Bernie looks at the inconsistency in the St. Louis Cardinal starting pitcher Mark Mulder. Mark Mulder was traded from the Oakland As in the offseason and he’s never really lived up to his billing. Is this the revenge of the Beane?

Bernie does something he normally doesn’t do. He starts off windy. Very windy. It’s not until the sixth paragraph that he gets to the topic at hand, Mark Mulder’s inconsistent performance. Usually, Bernie leads are tight and to the point by the second paragraph. This time he adds some background on Randy Johnson and the New York Yankees. Maybe he had the words to waste:

Instead, Mulder mentally wandered off in the fourth inning, when the Yankees scored three runs to take a 4-0 lead and put this one on ice for the tormented Torre. It fell apart for Mulder because he walked the No. 8 hitter, Robinson Cano, who was batting .107 against lefthanded pitchers this season. Worse yet, Mulder had the rookie down 0-2 in the count and didn’t finish him off.

It’s not until two more paragraphs that we see where Bernie is going:

Mulder’s inconsistency is baffling.

Mr,. Stats makes up for it through in the next few paragraphs, finishing off his case with this evidence against Mark Mulder:

In his past six starts, Mulder is 2-3 with a 6.68 earned-run average. In a span of six days, he squared up against Clemens in Houston and Johnson in St. Louis and couldn’t hang with those old-school starters, allowing 10 earned runs in nine innings overall.

Of the five Cardinals starters, Mulder has the lowest rate of quality starts (46.1 percent). His ERA (4.30) ranks fifth in the rotation. The Cardinals gave Oakland three promising players for Mulder, and he was supposed to be a No. 1 starter. Instead, he hasn’t even been as good as Woody Williams, whom he replaced in the rotation.

Ding. We may just have a column here.

Bernie does quote Dave Duncan, the St. Louis Cardinals pitching coach:

Asked about Mulder’s inconsistency, Duncan said: “I wouldn’t say he’s been inconsistent. I would say he’s had some starts that were less than what we expect of him. The level of expectation is awfully high, though.”

No follow-up, but I think the quote speaks for itself, especially the level of expectation.

Bernie finished up with:

Six months after acquiring him from Oakland, the Cardinals still don’t know what they have in Mulder.

Sort of a let down. Where is the saber rattling?

Score: 6 out of 10