Monday Blues Therapy Session

Pardon my french, ladies and gents, but its fucking Monday.   Nobody likes Monday.   It’s the stinky bitch in the flower shop.  The slow clerk on drinking night.  The person at the laundry mat who doesn’t understand personal space, breath mints or believe in body soap.  Monday’s suck.   The adjustment period is longer than usual, the nerves are raw and the mood swings like a gazelle.  My words aren’t going to turn your day around, but they may work faster than coffee.  I dish it one way here.  Brutal and coldly honest.  There are no lies here.  While I’m not always right, I’m firm.  This is the gunslinger nerve center of news production.   I don’t pull any punches, especially when I see blood dripping.  Lets get started, shall we?

News of the Moment…

-Cards Win

-Rams Lose

-Obama changes his suit

-Martha Stewart’s daughter bitches about a strict childhood

Goodnight, right?  No fucking way.  I must investigate and explain everything, and find an answer to everything.  It’s a condition Bill Simmons likes to call “what I do”.  Lets roll down the list.

Cards Steal A Win in Philly

Something tells me people will double check the box score for evidence that this team came back from a 4-0 deficit to beat Cliff Lee.   Lee established a hittable strike zone early, and the Cards pounced after Chris Carpenter’s ill fated 3 day rest experiment failed and produced a 4-0 Phillies lead.  Ryan Theriot got a key hit, the bullpen acted like the red cross and Albert Pujols put the Cards on top for good for a 5-4 win.  Allow me fire off the details.

*Carpenter’s 3 day rest start didn’t work out well.  From the first signs of fatigue(three hitters reaching before an out), Carp didn’t look sharp.   Sunday’s start was the first on 3 days rest, and historically, starters going on 3 days of rest don’t fare too well.   The previous 6 starters who pitched on 3 days of rest for Tony La Russa carried an 18.00 ERA(thank you Bj Rains).  Carpenter lasted 3 innings, threw 60 plus pitches and looked a shade of the man who dominated the Astros days earlier.   While I supported the move on Friday when it was announced, I second guessed myself last night.   Why upset a working machine that produced quality starts for the past 2 weeks?  Throwing Carp out there told us La Russa had zero confidence in Edwin Jackson making a solid start.  Jackson has been just as consistent as Carp since late July, so it makes zero sense.  If anyone could go on 3 days rest here, it was Carp, but why here?  Carpenter threw 106 pitches on Wednesday and was tired.  Bad idea, genius Tony.

*After stranding 3 key runners in the first part of the game, the Cards bang out clutch hit after clutch hit.  A Yady Molina single, Ryan Theriot’s double and Jon Jay’s single pull the score even before Albert Pujols cranks an RBI single to put the Cards up 5-4.  After failing to get a key hit, the Cards break through on Lee in the 6th and 7th innings.   Charlie Manuel will second guess leaving Lee in to face Albert before the big hit.

*The Bullpen rescued Carp and La Russa.   6 scoreless innings with only one hit allowed.  Fernando Salas pitched 2 quick solid innings, Octavio Dotel followed with an inning and a third, Marc Rzepcynski pitched 1.2 innings, Arthur Rhodes got 2 outs and Jason Motte recorded 4 outs on 9 pitches for the save.  Motte threw 9 strikes, including a 3 pitch blowout of Raul Ibanez in the 9th.  Rhodes threw a nasty curve to put down Ryan Howard in the 8th as well.   A suspect bunch early in the season has become a valuable weapon for weak starter work late in the season.  After blowing a 6-3 game wide open on Saturday, the Cards bullpen recovers to give the bats a chance to get back into the game.

*Lance Berkman put it best.  Anyone who is surprised by the comeback belongs to the same group who counted us out on September 1st while we were 8.5 games back of the wild card.

*Sunday’s win sends us home for a Tuesday and Wednesday game.  Jaime Garcia faces Cole Hamels on Tuesday in a vital game that decides the swing of the series before Edwin Jackson takes the mound for Game 4, leaving Game 5 up to Kyle Lohse if it is needed.  That’s the real problem with throwing Carp on 3 days rest.  He doesn’t get to start at home on normal rest in a game that could’ve knocked out the Phillies in Game 4.   Now, Lohse gets that game.

