09/18/2004: Magic Number "pre-watch":
The good news: the Cards spanked the D'backs, 7-0, so the magic number goes down to 2 right now. Unfortunately, the Cubs are leading the Reds by three in the top of the 6th right now, so it looks like those bastards aren't cooperating with us. However, Lee Sinins, in his stathead newsletter today, informs us that the Cards have clinched a postseason berth (I assume that means that if the Cardinals somehow managed to lose every game from this point on, while the Cubs won all theirs, that we'd still win the NL Wild Card slot). However, with a 15 game lead at this point, the odds of that are, frankly, slim.
The bad news: Chris Carpenter left the game after (I think) three and a third innings, on the grounds that he'd sustained some sort of injury. Keeping all fingers and toes crossed that this isn't a season ending injury; we really can't afford to lose Carp for the post-season.
UPDATE: Grumbled too soon. Greg Maddux just let both D'Angelo Jimenez and Wily Mo Pena go yard with one man on (most uncharacteristic for Maddux), and the pair of two run taters erased the Cub lead. Right now, it's 6-4, Cincy. Hopefully, the Reds can keep that lead, so the magic number will go down to 1, so that the Cards can clinch the division tomorrow, with luck.
Meanwhile, they're calling Chris Carpenter's injury "a right biceps strain". Hopefully it's not serious; right now Tony La Russa is telling the press that Dan Haren will probably take Carp's next start as a precaution, but that they're not expecting him to miss the postseason.
I'm still keeping all those digits crossed 'til we know for sure.
Len on 09.18.04 @ 07:49 PM CST