Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Reeling Redbirds Crash-Land Again

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Reeling Redbirds Crash-Land Again

Article excerpt

It's about to get worse for the Cardinals - as if anyone thought it was possible.

Closing the regular season with a three-game series against the archrival Chicago Cubs should mean one final burst of excitement at Busch Stadium before shuttering the place until April. Friday's paid crowd of 36,488 will be the smallest one of the weekend.

That might simply mean more people on hand to watch a distressing end to a disappointing Cardinals season. Their 5-2 loss to the Cubs on Friday was the Cardinals' 89th setback in a season that began with anticipation of a division championship. It extended the club's losing streak to seven games, their longest since the Cards ended the 1990 season with seven losses in a row. Of course, the Cards didn't expect to be sending to the mound in September pitchers who spent most of the season trying to keep their earned-run averages below 4.50 at Class AAA Louisville. "I can't blame the young pitchers, though," manager Tony La Russa said. "We've been an under-.500 club all year long. . . . We played a long time without those pitchers, and we still weren't a very good team." With one more defeat, the Cards would have at least 90 losses for the 19th time in franchise history but the second time in the 1990s. The Cardi nals lost 92 games in 1990, the summer Whitey Herzog resigned as manager. Injuries have been blamed often for this summer's debacle. The Louisville Quintet - Mike Busby, Manny Aybar, Rigo Beltran, Sean Lowe and Brady Raggio - certainly wouldn't have started as many games this past month if Andy Benes, Alan Benes, Todd Stottlemyre and Donovan Osborne had been healthy. The numbers don't read well for the quintet since all of them were forced into more prominent roles in the big leagues than anyone wanted, at least this soon: 2-6 with a 5.50 ERA the past several weeks. …

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