges and burdens that they have had to face in this somewhat turbulent season, as least as it is related to the roster.
The Phillies came to town and for some it looked like the Cardinals could be knocked downed this time and not get back up, but like the legendary Texas Rangers, this St. Louis team will leave a similar legacy, "they were men that wouldn't be stampeded."
IN THE NEWS
The City of Brotherly love? - The Cardinals will try to avoid losing their fifth straight series to the Phillies on Sunday when they wrap up their three-game set at Busch Stadium. St. Louis (41-29) came into the weekend having lost nine of its last 12 and four consecutive series to Philadelphia. Sunday's game is huge and the Cardinals will be sending rookie Mitchell Boggs to the mound to turn back the Philadelphia stampede. You have to love this game.
Mark Mulder, who had offseason surgery on a torn rotator cuff, allowed five hits in five scoreless innings, walking none and striking out two. He threw 47 of 73 pitches for strikes and got eight ground balls and three fly ball outs. He appears to be very close to ready to return to St. Louis, at least according to sources within the organization.
Matt Clement, followed Mulder to the mound Saturday in game two of the Springfield Cardinals double-header in an outing that can be described as positive, though not as effective as his left-handed teammate. Clement pitched five complete innings, the first three frames scoreless, before giving up three earned runs on five hits and striking out five on the day.
Rehabbing from Tommy John elbow reconstructive surgery, Chris Carpenter has been shut down after he has expressing some problems with his elbow, putting the projected All-Star break return in serious jeopardy.
Voting, if you haven't voted for Ryan Ludwick yet, get out to the ballpark, get online, do whatever it is you have to do, but get your votes in for Ryan, he clearly deserves to be an All-Star this season.
That's it for this Sunday morning, I'll be back here next week, sitting in for the SportsXchange with 'Sunday Morning Coffee' and the 'Cardinals Major League Notebook'.
I'll see you at the ballpark.
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I'm not sure why we have to do this legal mumble jumble copywrite stuff above, nobody ever copies off of me and what is even more embarassing is that no one has even ever wanted to steal my identity. Have a great day, GO CARDS.