GAME 157: Self Destruction
With the despair of their crushing loss yesterday already growing long roots into their psyche, the Cardinals battled before limply folding 5-1 to the Chicago Cubs. Meanwhile, a newly-energized Braves ballclub defeated the Nationals, pushing the Cards back to three games with five to play. Do the math; it’s over.
SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL CARPENTER: Chris Carpenter did it all tonight. Not only did he pitch seven gutsy innings of one run ball, but he also executed a perfect suicide squeeze for the Cards’ first run. And you know what he received in support? Double plays and missed chances. I wonder if there is a pitcher in baseball who has suffered from a lack of support like Carpenter has this year. Only on the 2011 Cardinals can a pitcher worth 4.4 WAR (via Fangraphs) have a record of 10-9.
JUSTIFIED: In what must be considered TLR’s first acceptable managerial move of the year, he benched Rafael Furcal after his fifth error of the week last night. Of course, the long-awaited debut of Tyler Greene didn’t happen, though (“Take that, Mo!” – TLR). Instead, TLR went with Nick Punto. To neutralize that masterstroke of LaGenius, he put Punto in the second spot in the lineup, effectively destroying any possibility of offense. Neat.
POP THE CHAMPAGNE: The Cardinals have reached an important and telling milestone in their 2011 campaign – they came within one of the 53 year old record for double plays by grounding into three tonight. HOORAY! It’s like a porn star being famous for never being able to get an erection.
LITTLE LEAGUE STUFF: Every time a Cardinal batter swings at the first pitch for an out, they should have a million dollars taken off the top of their contract. There is absolutely no excuse to swing at the first pitch EVER. Mentally-challenged ballplayers at the Special Olympics take the first pitch, but not millionaire Cardinal hitters! I mean, I’ve seen more thoughtful patience shown by drunken gays humping a gloryhole at the local bathhouse. It’s absolutely inexcusable that Ryan Theriot – already fighting for a job – swung at the first pitch he saw with the bases loaded and one out in a tie game and bounced into an inning-ending double play. INEXCUSABLE. In my clubhouse, I would send his ass home immediately afterwards on a stretcher. And a million dollars poorer.
MAC ATTACK: Kyle McClellan really fell off the table in September. After several solid-to-excellent months, K-Mac has hit a roadblock. Part of the problem is exhaustion; this year K-Mac has faced more than double the number of batters than he ever has before. But the numbers aren’t pretty: opponents are slugging a ghastly .583 against him in September, with four home runs in 9 innings pitched. His runs-saved score in September is a -27.7; to put that into perspective, roadkill decomposing on the shoulder of highway 40 scored a -2.17. K-Mac came into tonight’s tied ballgame and blew it wide open by surrendering a three run homer. Shut him down.
BOGGED DOWN: Mitchell Boggs returned from his all-expenses paid trip to the doghouse. We were losing 4-1 at the time, so TLR felt that the time was right to air out Boggs’ 97 mph fastball in a losing cause. Unfortunately, Boggs gave up a run in his frame. Ticket holders to tomorrow night’s game will be able to enjoy a pre-game execution of Boggs on the Jumbotron, with Tony flipping the switch while smiling for the first time in decades.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Carpenter. Can we clone this guy?
CONCLUSION: The end has mercifully come. What seemed all but certain just 48 hours ago has completely evaporated, replaced by the faint whisper of the 2011 death rattle. Had they given it their best shot and lost, there would be no shame. But to come so far and toss it in the trash like a cold, used rubber is just hard to stomach. Truly disgusting and pathetic.