GAME 126: Unravelled
Anybody familiar with Jaime Garcia knows that the sixth inning is his danger zone. It happened again today, as the Reds jumped on Garcia for three runs (including a two-run homer by Jay Bruce). A game the Cardinals really needed to win slipped away with a 8-2 loss in Cincinnati on the day they honored the great Barry Larkin.
HEADCASE: I don’t call him Headcase Jaime for nothing. Garcia was good enough for the first five innings, surrendering just one run and pitching well enough around problems. But a questionable call at first base on a run-scoring single by Todd Frazier pissed off Garcia, who was clearly rattled. A few pitches later, Bruce crushed a two-run homer to put the Reds firmly in the lead. I’ve never seen a starting pitcher whose starts are so influenced by his emotions like Garcia. Can we get this guy some medication?
MIA: I didn’t go into this game expecting huge offense from the Cardinals, mainly because two of their clutchiest hitters were out of the lineup. David Freese sat out due to the contusion on his left wrist from being hit by a pitch yesterday. And Yadier Molina skipped the game due to knee problems stemming from yesterday’s odd buckling at home plate. This offense isn’t the same without those two.
TOOTHLESS: Only the 2012 St. Louis Cardinals are capable of getting ten hits and scoring only two runs. They managed just one extra-base hit (Matt Holliday‘s lone double) and could never seem to string hits together. Mystifying. This team has scored three runs or less in 43% of their games – try wrapping your mind around THAT. It’s like dying of asphyxiation in an oxygen tent. If the Cards don’t make the playoffs this year, the offense will wear a throny crown of shame.
CHOKE ON DICKSON: We’ve had such a marvelous string of bullpen work lately that nobody gave much of a thought to Brandon Dickson coming out in relief of Garcia in the seventh. But Dickson shit his diaper, giving up four ugly runs on four hits and two walks. Matheny stood on the top step the entire time, staring into space. Some will question Matheny’s reluctance/failure to pull Dickson, but the bullpen has had a huge workload recently dating back to last Sunday. Dickson was sacrificed. As it turned out, those four runs Dickson surrendered didn’t make much difference in the ultimate outcome.
CARLOST: I don’t mean to cop a squat on anyone’s delusions, but Carlos Beltran is REALLY slumping. Counting today’s miserable 0-4 day, Beltran is batting .232 since the All Star Break with just 20 RBI. Holy moly. We have no chance whatsoever if Beltran keeps this up.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Uh … Holliday had a double? I dunno.
GOAT OF THE GAME: Dickson.
CONCLUSION: This game came apart quickly, and the Cardinals had no answers. They mercilessly swung at everything thrown up there (no walks today) and the pitching mostly sucked. It was a pretty uninspired game. Seriously, the Cardinals MUST win tomorrow’s game – no excuses.