GAME 40: Bad Moon Rising
Wasting a good start from Jake Westbrook with errors is frustrating, and losing is never fun. However, a devastating injury to Lance Berkman cast a pall over the entire game and puts the entire season in jeopardy. The Cardinals (22-18) dropped an uninspired game 6-0 to the streaking Los Angeles Dodgers.
HOLLYWOOD JAKE: A slimmed-down Westbrook looked dominant tonight, striking out more than Clayton Kershaw and pounding the ball at the bottom half of the zone. Had his defense performed adequately behind him, he would’ve had a shutout through his seven innings. This was one of Westbrook’s better starts as a Cardinal, and he deserved better.
HURT BERK: My worst-case scenario came horribly true in the second. Justin Sellers hit a grounder to Rafael Furcal, who flipped a decent throw to first. When Lance Berkman leaned over to receive the throw, his right knee buckled unexpectedly. This was the same knee operated on several years ago, and the main reason why Berkman didn’t want to play first base. Now he is likely out for a very long time, possible the rest of this season. Devastating loss for a team already decimated by injuries.
MORE ERRORS: I cannot explain why the Cardinals are suddenly unable to field the baseball. They led the league in defense just three weeks ago. Now, they’re committing two errors a game. The real crusher was Matt Carpenter‘s error at first base with two runners on in the fourth. Carpenter decided to field an Adam Kennedy smash with a casual side-armed snag (which they teach you not to do in Little League … remember that?), and the ball skipped into right field for a two-run error. Do we need to go back to spring training, guys?
NOT FAIR WEATHER FANS: A beautiful night for baseball and the National League’s hottest team playing the popular Cardinals, yet Dodger Stadium is mostly empty. EMBARRASSING! California baseball “fans” are the worst!
MIMBO: Matt Holliday is living proof that muscles do not make someone an athlete. Holliday has a great body, but he fields his position like a cross-eyed moose. Holliday ran out toward the wall to handle a fly ball by Kershaw (the pitcher), and the ball bounced out of Holliday’s glove for a two-base error (they ruled it a hit, but gimme a break …). That opened the door for a four-run Dodger seventh. Perhaps Holliday should spend more time practicing his defense and less time spitting sunflower seeds all over the face of the planet.
NO RELIEF: Eduardo Sanchez came into a toxic situation, but he couldn’t stop the destruction. After Holliday’s bungling defense, a missed cutoff throw by Shane Robinson and several hits padded the Dodgers’ lead to 6-0 in the seventh. Meanwhile, the Cardinals looked like they just wanted to go back to their hotel, cuddle under a blanket, and watch pay-per-view. A brutal, demoralizing inning.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Westbrook, who definitely deserved more than this.
CONCLUSION: Let’s hope this is as bad as it gets for the Cardinals this year. A grotesque game filled with dispiriting defense and a devastating injury. Thank goodness it’s still early in the season.