Too bad "The X-Files" craze passed years before Mark Mulder joined the Cardinals; this would be a perfect name for our would-be ace lefty--he's 1-5 with an ERA above 7 in the daytime, but at night, he's 12-1 and almost unbeatable. Spooky.
Of course, this begs the question about why LaRussa would continue to pitch Mulder in day games, but LaRussa's probably not that superstitious. He should, however, pay attention to the statistics. It is most encouraging to see Mulder's 4-hit complete game shutout Wednesday night, not to mention a nice little two-game winning streak against Arizona.
But as The Wolf told Jimmy, Jules and Vincent in the garage, "Let's not start [congratulating each other] just yet." (Hey, my mom reads this!)
After Carpenter and Mulder-under-the-lights, Matt Morris still needs to show he can be the #3 starter in the playoff lineup. Suppan's been very strong his last three starts, so he could still figure in the playoff picture. Marquis will almost certainly be in the bullpen, though that's not necessarily a bad thing--he could help keep Randy Flores and Ray King out of the game.
The offense has been better since returning from Chicago (though they could have hardly been worse), but don't even think that So Taguchi and Hector Luna can replace Larry Walker and Reggie Sanders. Provided that our starters return, the experience gained by our bench players could be an invaluable asset in the playoffs.
But there's still a lot of baseball to be played, and it's still too early to start talking about magic numbers (which is around 30, if you want to know). We've got a tough 13-game road trip that ends with three in Houston, and seven more games against the Cubs, who we've shown an infuriating inability to beat. But hey, in the words of Nuke LaLoosh, "I love winning! You know what I mean? It's better than losing!"