GAME 47: Shut Down
The Cardinals (25-22) had no answer for the masterful change up of Kyle Kendrick, and they drop their third straight game to the Phillies 4-0 on a steamy night in St. Louis.
HEAD CASE: Jaime Garcia looked decent in the first couple of innings. then came the infamous Garcia Mid-Game Meltdown. I’m not sure what happens to Garcia in the fourth and fifth innings; perhaps he’s like Peter suddenly realizing he’s walking on water and starts to sink (ooh, Bible references!). And once again Garcia succumbed to his mental distractions when, in the sixth, he walked two batters before giving up a two-run double. I’ve discussed this problem with Garcia before, and he followed the pattern down to the letter. Perhaps Garcia will never transcend his mental problems.
TIP YOUR CAP: Kyle Kendrick was spectacular against the Cards tonight. Sometimes a pitcher just has the right stuff. Give him credit.
ROID RAGE: I don’t think I’ve ever seen Matt Holliday so angry as he’s been this season. Part of it obviously involves his early-season struggles, but he seems incredibly angry even after a called strike. Does he have a hormone imbalance? I worry that he might kill someone by the end of the year.
BACK FROM THE DEAD: Eduardo Sanchez was finally allowed out of his cage deep in the bowels of Busch Stadium. Sanchez looked scary, too, throwing the ball all over the place (including a very wild pitch) while Matheny glared out of the dugout. Still, Sanchez didn’t allow any runs, and isn’t that what we want out of him in the end?
UP CHUCK: Chuckie Fick, who just arrived at the ballpark hours before game time, made his major league debut in the ninth. He’s a tall, goofy 26 year-old who looked solid in his first inning of work. We’ll see if he provides some answers for a troubled bullpen.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: I’ll give it to Freese for being the only player with multiple hits tonight.
CONCLUSION: The Cardinals have lost 11 of their last 16. While the offense has been consistently good (well, not tonight), almost every other aspect has been off. Tonight, Garcia couldn’t take this game past the sixth, forcing the bullpen to handle three more innings. It all starts to add up. We need to get some players back and put them back in their traditional roles on this team.