GAME 78: Five Too Fast
Jaime Garcia and the Cardinals momentarily unravelled in the third inning, allowing the Toronto Blue Jays to score five quick runs and defeat the Redbirds 6-3, ending Garcia’s home field dominance this year.
LAPSE OF CONCENTRATION: A good start by Jaime Garcia was sandwiched around one bad third inning. Two walks (one to the pitcher) and an error caused Garcia to temporarily lose his focus, and in the ruckus surrendered a three-run homer to Juan Rivera that proved to be the game winner. This has been Garcia’s main weakness – allowing little blunders and difficulties undo his game plan.
WHO’S ON FIRST: I’m increasingly becoming uncomfortable with Lance Berkman at first base. He looks awkward and, frankly, old at the position, which requires him to put additional pressure on his surgically-repaired knees. This really became obvious on Daniel Descalso’s error in the third, which caused Berkman to leap up and come back down on the bag. His right leg locked under his body while his left bent uncomfortably out to the side in order to stabilize himself. In a nutshell, it looked really difficult for him. I’m not sure if it’s entirely a coincidence that Berkman isn’t hitting much while playing first every day. The nightmare scenario involves Berkman’s knee blowing out and losing him for the season. I hope they’re watching it closely.
TABLESETTERS: I’m really starting to like the Ryan Theriot/Jon Jay combo at the top of the lineup. Tonight, the pair went 4-8 with two runs scored. They hit for solid averages and have good speed. It’s a shame that Jay has a limited time to really shine in that spot.
HOLLYTOSS: It’s rare to see Matt Holliday lose his composure, but he certainly did when he was called out on strikes on a pitch that was blatantly NOT a strike. Holliday uncharacteristically screamed at the umpire, who ejected him. Sadly, the passion came too little, too late.
PITCHING MACHINE: Ryan Franklin pitched at Busch Stadium for the first time in what seemed like years, coming on to pitch the eighth and ninth innings. He twirled a remarkable eighth inning, retiring the side in order on only six pitches. Unfortunately, the ninth didn’t go so well, as Franklin surrendered a home run to Edwin Encarnacion. Here’s a scary stat: Franklin has pitched 25.1 innings this season, and he’s allowed SEVEN home runs. YEESH that’s bad.
CONCLUSION: It really sucks to see the Cardinals – a better team in every way – losing another series to a lowly and struggling ballclub. But credit the Blue Jays for remembering how to hit and field cleanly just in time to whip up on the Cards, who aren’t doing much of any of that right these days.