GAME 122: Jake Westbrook Sucks
Jake Westbrook did what he does best: give up flurries of hits while simultaneously crushing the hopes and dreams of Cardinal fans everywhere. The $8 million dollar man threw $2 changeups all night, giving the hapless Pittsburgh Pirates plenty to smash as the Cards dropped another game back with a 6-2 loss at PNC Park.
GUNNED DOWN: Lance Berkman has been almost all offense for the Cardinals this season, but every once in a while he uncorks a great defensive play. In the second, Berkman fielded a double by Ronny Cedeno and fired a terrific relay to Ryan Theriot, who then threw home to nail Ryan Doumit as he tried to score. In fact, the play wasn’t even close.
ENDLESS DUB: I swear to a non-existent God that this infuriating team could hit into a double play during batting practice. They hit into three more tonight, the brutal one coming in the fourth with two runners on. Watching this team play baseball is sometimes like watching violent Japanese torture porn without subtitles; you sit there, mouth agape, confused and in shock.
RELEASE JAKE WESTBROOK: Every single time Jake Westbrook pitches, you sit on the edge of your seat awaiting the inevitable moment when he unravels. You just know for certain that it’s going to happen. The guy junkballs everybody like a bearded Tim Wakefield. His “fastball” has no movement, his breaking stuff is worthless, and he stumbles around on the mound like a survivor of D-Day. You could spend $8 million dollars on Skittles and it would be a better use of the money.
REDEMPTION: Coming up with Pujols and Berkman on in the sixth, David Freese redeemed himself by lacing a clean single to left center (not an opposite field shot!) to plate Pujols. Sadly, that was all the Cards could make of the chance.
FIRST ERROR: Rafael Furcal has been pretty impressive at shortstop so far, but he committed an error on a throw home in the sixth. Yadier Molina clumsily bobbled the bouncing throw from Furcal, allowing the Pirates to score their fifth run. Bad timing for Furcal’s first miscue.
FATTENING ALBERT: All eyes are on Pujols’ steadily climbing average, which is inching closer to the coveted .300 mark. If Albert can reach .300 (along with 30 homers and 100 RBI’s), he will extend his remarkable streak to eleven straight years. His single in the sixth pushed his average to .289, the highest it’s been all season. Of course, his seventh inning strikeout with two on dropped that a little bit, and also reinforced the lingering idea that Pujols just isn’t as clutch as he’s been in the past.
THE INFAMOUS WALK: The Cardinals have the third lowest walk total in the National League, which is great. Unfortunately, every single walk this season has come around to score (I’m being slightly sarcastic). Both walks scored tonight, including the gut-punching sixth Pirates run on a walk to Ludwick and a double to Neil Walker. The curse remains!!
PLAYER OF THE GAME: You must be kidding. I guess I’ll give it to Freese for actually coming through in an RBI situation. Still, that feels like giving an award to a falling ball because it succumbed to gravity.
CONCLUSION: With their pennant race hopes hanging in the balance (Milwaukee was winning), this team responded by playing one of their most lifeless games of the past month. If this is a playoff team, then we’re in for a postseason that’ll make the 2006 run look like a team of destiny.