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Branch Barlow: Cardinals Columnist

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Greetings. Your usual Semper Cardinalis writer couldn't make it today, so a real journalist with a degree in journalism is going to class up this joint. My name is Branch Barlow and you know me as the lead sports columnist at the St. Louis Reader and Press, the city's leading newspaper not founded by the mob. I'll go over the last few games to show you just how the Cardinals organization, lead in the shadows by VP/Farm Director Jeff Luhnow and his puppet John Mozeliak, is choking the life out of this team to prevent its success.

Game 72 vs. S.F., L 10-0: The Birds on the Bat didn't get ruffled in this game as phenom Tim Lincecum pitched a near perfect game. Mark DeRosa made his debut at the Cards hot corner and went 0-for-4. I can already hear the uproar from the fans. DeRosa, if you don't know, DeRosa was brought over from the Cleveland Indians for Chris Perez and another Cabbage Patch Kid. That's what I call Cardinal prospects drafted under the Jeff Luhnow administration because they are overhyped and generally worthless today. All the fans that love the Cabbage Patch Kids hated seeing Perez go for DeRosa. They say it was too much. Listen, you can't keep all your prospects. They aren't all going to be Hall of Famers. Look at the stats, plebes. DeRosa is a league leader in RBIs. In other game news, Brad Thompson looked like a poor man's Todd Wellemeyer. The front office watches on as the rotation runs two pistons short.

Game 73 vs. S.F., L 6-3: Once again, Pujols was the only source of offense, this time on a night when Chris Carpenter had his worst start of the year. When are these guys going to wake up? Pujols isn't going to want to stay on a team that isn't committed to winning. Rick Ankiel went hitless again. Why does TLR keep running him out there every night? Ankiel is a crowd favorite and Chris Duncan is needlessly vilified. TLR feels the pressure. He knows who ultimately pays his salary. Did you know that around the Cardinals' front office, the farm system is typically called the Luhnow system? It's true.

Game 74 vs. S.F., W 1-2: Adam Wainwright's wonderful nine-inning, 12-strikeout performance was nearly spoiled once again by the anemic offense. I'm going to take some time to talk about Joe Thurston. Because of injuries to Troy Glaus, David Freese, and most recently Mark DeRosa (oh, the cries of the Cabbage Patch fans), Joe Thurston has played way too much. I know a lot of fans like his work ethic and his underdog appeal, but be reasonable. The guy has made a bunch of baserunning mistakes and he could have won this game in the 8th when he came to bat with the bases loaded, but, alas, he struck out. Strikeouts don't win games. Cabbage Patch Colby jacked the game winning home run in the 10th. Jeff Luhnow was seen digging the change out of the wishing well at Grant's Farm.

Game 75 vs. S.F., W 2-5: The Cards offense started coming alive and Todd Wellemeyer pitched seven scoreless before allowing a home run. Hopefully, Wellemeyer can continue this success because up to this point he has been a disappointment. He has been on thin ice, but his potential replacement, Brad Thompson, hasn't been any better. It's time the front office starts considering parting with some of their precious Cabbage Patch Kids for a real fifth starter. Ludwick is beginning to hit again, which will be essential for this team's success. Jeff Luhnow drove the streets of St. Louis last night, looking for dogs with collars to hit with his Lexus (he doesn't drive American).

Game 76 vs. Cin., W 7-4: The lame bats nearly got the best of the birds again but once again Albert Pujols bails out the team. Enjoy him now, fans, because if he doesn't get help soon, you will see him in Yankee pinstripes in 2011. This team would be the lowly Nationals without Pujols. The organization would just pocket the salary they pay him and we'd be looking at a 100-loss team. Oh and Cabbage Patch Kid Jarrett Hoffpauir hit a game winning single. Jeff Luhnow serves soup at local soup kitchens. It's glue-based soup.

Game 77 vs. Cin., L 2-5: When is this team going to hit with some consistency? I was embarrassed to see Ankiel and Duncan hitting back to back. The Reds' pitcher had more hits in this game than that drained duo. Thompson made his case to be put back into middle relief. The Cardinals, as of this game, are 12-for-75 with runners in scoring position. A lot of fans don't realize it, but .160 with runners in scoring position does not a winning team make. Jeff Luhnow despises Stan Musial because he isn't a 25-year-old in Double-A.

Game 78 vs. Cin., W 10-1: I can't say that I watched this game, kids, because Rick Porcello was pitching for the Detroit Tigers. Did you know that the Cardinals passed up on this can't-miss prospect simply because Porcello's agent, Scott something, wanted this high school pitcher to be paid a top major league salary? It's a glaring example of how the Cardinals organization isn't really committed to winning. I guess the Cards did okay in their game, though. I don't know. I like to call Jeff Luhnow "The Spirit of St. Louis" because he stole the Lindbergh baby.

Okay, sports fans, catch me in the Reader and Press. I plan on breaking down the Rams' playoff chances as of July 6.

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