*What happened to Kyle Lohse and the Cards in Game 1 on Saturday?  After Berkman’s three run homer and Skip’s leadoff single in the 2nd, the Cards didn’t hit a single ball out of the infield until the 8th inning and Roy Halladay retired 21 straight hitters.   Lohse blew up in the 6th inning, his third time through the order, which I predicted.  He threw a horrible 3-2 changeup that Ryan Howard blasted for a 3 run homer.  2 hitters later Raul Ibanez blasted a 2 run homer to make it 6-3 Phillies.  Mitchell Boggs, Rzep and Rhodes made it 11-3 before the Cards tacked on 3 runs in the ninth.   Lohse proved an old point of mine.   More times than not, decision making and not nasty pitching gets you killed in the major leagues.  Lohse threw close to 80 pitches and only really made 2 horrible mistakes.

*The Cardinals control their fate now and need to use these next 2 home games to turn the tables on the NL favorite Phillies.  Remember, nobody expects the Cardinals to win more than 1 game in this series.  This team has been defying expectations since day 1 in April, so don’t expect them to go quietly.

*Big factor in Tuesday’s game.  Will Allen Craig see one fastball from Hamels after he took Cole deep twice 2 weeks ago in Philly on two plate hugging fastballs?  Craig is a dangerously unknown power bat who has eased the absence of Matt Holliday, so it will be interesting to see Hamels treat him with a heavy dose of changeups.  Craig is still adjusting to changeups so good luck to the kid because Hamels made a name for himself in this league off that pitch.

Tuesday’s Lineup has to look like this-

Furcal, Craig, Pujols, Berkman, Freese, Molina, Theriot or Punto, Jay, Garcia

Every time I look at what this team has done it amazes me.  Their September comeback.  Their comeback against Lee in Philly.   The Cards backs are against the wall constantly and they respond by pushing off and throwing more punches.   They are a resilient pack of rogues and won’t die easy.  Red October is alive and well.

P.S.-Fuck you Cubs fans.

The Rams Drop to 0-4

Folks, there is nothing encouraging about this team’s play.    The Rams are playing pathetic, careless, reckless and straight up lousy football in 2011.   Forget the 4-0 preseason.   Think about the 0-4 regular season.  On Sunday, the Washington Redskins did just enough to stop us, scoring 17 early points and hanging on to beat us 17-10.  The Rams score one offensive touchdown again and still haven’t taken a snap from center with the lead.   Lets roll down the quick list of casualties.

*Sam Bradford didn’t play well or ruin his team’s chances.  Bradford threw for 164 yards on 20-43 passing.  However, he was sacked 6 times and hurried at least 10 other times.   His offensive line and receivers give him zero help.  Bradford also fumbled a ball that turned the tide of a huge drive.  For the fourth game in a row, Bradford has committed a horrible turnover.  He has been good but not great, and isn’t seeing any help.

*The receivers can’t catch.   Lance Kendricks, Austin Pettis and Brandon Gibson all dropped big passes that were put on the money by Bradford.  If you can’t catch, you can’t play professional football.   Kendricks is also busy getting 2 false start penalties.  The kid is talented yet stupid.  5 key passes were dropped and killed drives.

*The Offensive Line couldn’t block a defensive line made up of nuns right now.  Jason Smith committed 3 penalties, can’t pass block, and looked lethargic.  The entire line looks average and can’t keep Bradford on his legs or give him time.  This is their one job.  Create room for their quarterback and keep him clean.  The Redskins got pressure on every single defensive play, making Bradford uncomfortable and effective in the pocket.  Unless this line shapes up and earns the 90 million spread around it, Bradford will turn into Bulger 2.0.   Looking over his shoulder at restaurants, ducking and diving in traffic and wincing at the highlights.

*Penalties kill teams.    The Rams lead the NFL in penalty yardage.  They committed 10 penalties on Sunday for 69 yards, and can’t seem to stay away from the improper play.   Penalties show signs of undisciplined football, like we aren’t doing anything correctly.  This is hard to watch football because we shoot ourselves in the foot so many times.

*The outlook is bleak.   After an early bye week next Sunday, the Rams go to work against Dallas, Green Bay and New Orleans.   Blame the schedule makers all you want but rest your eyes on a team that can’t score points, stop the run or play sound football.

*The dropped passes make you wonder how Bradford longs for the Holt-Bruce days of easy catching and running.   If you asked Bradford if he would trade a testicle for the services of Calvin Johnson, what do you think he would say?

*Sam Bradford is an elite quarterback playing on an average team.  That’s what it looks like right now.

*Steven Jackson rushed for 50 yards and scored a touchdown.  Decent if a soft running day for SJ39.   Maybe he isn’t healthy or maybe The Redskins contained him.

