Cardinals’ injuries taking a toll with elimination near

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In some ways, the Cardinals are better off than most. They don’t lose much at first base with Matt Adams filling in for Allen Craig, and they’re still fine in the ninth since Trevor Rosenthal replaced the sore-shouldered Edward Mujica in the closer’s role. But the truth is that both injuries played huge roles in Sunday’s 5-3 loss to the Pirates.

With Adams filling in for Craig, here’s the Cardinals’ current bench: Adron Chambers, Tony Cruz, Daniel Descalso/Pete Kozma, Shane Robinson and Kolten Wong. There isn’t even one decent pinch-hitting option there. Wong, a rookie second baseman, is the talent in the bunch, but he hit just .153 in 59 at-bats after arriving in the majors. The Cardinals are down enough on him that he was left on the bench while both Kozma and Descalso hit against Jason Grilli in the ninth today.

Chambers is in the roster spot that would have gone to Craig. He went 4-for-26 in the majors this year.

And, of course, while Adams is probably a better hitter than Craig against righties, he was a far lesser option today against Francisco Liriano. He’s also the weaker defender, which played a role in Kozma’s throwing error in the two-run first inning today.

As for Mujica, well, he’s on the roster and available, but the Cardinals don’t trust him right now. That’s why Rosenthal wasn’t out there in a tie game in the eighth when the Pirates scored two runs today. That almost certainly would have been Rosenthal’s assignment a few weeks ago. Since he’s now the closer, he was held in reserve.

The Cardinals are also going it without Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, Jason Motte and Rafael Furcal, but those are injuries from several months ago. Had they known they’d be without Craig, they probably would have brought in some bench help prior to Aug. 31.

Tom Brady has moved into Derek Jeter’s mansion

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The Tampa Bay Times reports that the newest Tampa Bay Buccaneer, quarterback Tom Brady, has a new place to live in the Bay Area: Derek Jeter’s house:

Brady has arrived in Tampa Bay and is in the process of moving his family into the sprawling, 30,000-square foot mansion on Davis Islands built by Yankees Hall of Fame shortstop Derek Jeter, the Tampa Bay Times has confirmed. The home features seven bedrooms, nine bathrooms, an entertainment room and billiards room that wraps around a pool with two boat lifts providing access to Tampa Bay.

It’s like a crossover episode conceived by sports yakkers like me. It’s like a gift from Content Heaven. Like, I had NO reason to talk about Derek Jeter today, but now I can mention how much progress he has made as a human being. After all, a mere 16 years ago he wouldn’t move 25 feet to third base to make room for Alex Rodriguez — and wouldn’t move to his left for anything — but now he’s willing to completely move out of his house for Brady.

See, we can all grow, even in trying times like this. Bless you, Derek.