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Who Do You Blame?

Posted on July 23, 2008 at 8:06 AM
Filed Under: Baseball | Heroes and Goats | Milwaukee Brewers | St. Louis Cardinals
Another night, another late-inning come-from-ahead-loss.  A strong first inning is not a portent of things to come.  And a reliever allows a home run.  So, where do we start with the blame?

Do you, like TLR, take on the offense?  Six runs in two games isn't necessarily a recipe for success, I'll grant you.  But look at the lines for Milwaukee and St. Louis last night.  Same number of AB.  Same number of hits.  Same number of total bases.  The Cardinals even walked twice when the Brewers didn't walk.  So it's hard to lay it too much on the offense when Milwaukee can do the same and win.

I think the problem is the bullpen, but maybe not for the reason everyone is talking about.  Look, Lohse had labored through the seventh.  If there is a bullpen combo that TLR trusted, he'd have pulled Lohse after seven, used Pitcher A in the eighth and pitcher B in the ninth (perhaps with Villone in the middle to get Fielder as well).  Right now the Cardinal staff has 13 arms on it.  There should be no reason to extend starters like they did last night.

But the problem is there are very few that can be trusted in that pen.  Springer's been pretty good, but he's pitched too much recently.  McClellan, obviously, has that trust (though it backfired last night).  Villone can be trusted against lefties, but he's not a guy you can throw out there for an inning.  Thompson has been giving good innings lately.  After that, who?  Izzy and Franklin are very dangerous.  Flores hasn't been effective.  Boggs is out there, but you know they are trying to save him to start Friday.

All these arms and the game is still left in the hands of a tiring starter.

That said, Kyle Lohse pitched a heck of a game.  It's too bad he didn't get a win out of it, but it was just more of what we've come to expect from him.  I'm still not sure the Cards should sign him to an extention--this screams "career year"--but I'm glad that they picked him up in spring training.

Unfortunately, the goat has to go to Kyle McClellan.  It's tough being in a tie game where one mistake can cost you the game, but you really don't want to give up a home run in that situation.  A couple of base hits, it's possible you can work out of that.  A home run there, especially after the Brewer comeback, is just demoralizing.

So after another Cubs loss, the Cards sit in third, two games out.  Earlier in the year I'd started to write off the Brewers, but now they may be our best chance to keep the Cubs out of the playoffs.

The Cards can only split this series and that'll take a herculean effort with the pitchers for the next two days.  Tonight, Braden Looper goes against CC Sabathia.  On paper, that's not even close.  Since he's been in the AL, there's not a lot of heads-up data against most of these Cardinals, though Troy Glaus has been pretty hot against him.  Maybe he can bounce back from the 0-3 from last night.  Sabathia's been dominant since moving to the NL, though, with a 1.88 ERA after three starts.  Looper, well, you never can be sure what you are going to get with him.  The Brewers haven't had much trouble with him in his career and this year, he's 1-1 against them but has an ERA of 4.09.

The bad news wasn't contained to wins and losses last night.  First off, Chris Duncan hits the DL.  Some may find that a reason to rejoice, but Duncan had started to look better since his return from Memphis.  Plus, with him going on the DL now, the odds of him getting traded at the deadline are almost nonexistent.  He can be traded with his permission, I believe, but nobody's going to take him on while he's hurting.

Then, in Memphis's game, Colby Rasmus goes down with a potentially season-ending MCL injury.  We'll know more today, so that could be his dad's (who is the poster that put up the info) overreaction, but it doesn't sound good.  Which means that we won't get that extra offensive boost by getting Rasmus into the lineup either.

Wonder how all of this affects what Mozeliak is doing or needs to do?  Will we hear of any trades soon or will this be another quiet deadline?

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7 Comments | Leave a comment

Does he have something in his contract? Cause he is no where close to the 10/5 rule nor does he have the service time to warrant the 5 year "re-trade" rule once/if he is traded. Is there another rule I am unaware of?

Where is Beantown West? Why is my bookmark not working? Thanks for helping me out.

CJ, you mean Duncan, I guess? Typically, players on the DL aren't traded, though I think there can be an exception if all parties agree. And since he'll be on the DL until past the trading deadline....

Mal, there's been an internal issue with BW, one that I'm not sure I should speak about, but they are no longer (at least at this moment) on the network.

Yes, I was talking about Duncan. Yeah, it's prolly a moot point with him on the DL. However I was referencing when you said he can be traded with his permission. He doesn't have the service time to have such a status. I was wonderring if you have info that I don't.

Sorry, I meant more with the other team's knowledge and approval. You are right, he can get dealt without any approval from him.

While the bullpen is getting the blame. Some of that needs to fall on the starting pitchers. How long has it been since a starter not named Loshe went 7 or more innings?

7/4: Looper 7.0 IP
6/27: Pineiro 7.2 IP
6/22: Pineiro 7.0 IP

The pen is overworked. We need Wainwright's innings! This is another reason to put Carpenter in the pen when he comes back. He isn't going to eat innings either.

There's no doubt that is part of the problem as well. The pen was fairly strong (though still not to '07 standards) earlier in the year. But even if Carp goes 5, if you've bumped Looper to the pen, you've got a guy that can go two or three, which should help some.

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