*Steve Spagnuolo is on the hot seat.   If the Rams continue to lose with increased expectations this season, Spags will be in jeopardy.  Is that fair?  I think Spags is doing a good job, but if his players can’t adjust, the coach is the easiest person to cut loose.  Spags means well with his 4 pillars, his slow approach, easy whip, but he needs to send a charge into this team or risk losing his job.   A tough schedule gets you only so far.  He knows this as much as we do.   The issue isn’t the record but the manner in which the Rams are losing.  The effort is lacking and the lifeless play is throwing dirt on this season where the Rams had the grasp on the division crown.   Look at the standings folks.  The Rams are the only team without a win.

*Ugly stat.  The Rams have allowed 113 points and only scored 46.  A league worst point differential of minus 67.   How can you tell this will improve?

*That’s the disgusting part about this team.   How do we turn it around with the tough schedule?  Who is the easy game now?  We may walk into the Arizona game 0-7 on November 13th.   This season is slipping away from this team very quick.   Home town media pundits can splash kool aide freshner on this bonfire but the real fans see through the happy smoke.  The Rams can’t catch passes, can’t protect the quarterback, can’t avoid costly penalties or get out of the way of incoming gunfire.   The defense is the lone bright spot this week.  They intercepted Rex Grossman twice and kept the Skins in check after a rough first half.  Now James Lauranitis has to ask the tough questions from his defense about leadership and skill.

Get ready for sudden death with the Rams.  They may turn it around or they may finish 3-13 again.   I can tell you right now I am not surprised at the record but disgusted by the details.  How does that change?  A Spags vocal assault that makes every news strip on the world circuit pause and take a look.  He needs to light a fire under this team and point fingers.   Tell Smith if there is one more false start, there will be no food after the game.  Tell Kendricks to catch the ball or lose a finger.  Tell the penatly loves to cool it.  The Rams must play smarter football or they will die.

Blues Bit-

When the regular season starts in a week, this team gets a real section.  For now, it’s quick bits and observations.  If that’s not enough, write me your thoughts and I’ll respond.   Here’s what I know after the last preseason game on Saturday.   Jaroslav Halak is still giving up soft goals and had a bad preseason.   That doesn’t mean he’ll become an easy target this month, but it does sound off warnings about his weaknesses becoming a factor.   He is the anchor this season.  To quote Backdraft, if he goes, this team goes down with him. Young big body forward Evgeni Grachev made the team after B.J. Crombeen broke his shoulder on Saturday.    Grachev is a big forward who is physical and can move the puck and make plays.  Hold onto players like him.   His age is his biggest weapon.   Brian Elliot won the backup goalie spot and Ben Bishop whined like a little bitch.  Cut the oversized freak.   Elliot is decent and has experience but remember what I said earlier.  We won’t win a Stanley Cup with Elliot in net.  He is an insurance policy.  Love the 1-2 big vet tandem of Stewart and Backes and the 1-2 young defensive combo of Pietrangelo and Shattenkirk.   This team is built with so many weapons that it makes this season highly anticipated.   With the Rams reeling and the Cards finishing in a month or less, this city will lean on the Blues for awhile.  Are they up to the task?  We will all find out on Saturday when the Blues open up the season at home against Nashville.

NFL Bits-

*The 49ers upset the Eagles, beating them 24-23 after the Philly kicker missed two easy field goals.   Michael Vick threw fro 416 yards yet still lost and pouted about it.  The 49ers are 3-1 and leading the NFC West.  I think I threw up a little in my mouth.

*Tony Romo returned to chokeville and coughed up the game against the Lions yesterday.  Leading the game by 14 points and heading into cruise control, Romo threw a pair of pick 6 returned interceptions for a score.  After 2 weeks of “tough play”, Romo returned to his roots and sucked it up.  This puts a smile on my face after the Rams washed it off.

*Which record surprises you more?   Vikings or Rams going 0-4?  My bet is on The Vikings, who came stacked with better players and an easier schedule.   Donovan McNabb is having a dismal season and the defense is sinking quickly.

*The Baltimore Raven carve up the Jets and the Steelers lose to the Texans.  The Ravens own the NFL’s best point differential at plus 62 and are putting up points on both sides of the ball.   The Ravens more consistent play puts the Steelers season in jeopardy and makes their next matchup so important.  The Steelers can’t afford to lose any more right now.

