Not to seem overly pessimistic, but with high expectations often comes excruciating pain. At the beginning of the year, my hopes for the Cardinals were somewhat optimistic with a certain amount of understandable trepidation. All of a sudden, we start looking pretty good and I assume we should win every damned game we play. It’s easy to complain, much harder to be realistic.

That being said, let’s begin with the complaining. What the piss is going on with Jason Isringhausen? As much as I love kicking a guy when he’s down, it’s almost tough to do this time. This past week he was a freaking Zippo in a fireworks factory. He blew two games in Colorado and one in Milwaukee all by himself.

Granted, these are two teams that seem better than they’ve played and they were bound to break out, but everyone watching those games, including Isringhausen, knew he shouldn’t be out there. He just completely lost it. In the post game interview he looked a little misty and said he was throwing like a second grader. If this wasn’t an insult to every second grader in the country, I might have almost felt sorry for the guy.

I will give him credit though; he ponied up and took responsibility for the fiasco. He said he was lost and that he needed to be replaced in the closer role. Tony Larussa is loyal to a fault with veterans, so Jason’s decree was probably about the only thing that could have stopped the bleeding in the near future. He was replaced by Ryan Franklin, sort of, and hopefully we can hold on to a lead now every so often.

Another big problem is starting to rear its ugly head. We don’t hit much with runners in scoring position. On Sunday, Jeff Suppan was a little careless in the first few innings and gave up some walks. Instead of cashing in, we let him off the hook time and time again. Yeah, yeah, he’s a crafty veteran and all that bullshit, but he was remarkably beatable and he got a victory despite of himself and because of us.

Part of the reason for this was also some poor-assed base running. While it’s sort of hard to criticize the guy, Albert Pujols needs to take his head out of his ass every so often. On Sunday alone, he ran into three outs and ran us out of three rallies. I can give him a break on one of them since he drew a throw and allowed us to score a run without a play at the plate, but the other two were pretty sad. His devil may care base running did help us win a game in Colorado, but that play could have very easily have went the other way also.

Albert is one of the greatest players because he knows how to play the game. He hustles and he’s smart. He stays within himself at the plate and doesn’t get himself out. It seems, however, that he may be reading a little too many of his own press clippings. He’s trying to win every game by himself, expanding the strike zone to try and get a hit and running the bases like a little leaguer who needs some Ritalin. He’s the best there is when he just does his job. He’s not helping anyone trying to everyone else’s job at the same time.

That’s all I have to complain about really. The starting pitching continues to be strong and the middle relief is still hanging tough. We’re just not a good enough team to be able to give away games with poor execution. We need to be sharp every damned day because our margin for error is almost non-existent. It’s too early to worry about the standings and the Cubs. It’ best just to bear down and win as many as you can. A victory now is worth just as much as one in August.