GAME 69: McLousy Meets Franklinstein
A day after an offensive outburst was wasted by poor bullpen pitching, poor defense, and poor management, the Cardinals were put down by a brilliant Livan Hernandez as they lost to the Nationals 10-0. Everything went wrong tonight.
ALBERT THERIOT: What the hell has happened to Albert Pujols? This is a guy with two Gold Gloves and is constantly referred to as “the best player in baseball,” but he committed two more errors tonight to push his total to seven on the year. SEVEN! Sadly, tonight’s two errors were directly responsible for runs that helped sink Kyle McClellan’s return start. Granted, Pujols was playing third, but still … it’s been weird to see Pujols stumble this badly on defense.
ROUGH RETURN: McClellan struggled through six innings, giving up three runs including a homer. He didn’t have the same bite on his pitches, although the upside is that he didn’t walk anyone. K-Mac has supposedly altered his motion to relieve stress on his hip, so we’ll give him a pass as he continues to perfect it.
FRANKLY AWFUL: In last night’s postgame interview, LaRussa made the stunning announcement that he didn’t pitch Ryan Franklin because “the fans don’t like him.” TLR justifiably caught flack for those comments, which indicate that TLR is managing for favor instead of winning.
So tonight TLR brings in Franklin (probably to stick it to the fans), and Franklin proceeds to get hit HARD in his two innings of work. The Nats made Franklin look like an old pitching machine, slapping everything he threw at them. Brutal. I feel sorry for Franklin; I think he’s trying. But you could say the same thing about an old workhorse struggling to pull a plow with a broken leg. It’s time to put Franklin down.
SEND HIM DOWN: When Holliday is reactivated tomorrow, I’d love to see Tyler Greene sent down. The guy jsut can’t put it together offensively or defensively. I’m sure it’ll be Hamilton, but I wish with all of my heart it was Greene.
HAND IT TO HERNANDEZ: Nats starter Livan Hernandez has always been good, but tonight he was brilliant. He never broke a sweat while dismantling the Cardinals’ punchless attack. He even finished stronger than he began, striking out two of three in the ninth to end it. Sometimes you need to tip your cap.
IN CONCLUSION: I think it’s safe to say that this team has hit its lowest point. The bullpen is failing. The starters are struggling. The hitters are not taking good at bats. And, most frustratingly, the injuries keep piling up. This team has potential, but the wind needs to change direction for a while in order to right this ship.
Holliday returns tomorrow. Let’s see if he can be the start of something good.