GAME 76: They Shoot Bullpens, Don’t They?
Joe Kelly produced yet another quality start full of piss and vinegar, and had a chance to win his second game. However, he left the game into the hands of our bullpen, and they did their usual number on Kelly’s hopes and dreams. The Cardinals (40-36) lose to the Marlins 5-3.
THE EARLY BIRD: The Cardinals jumped all over Anibal Sanchez in the first inning. A walk to Jon Jay and a double off of the nasty greenscreen wall in center by Matt Holliday put runners on the corners with one out. Carlos Beltran added to his NL leading RBI total with a sacrifice fly. Then, David Freese drove in Holliday with another double. Two runs, with a chance to really rip the game open. Sadly, a really dumb move by Jose Oquendo killed the rally (see below).
YOU CAN SAY STOP: So Matt Carpenter dunked a single into shallow right-center with David Freese on second. Marlins right-fielder Giancarlo Stanton - who possesses a pretty good arm – was probably shocked as he fielded the ball to see Freese rounding third base. Why on Earth would Oquendo ever send Freese in that situation?? Freese has the foot speed of a broken dryer, and ankle ligaments held together by the feeble hopes of optimistic orphans. Freese was out by so much that Marlins catcher John Buck had time to feed the fish in the home plate tank before Freese’s slide. And people think Oquendo would be a good manager? He hasn’t mastered third base coaching in 13 years on the job!
TERROR: Did anybody’s heart stop like mine did when Joe Kelly stopped with a complaint about his pitching hand? Holy crap! The very last thing we need is another injured pitcher!
INSTANT COMPOSURE: I’ve been really impressed with Joe Kelly so far. Talk about steady! Like Lance Lynn, Goggles is a pitcher of decent-to-good stuff with a competitive mentality and mature composure. So far, every one of his appearances features him doing something special to try and win the game. He might not be the next Bob Gibson, but I think we underestimated this guy.
JUNIOR MAGIC: People often scoff at me when I say that I like Tony Cruz. Sure, he isn’t Yadier Molina, but who is? I mean besides Buster Posey, ya goose! Cruz filled in for Molina tonight and went 2-3 with a booming home run (his first ever!) out to straightaway center. Give the guy a break, fans!
BACK TO BACK HEART ATTACK: News flash – our bullpen sucks. Last year we had a frustrating bullpen, but the suckiness was mostly isolated between a couple of key pitchers that TLR wouldn’t stop using. This year, it’s everybody. After Kelly pitched six gutsy innings and left with a 3-2 lead, Matheny brought in Fernando “Hit Me” Salas to come in and immediately cough up a homer to John Buck to tie it up. So Mike Matheny brought in Sam Freeman to really put a nail in by giving up a homer to Logan Morrison to give the Marlins the lead. I dunno … maybe Salas and Freeman really love that gaudy home run feature and wanted to see it in action. All I know is their incompetence runs like clockwork. Oddsmakers in Las Vegas salivate over easy money when the bullpen of the 2012 Cardinals gets into the game. Hey Mo’, GET TO WORK!
SHARTE: Victor Marte has been strangely immune to the systemic disease infecting our bullpen. His nasty curve and blazing fastball have often corrected the course of close games. But tonight, when we really needed him, he surrendered to the Cardinals’ bullpen virus. Two singles and a double added another run for Miami. It would’ve been two runs, but it was prevented by a perfect relay between Matt Holliday, Rafael Furcal, and Tony Cruz applying the tag at home. Still, it padded a Miami lead at the wrong time.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Kelly, who was fantastic and deserved the win. How many times have I said that this season about a wasted pitching performance?
CONCLUSION: This damned bullpen, guys! What are we going to do about this? They keep wasting excellent pitching performances! Besides that, the bats went strangely cold in the middle innings and failed to support Kelly, too. Seeing winnable games thrown away might be the worst kind of loss!