GAME 60: Lead By Example
After a brutal month for the rotation, Kyle Lohse crafted a marvelous 7.2 innings of shutout baseball as the Cardinals (31-29) defeated the Cleveland Indians 2-0 at a muggy Busch Stadium.
MUCH NEEDED: Somebody had to do it – the Cardinals needed a starter to step up and take control of a game. Over the last month, our rotation has been torched for an ERA over 5.00 and averaging around 5 innings a start. Lohse went out there and pitched his heart out, and it was inspirational. He gave up just three hits and two walks; he was never in much trouble throughout. AWESOME: This was the first time the Indians have been shutout this year.
A PRAYER: Can we please get Lohse more runs?? He has the worst support since Lindsay Lohan.
ANOTHER LINEUP: I don’t think a schizophrenic TLR would change lineups as many times as Matheny has recently. In another desperation lineup, Matheny assigned Yadier Molina in the third spot and put Carlos Beltran in center field (later changed, thank goodness). While I can’t say the moves helped, they didn’t hurt … and, given the current climate, we should be grateful for that.
BIG NIGHT: Carlos Beltran hasn’t looked great lately. He has been impotently flailing at breaking balls, and his frustration was only making the problem worse. Tonight, though, our smooth-swinging
right fielder center fielder went a convincing 3-4, which included a booming solo homer in the third to give Lohse a teensy little lead. In the process, Beltran padded his National League lead in homers – what an incredible first half story!
OUT OF HIS HANDS: Matheny pulled Lohse with two outs in the eighth and brought in Marc Rzepczynski. Zeppo has been crushed in recent weeks to the tune of a 9.00 ERA. Fans braced in the stands as Zeppo came in to face Jason Kipnis. However, before Zeppo could do anything positive or negative, Yadier Molina threw a strike from his knees to catch Asdrubal Cabrera attempting a steal of second. WHEW! That’s why Yadi is going to the All Star Game.
MANUFACTURING PLANT: The Cardinals really needed another run late to ensure victory, and it looked like the frustrating offense wasnt’ going to get it done. Then Shane Robinson slashed a double down the line in the eighth, followed by an excellent sacrifice bunt by Adron Chambers (who seemed really excited about it) and a sacrifice fly by Rafael Furcal to add another run. It was textbook run production, the sort we haven’t been able create in quite some time.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Lohse, big time.
CONCLUSION: It was a nerve-wracking game, as the struggles of the recent weeks implied that our slim lead might collapse at any moment. But great pitching combined with just enough offense to give Lohse a well-deserved win. However, I don’t think we’re going to win many games like that the rest of the season.