August 8, 2008

Edmonds flips off Tony

There's no better way for a player who was "shown the door" by those who mistakenly believed he was no longer of value than to "show them a pair," of home runs that is, but either way, Jim Edmonds was two parts of a three-count that pinned a loss on the Cards in extra innings at Wrigley Field.

Upon hitting his first home run, Edmonds made it a point to give the bat a bit of flip in the direction of Tony La Russa in the Cards' dugouts. Read into it what you will.

Cardinal Nation should be proud of the former Cardinals' standout, not because he did so much to beat the Redbirds on Friday, but because he is playing us just as hard as he played when he played for St. Louis.

Now, how do the Cards beat the Cubs on Saturday?

No easy answer there, except to do what the Cards always do: play hard every game as it comes.

The positive in Friday's loss is that the Cardinals found out they can play with the division's--and the league's--best. Now they have to take the disappointment of an extra-inning 3-2 loss and use it to motivate themselves to play that much harder in Saturday's game. There's really not a whole lot more to analyze.

Plenty to worry about, though, if that's your thing. Seven games behind the Cubs now looks like a cross-country trip on a tricycle, considering how tough the Chicago team is this year. How critical is this series? At this time of the season? Should the Cubs sweep, the Cards would fall to nine games out. Shudder to think it.

A split or a series win, on the other hand, keeps the Cards a lot closer to contention, at least from a momentum point of view.

And things won't get any easier, considering where the next leg of the road trip takes the St. Louis ballplayers. Yet by the time the Florida trip ends, the Cards will have a good idea whether they're going to be able to compete with the high-caliber teams they'll have to play better than in order to go anywhere in post season.

As for the actual game, it was one of those grudge matches, the best kind for true fans of baseball, as well as their favorite team(s). Low-scoring, pitcher's dueling, Ted Lilly for the Cubs, Braden Looper for the Cardinals. It would be Bob Howry (5-4) picking up the victory for the Cubs, however, the game having been knotted at 2-each.

Ryan Franklin (4-5) was saddled with the loss, in his second inning of relief, giving up a walk, then a single, then intentionally walking a batter because the Cubs had base runners on the corners. With the bases loaded and no out, the strategy enacted a force out at any base.

The Cubs next hitter, however, Henry Blanco, beat the strategy with a walk-off single to left center field.

On the day, the aforementioned Jim Edmonds had his pair of solo home runs. The Cards two runs were produced by a Joe Mather home run in the third and an Adam Kennedy ground ball that scored Skip Schumaker.

NOTE: There was no LIVEcast today due to an important meeting in Paris, Illinois. Saturday's LIVEcast is in limbo for the same reason, but if there is any way we can get it going, even a little late, we will, of course. Sunday's series finale is on our schedule.

photo by Barbara Moore