If ever a team could use an occasional bloop hit and the surprise return of an aging star it was right there; heck, after watching Mark Mulder’s trade value and Albert Pujols go down for the count on the same afternoon the team could probably use a lecture from Bill Pulsipher on the dangers of depression among baseball players. It helped that Edmonds, Rolen, and Encarnacion–the makeshift, depressing middle of the order at present–combined to go 7-11 with 4 doubles. Maddux had extremely pedestrian stuff, even by his standards; it may be easy to fool Our Man Juancar, but if you throw at the strike zone without anything special on it he’s going to rear into his awkward swing and sock the ball.
Of course, it’s not like the Cardinals needed Maddux to pitch poorly; not with the National League Wins Leader on the hill. Marquis “outdueled” his mentor, inasmuch as one can call a combined ten inning, eleven run performance a duel. (Maddux didn’t have any bullets in the revolver after all, and Marquis shot himself in the foot two or three times.) Following the game, Marquis appears to have gotten totally wasted prior to addressing the media: “I’ve gone out and made 12 starts. The eight I’ve won I deserved to win.” (hat tip iron duke75.)
Now, it’s good for a player–especially one like Marquis–to be confident in his abilities, and on a literal level he deserved to win every one of those eight games because he qualified under the rules to win them, but I can’t imagine he was very pleased with his 5 inning/5 run/5 walk/5 strikeout performance. It just makes you wish this was 20 years ago, and people still overvalued wins enough to make a big deal out of signing Storm Davis. Jason Marquis for Bobby Abreu? Well, Abreu seems a little too patient, but Walt’ll get back to you.
Has Jim Edmonds come all the way through the looking glass? He led off his career as a Cardinal with a reputation as an injury and drama-prone outfielder whose mannerisms conveyed a general disinterest in the game. Now he’s a guy who, rather than going on the DL, filled the spot of somebody who was having one of the greatest seasons of all time–despite having played the position fewer than fifty times in his career. And then, most important of all for stories like these, unless you’re Willis Reed, he didn’t suck. Good stuff, now let’s see if Walt can get Littlefield to throw in the in-dash DVD player with Craig Wilson.