GAME 39: Inexcusable
Facing baseball’s best team in May, the Cardinals’ offense fought valiantly while everything else collapsed as the Cardinals (22-17) dropped a walk-off loss 6-5 to the Dodgers in Los Angeles in the worst way imaginable.
BRUTALIZED: Looking more and more human these days, Lance Lynn was mauled by the Dodgers’ potent offense in the second for three runs on four straight hits. And these weren’t Pujols-like dinkers to the shortstop, either – the Dodgers ripped two doubles and a triple in the inning. Of course, Lynn wasn’t helped by the fact that Carlos Beltran is currently able to run as fast as a crippled boulder. Still, they weren’t missing Lynn’s stuff – welcome to the big leagues, buddy!
EGOTASTIC: Is it my imagination, or have the umpires been a real problem in the league this year? Home plate umpire Tom Hallion enjoyed the latest ego trip, tossing Dodger manager Don Mattingly out of the game because he said something from the dugout during the third inning. If these umpires think that players and coaches should have NO opinion on the course of the game, then they have the wrong idea. The league needs to get control of these guys.
FIGHT BACK: Give the Cardinals credit – they fought back admirably. Tyler Greene bunted his way on in the third, and came around to score thanks to some bad plays by the Dodgers. Then Matt Holliday followed a Matt Carpenter RBI single with his ninth home run, a two-run shot, to put the Cardinals in the lead (for once).
GOOD CALL, BAD OUTCOME: I would’ve made the same decision as Matheny in the seventh to leave Marc Rzepczynski in to face James Loney with runners on first and second in a tie game. Loney, a left-handed bat, has struggled so far this year. Besides, that is the primary reason to have Zeppo on the team – to neutralize left-handers. It just didn’t happen, and Loney slapped a single to score the go-ahead run for the Dodgers late in the game.
JUST LIKE 2011: Lance Berkman came in to pinch hit for an ineffective Shane Robinson (0-3 with two strikeouts) with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, and demolished a Kenley Jansen fastball for a game-tying home run. Did anyone notice that the broadcast gave credit to “Shane Robinson” for the home run? Berkman looked ecstatic as he rounded the bases, thoroughly enjoying his David Freese moment. It was not to last.
PITIFUL: Fernando Salas came on in the bottom of the ninth of a tied game and asked to simply hold the Dodgers in place. However, Salas and his 5.52 ERA managed to secure only one out in the midst of a hit and three walks that basically served the Dodgers a win on a tarnished silver platter. The final insult was a four-pitch walk to A.J. Ellis with the bases loaded; Salas wasn’t even close. Matheny should’ve pulled Salas in this situation, since he obviously had nothing. I think Yadier Molina‘s reaction to the final pitch – storming off while slamming his hand into the baseball – speaks volumes about the frustrations of the bullpen this year.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Berkman for those momentary dramatics.
CONCLUSION: Another awful performance filled with errors, missed plays, and terrible situational pitching. We won’t be leading the Central for long if this is our best effort.