Random Bits-

*Martha Stewart’s daughter is saying she was under strict expectations growing up.   What did you think was going to happen in the household built out of a fucking catalogue, kid?   Sweet loving days.   Get this kid some good meds.

*Barack Obama changes his suit and gets back to work.  I had nothing and wanted to see the political hard on crowd bite here and do some scrolling.  Suckers!  There’s nothing new with politics.  It’s the same old game, played the same way every day.   Lies, lies, lies.  I’d rather go watch Clooney play an Obama type who’s carrying a secret that top aide Ryan Gosling is trying to figure out rather to spread or not in the new film, The Ides of March.  This is Clooney back in triple threat mode.  Writing, directing, producing and acting.  Watching politics on screen is far more entertaining and worth my time than watching the same bullshit unfold in real life.

*Hugh Jackman’s new action film, Real Steel, looks retarded on first glance, but if you grew up on rock em sock em robots and crave a father-son story at the heart of a robot tale, go check this one out.   A film about a future without human boxers and full of robot fights. Jackman’s an ex boxer turned trainer who puts new life into a washed up robot with his son in order to win the title.   Same old story, coated in a new paint and with new stars.  Jackman gives this film hope with his screen presence.

TV Recaps-

*Hung on HBO-I like this show for a few reasons.   First, Thomas Jane’s lead performance as Ray Drecker is perfectly low key, confident and anchors the show in the roughneck job chasing soul of Detroit.  This show is about fighting the recession with your own fiery persona and will.   The opening credits show Ray dressing down out of a suit while walking across town and jumping naked into a lake.   Ray is fighting fire with fire and thats the pulse here.  Jane Adams, Rebecca Crestkoff and Anne Heche are all good as the women in Ray’s life, but Jane owns the show and sells the lead role of a man using his big cock as income.   It shows that at the final wit end of America’s economic turmoil, you rely on what you were born with.  Good looks, charm and a long up to the task friend down below.   This isn’t a full blown comedy.  It’s a dark comedic satire with hints of drama.   Check it out.  It’s underrated and features plenty of erotic nudity.

*HBO also came back with How to Make it In America, the guilty pleasure of cable television.   Bryan Greenburg and Victor Rasuk are back as Ben and Cam, the fashion designers trying to make it on their own in the hard charging clothing world in New York.   This show moves quick and carries an Entourage like feel because of the familiar setup.  Young friends from NY try to make a name for themselves in a busy and tough profession.  I dig it because of the authenticity of the script and the camraderie between the friends.   Also, co-stars like Luis Guzman, Lake Bell, and Kid Cudi don’t hurt, and neither does a 26 minute running time.  Fast paced guilty pleasured fun on HBO.

*Checking out Dexter and Boardwalk tonight.

What else???

*Song of the Day-A slow boiler from Greys Anatomy alternative loving soundtrack.  Here’s Ben Francis Leftwich’s slow moving yet sweet “Atlas hands”.  Appreciate the sincerity and pain in the words.

http://youtu.be/zMHLiHg8fD4

*Showtime’s underrated yet powerful ode on the deadly collateral damage of cancer, The Big C, pulled zero punches in its second season finale.  Laura Linney’s triumphantly free performance is the mint here but the cool quality is the way this series doesn’t manipulate you into watching it with sappy melodramatic scenes of cancer drama.  The blows are dealt at unexpected times in this world, and I appreciate that.  Here’s to a third season.

*Cancer sucks because it takes people you know when you least expect it.   A co-worker of mine passed away last week to lung cancer and while we weren’t close friends, I knew her well, got along with her and will remember her very finely.  She always smiled when I came around and I won’t forget it.  A disease like this doesn’t care about memories or feelings.  It’s a deadly deal that stacks the deck in its favor every time.   Cancer truly sucks because the fight isn’t fair and the selection process isn’t kind at all.  How many 6 year old fall victim and how many mothers and brothers are taken too early?  I’ve lost friends and co-workers and it’s never a fair shake.

*Daddy Blog Bit-Dealing with your kid getting sick is heavy duty for the first few months.   Stomach aches, fevers and ear infections will happen, and how I deal with them will shape me as a parent.   Vincent is getting put through the ringer and is a strong kid and will plow through any sickness.   That is for sure.  How Rachel and I handle it is the real challenge?  Do you act quick and take him to the doctor every time he shows signs of abnormal disgust?  The answer is easier said than done.  Parenting 101 includes a heavy dose of versatility in reaction.

That’s all folks.  Thanks for playing.   Come back for more.  Goodnight.

-D.L.B.

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