GAME 33: Beached
Adam Wainwright endured his second-worst start of the season (there’s no topping his opening day nightmare), while the Cardinal offense hit a brick wall known as Brandon Beachy. Despite some late noise, the Cardinals (20-13) lost the game and the series to the Braves with a 7-2 loss at Busch.
REGRESSION: The last couple of starts for Wainwright seemed to indicate that he was close to his old form. Tonight, however, was a real step back. Waino threw 113 pitches in five laborious innings, and most of them were balls; Wainwright matched a career high with five walks. Two of those walks came with the bases loaded in a disastrous first inning that heard boos from the crowd. His fastball was high, the curve wasn’t breaking. Hopefully it’s a mechanical issue, and not a medical one.
THE HOT HAND: Sometimes even the best offenses come up against a pitcher who has everything working in his favor, and he shuts them down. The Cardinals managed just two hits in six innings against a masterful Brandon Beachy, who came right after every hitter. In fact, the Cards didn’t even have their first hit until the fourth. The Redbirds looked dazed by Beachy’s quick strikes and aggressiveness. It works that way sometimes.
KILL SHOT: The final nail in Wainwright’s coffin came in the fifth. Waino loaded the bases for the bottom of the Braves’ lineup, and gave up consecutive singles to Tyler Pastornicky and pitcher Brandon Beachy. Ouch! It was a miserable way to end a miserable start.
FAILURE TO LAUNCH: Like last night, the Cardinals had a bases-loaded chance to break the game open, and failed. They loaded the bases in the sixth with nobody out, and managed to score just one run. You’re not going to win many ballgames leaving the bases loaded that many times in a row.
THE RIGHT DIRECTION: Fernando Salas came on in relief of Wainwright, and pitched over two innings of scoreless baseball. This was one of the longest stints for Salas this year, and he was impressive. I’d like to see a few more of those from Salas.
ROMERO SUCKS: Why do we have such bad luck with left-handed specialists? Outside of Marc Rzepczynski, we haven’t had a solid lefty out of the bullpen since when? Steve Kline? Ken Dayley?? J.C. Romero continues the tradition of incompetence. Romero came into the game in the eighth and promptly gave up a home run to left-handed Michael Bourn (who doesn’t hit them). Getting lefthanders out is the only reason why Romero is on this team. I hope John Mozeliak is paying close attention to this problem.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: I guess Rafael Furcal, who extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a two hit night. Not much else good on our end tonight.
CONCLUSION: Bad pitching combined with a failure to get the big hit did the Cardinals in for the second straight game. Perhaps the return of Lance Berkman tomorrow will stimulate the team a bit more.