To paraphrase the version of Major League
you'd find on your local cable provider, "One run? One lousy run?"
If you'd told me before the game that the bullpen would blow up and the Cards would lose, I'd have believed you. If you said that Looper got run before the fifth, I'd have believed you. But if you told me it'd be a 1-0 lead going into the ninth inning, I'd have been plenty surprised and I would have almost guaranteed the Cardinals would be in the lead.
It's said that familiarity breeds contempt. Apparently Ian Snell was darn familiar with the Cardinals this season and was very contemptuous of them last night. Snell has shown flashes of that in the past and it's not completely surprising that he had a dominating performance, but when you factor in how hard the Cards had hit him this season, it wasn't what people were expecting going in.
The last time the Cardinals scored only one run or less was Aug. 7 against the Dodgers. In that 11-game stretch, they've hit .279 and scored 50 runs. For the most part, this year hasn't been about the offense. Which makes their failure in what was very close to a must-win game all the more disappointing.
It was a very tough ninth last night for Yadier Molina
, which possibly cost the Redbirds the game. A gamble on the bunt that didn't pay off, a dropped relay, and failing to cover home on Schumaker's wild throw home. It's rare you see Yadi so out of it on the defensive side.Braden Looper
had a whale of a game and almost any other time would have picked up win number twelve. And, on the positive side, the "play nine" mentality is still there, as they had the winning run at the plate in the ninth. Nothing against Brian Barton, but he's not really the guy I want up there at that moment, and he showed why by chasing a couple of pitches he probably should have let go.
Before the game, Mike Shannon said he thought the Cards needed to go 20-15 in their last 35 to make it to the playoffs. That now stands at 20-14. Hopefully the Cardinals can cut into that tonight. At least the Brewers lost last night as well.
More on tonight's game in a second, but let's take a look at some of the other stuff surrounding the team.
For instance, it appears that Jason Isringhausen is done
, at least with the Cardinals. To have been pitching with a torn muscle in his elbow had to be extremely painful. I understand wanting to go out there, but especially pitchers have to realize that often they are going to do more harm than good that way. When Scott Rolen was hurting, even if he wasn't doing much at the plate, he could make up for it in the field to a degree. Pitchers don't have that luxury. If they aren't on, the team loses.
For all that, though, you have to appreciate what Izzy did for the team. He's been a very consistant closer for a long time and was a strong part of that 2004-2005 squad that was so good. It has to be disappointing for him to have missed the World Series and not to get to 300 saves in a Cardinal uniform. I'd like to think he could get healthy and come back with someone, but that sounds unlikely.
From one injured hurler to another. Chris Carpenter threw before the game yesterday
and we know basically about as much as we did before he threw. I'm guessing there will be more discussion about that today when they can tell how he's doing and how his body reacted to yesterday's session.
Adam Wainwright, however, is ready to get it going
. If they are going to use him in relief, you'd pretty much expect for him to come off the DL today when they put Izzy on it. If he's going to be a starter, they may wait until right before his next outing, though that's not as important with all the off days they are having in this stretch. Wainwright sounds like he's right on the edge of being frustrated with management, a condition you don't want one of your ace pitchers to be in. But really, who can blame him?
And, on the minor league front, top 2008 pick Brett Wallace was jumped up to AA Springfield yesterday. The Cardinals are really trying to push their prospects. Hopefully that won't cause frustration and burnout, but that they'll embrace the challenge. If Wallace does well at Springfield, it'd keep him on pace to be the starting 3B in 2010.
Today's game pits Todd Wellemeyer vs. Jason Davis. Wellemeyer has done pretty well against the Pirates
in the past, while Davis just came up at the end of July and doesn't have much history
against St. Louis. Hopefully the bats will show up today and the Cards can make some headway in the wild-card race.
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