GAME 26: Amateur Night
Kyle Lohse suffered his first loss of the season, a clumsy, limply-played game by both the Cardinals and the Astros. After wasting several opportunities, the Cardinals (16-10) lost to the Astros 5-4 at an unusually loud Minute Maid Park.
SHORT HANDED: Prior to tonight’s game, the Cardinals received a double play of bad news. First, Carlos Beltran had a leg cramp that made him unavailable for tonight’s game. Then, Lance Berkman, currently on the disabled list, attempted to run for the first time in almost two weeks. Sadly, Berkman felt additional tightness and had to be shut down once more. When will the injury parade be over?
SLOPPY FIRSTS: I didn’t think I could see defense worse than what we saw against Pittsburgh, but the first game against the Astros featured three initial innings of embarrassing ineptitude. Astro Chris Johnson committed an error to allow Jon Jay to score the Cardinals’ first run in the first. Matt Carpenter returned the favor by completely misplaying a sinking liner that led to two runs in the bottom of the first. The Cardinals followed that with a second run on a balk by Astros starter Lucas Harrell. Then Allen Craig tossed a grounder into left field on a forceout that set up the Astros’ three run homer. ICK. Not exactly the kind of big league play you’d expect from these former rivals.
COMING DOWN TO EARTH: Did anyone really expect Kyle Lohse to give up just 0.99 runs a game? Of course not. Lohse was tapdancing around trouble like Fred Astaire all night; he never looked comfortable. The big blow was a huge three run homer surrendered to Jose Altuve. It seemed that Lohse struggled to locate his pitches, which caused a frustrated Yadier Molina to shift back and forth out of position to stop them. I’m sure it’s just a blip in what I expect to be a huge year for Lohse.
INFIELD ONLY: Matt Carpenter has played in the outfield a few times recently given the catastrophic injuries to our starters, and the results are displeasing. Yesterday he botched a catch in right field that was ruled a trap by the first base umpire. Tonight, he failed to catch a knee-high liner that was ruled an error and led to a run. After a hot start, it seems like Carpenter has really been exposed somewhat. Carlos Beltran and Lance Berkman cannot come back soon enough.
EVERYDAY JAY: I just want to publicly say that I’m falling in love with Jon Jay. Even when you mutter, “Eh, Jay is nothing special,” he does something that knocks you back in your chair. Like the sprawling, diving, Edmonds-like catch in left center to end a rough second inning. He is quickly turning into an indispensable part of this team.
QUICK CHANGE: What has gotten into Molina? The stumpy All Star catcher once had the foot speed of a lead refrigerator rolling uphill. Now, he’s a Puerto Rican Lou Brock. Molina would’ve easily stolen his fifth base of the season in the sixth had Carpenter not walked. I’m not sure what deal Mike Matheny made with Yadi, but it’s inspirational.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Holliday, although that final strikeout was pretty lame.
CONCLUSION: After the third inning, the Cardinal’s bats went silent. There were several innings where the Cardinals could’ve tied the score, but, for the second straight game, the Cards couldn’t get a well-timed base hit.