GAME 151: Bellyflop
A team-wide failure by the Cardinals assisted a tough Roy Oswalt as the Cards lost 9-2 to the National League East champion Philadelphia Phillies. The loss drops the Cards 4.5 games behind the Braves, but also seriously embarrasses a strong, season-ending comeback and potential wild-card run.
SHITBROOK: If you have a big game to win, Jake Westbrook is the exact opposite of who you’d want pitching it. He’s the starting equivalent of Sanford and Sons’ backyard: useless junk collected in one place. Once more, the Cardinals looked to Westbrook to pitch six innings of competent baseball, but he couldn’t do it. I guess he was too busy thinking about all of the money he didn’t earn by pitching like a a lobotomized Kyle Lohse.
I HATE ROY OSWALT: I don’t really, but boy the guy scares me. I still haven’t forgiven him for his 2005 emasculation of the Cardinals in the playoffs. He was downright nasty tonight. I don’t usually talk about the opposition, but Oswalt deserves it.
BUDDIES NO MORE: How great was it to see Lance Berkman, suddenly rejuvenated, stealing a base off of former teammate Roy Oswalt?? After yesterday’s desperate dive to first base and tonight’s scrambling stolen base, Berkman looks like a twenty year old rookie out there.
HOMER KING: Kyle McClellan gave up his TWENTIETH home run, which proved to be the game winner for Philly. That seems incredibly high for a player with his stuff, doesn’t it? Overall, I’d say that K-Mac has had a successful season, the runs are a little disturbing at this point.
SLIGHT COMEBACK: The Cards showed some signs of life once Oswalt was removed in the seventh. Four straight hits from the middle of the order brought the tying run to second with two outs and Allen Craig at the plate (I can’t believe TLR didn’t pinch-hit here). A groundout ended the threat, and the night.
MASTERMIND: How many pitching changes can TLR make in one series? He’s surely headed for a record of some kind in this showdown with Philly. After using seven pitchers last night, TLR burned up five more tonight. Hell, he even used Mitchell Boggs in a moment of absolute need. If TLR is such a genius, then why does he play every inning like it was the last one of the year, without any thought of tomorrow?
SCRABBLED: After the Cards crawled back to within a run of the Phillies, Marc Rzepczynski strolled to the mound and immediately screwed their comeback. An error by new third baseman Daniel Descalso set up an unearned run, followed by two hits and a HBP to load the bases before striking out Ryan Howard. We will probably not see Zeppo again this year.
THE ENDLESS EIGHTH: So TLR made his 539th pitching chnage of the game, bringing in Octavio Dotel to relieve Zeppo with the bases loaded. Dotel induced Hunter Pence to hit a ground ball to Furcal, who threw to first instead of second because Ryan Theriot didn’t cover second base (I mean … DUH). Pence beat the throw, scoring a run and bringing up Raul Ibanez, who smashed a grand slam to really put the Cardinals in the clink. I could’ve coughed up a bloody hairball after this happened.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Theriot. Thanks for reminding us why we don’t want you playing defense!
CONCLUSION: You’d hate to expect perfection every night, but that is really what is needed at this point. There isn’t any room to maneuver. If they’re going to win, they need to win every game. There is no more time for pitching and defensive collapses like this one.