GAME 98: Flair For The Dramatic
A Dodger lineup enhanced with newly-acquired Hanley Ramirez came up against Cardinal ace Kyle Lohse (weird to say that, but it’s true). The offense took another night off, wasting Lohse’s great start, but they came through late as the Cardinals (52-46) beat the Dodgers 3-2 in twelve innings.
INDIAN BALL: Here are a couple of eye-opening stats – Lohse has yet to pitch fewer than five innings this year. Out of 21 games, Lohse has produced 17 quality starts good for a 2.50 ERA. He has almost four times more strikeouts than walks. At 11-2, this is the best won/loss percentage of his entire career. He has seven no-decisions, five as the result of our bullpen problems. Tonight, Lohse was given little wiggle room by the offense (again), but he made it work with an efficient seven innings of 107 pitches in 100+ heat. Not sure what has caused the turnaround in Lohse – perhaps it’s the contract – but he has rewarded the confidence and patience the Cardinals have shown in him.
CHOPPING BLOCK: With rumors swirling that the Cardinals are seeking a potential trade for Angels centerfielder Peter Bourjos, Jon Jay picked a bad time to look terrible while attempting to catch a fly ball by Ramirez in the second. He wasn’t even close to that ball. Perhaps he is distracted, but Jay hasn’t looked focused to me ever since he returned from the DL. He had better pull himself together if he wants to remain in charge of our outfield.
BROWNOUT: It’s extraordinarily frustrating to watch the Cardinals fumble like blind men at the plate. Tonight, they managed just two hits through seven innings – not exactly exciting, inspirational offense. They scored their first two runs on a double play ball and a sacrifice fly – YIPEE. The early-game problems are not officially a “thing” now that it’s happened for almsot two straight weeks. It’s not like we’ve faced many Cy Young caliber pitchers, either. We just make them look that way.
GREENER PASTURES: So David Freese managed to lead off the tenth inning with a single, and Matheny brought in the infamous war criminal Tyler Greene to pinch run. Then Greene, who has the baseball intelligence of pigeon shit, was faked by Ramirez at third into thinking that the pitcher was throwing home and was picked off easily. In fact, he was probably tagged seven times on his way back to the bag. I think it’s time Mozeliak got this guy out of St. Louis before the riots begin. Thanks for being a talented, athletic fuck-up, Tyler!
FINALLY: As this excruciating game entered the twelfth inning, Lance Berkman hobbled to the plate and managed to coax a walk. He then walked to the dugout, replaced by Joe Kelly at first. After a horrible and profanity-laced strikeout by Skip Schumaker, Matt Carpenter stroked a single to center. Kelly slipped around second, preventing him from reaching third (for the record, this is the second consecutive game featuring Kelly tripping over a base – get some CLEATS, Joe!). Things looked bleak until Rafael Furcal delivered a single to left. Kelly rounded third successfully – whew! – but it was pointless. Tony Gwinn Jr. bobbled the ball in left, allowing Kelly to score the winning run easily.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Lohse and Furcal.
CONCLUSION: We MUST start hitting earlier in games. We MUST. The early-inning stretches of bad offense are not an illusion, and are quickly becoming a disaster for a team falling out of the race. On paper, this offense is the best in the National League. So what’s the deal??