GAME 92: Bellyflop
After a very rough first inning, Adam Wainwright settled down and limited Milwaukee to just two hits. Unfortunately, the Brewers scored more than the daily two runs the Cardinals allow themselves, as St. Louis (47-45) lost the final game and the series with a clumsy 4-3 loss at Miller Park.
POROUS: I think the Cardinals lost their gloves during the All Star break. They’ve committed seven errors in the six games after the break, and that’s not counting the unofficial errors and mental lapses. Today they committed three errors in the first – two by Rafael Furcal – that led to four runs (three earned). Those errors don’t reflect Jon Jay‘s ridiculous decision to throw to third instead of second, allowing Corey Hart to scramble into scoring position. If this team isn’t going to hit or pitch, then AT LEAST catch and throw the ball properly. This is getting embarrassing.
STRAIN-O: Wainwright was faced with a daunting and thankless task after the first inning disaster - eat quality innings and watch the offense piss away opportunities. That’s exactly what happened. Waino surrendered just two hits the rest of the way, striking out five in a row (nine altogether). You’d think that would inspire these guys to get him some runs – NOPE. Like Wainwright today, the starting pitching since the break has been fabulous and totally wasted.
BREAK OUT: It’s incredible to consider – in the last two weeks, this powerful offense has just two home runs, both from Yadier Molina. David Freese changed that with a bomb in the second, his 14th and his first since mid-June (yikes). Allen Craig followed suit in the third with his 14th of the season. If we cant’ get key hits with RISP, maybe we can just hit the ball out of the park.
NOT THE SAME: The Lance Berkman who disappeared for two months in May isn’t the same player who just returned from the disabled list. He’s 0-8 with four strikeouts and a walk. Also, he’s angrier, as evidenced by the argument that led to his ejection last night. I’m sure Berk is frustrated, and feels a tremendous amount of pressure to assist his ailing team. However, we really need light-hearted Berkman energizing this team with his easy-going manner.
NUMBER 2000: When Trevor Rosenthal climbed the hill in the eighth inning, he became the 2000th player to wear a Cardinal uniform – incredible! He wasted no time showing off his 98mph fastball. Unfortunately, he also experienced his first two walks and first hit of his major league career before notching his first strikeout. And about that strikeout of Hart – Rosenthal hit 100mph on the gun with the final pitch. WOW! We’ve been lusting after a reliever who can duplicate Aroldis Chapman‘s nasty fastball … I think we just found him!
TEASE: Once again the Cardinals did their ninth-inning tease, putting two runners on base with nobody out, then flailing at balls and stranding those runners. It’s almost comical. Pinch hitter Matt Holliday was the worst offender, taking a monster swing at a ball in the dirt to strike out with Carlos Beltran on second base and one out. Then the Cards made it even more interesting by coaxing two consecutive walks out of Milwaukee closer Francisco Rodriguez to pull the team within one run. Sadly, Lance Berkman flied out to end the game. At this point, I’m yearning for a blow out so we don’t go through these cardiac-inducing endings.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Waino.
CONCLUSION: Well, we are 1-5 after the All Star break. What a grotesque stretch of baseball by a team 100% better than this. There’s no excuse. I want major changes right now, even if it means firing Matheny.