If you follow Bob from On The Outside Corner over on Twitter (and if you don't, go follow throatwarbler right now) you know that he, from time to time, has Twitter Tales. Stories about games gone by, descriptions of some of the past triumphs and failures of the St. Louis nine. Something tells me that last night's eighth inning won't be one he's passing along in 5-10 years.
It's too bad, because it began like a great one for fans to relay down to the next generation, one that seemed to put the Albert Pujols issue behind them and get them started on the right foot during this time without their star. Kyle McClellan was easily the Hero, limiting a very tough Philadelphia team to just one run over seven innings in his second game back from the disabled list (and following up a very rough start against Washington). McClellan seemed in command all night, though he did allow four walks. The Cardinal offense was struggling, but they were facing Roy Halladay so it wasn't surprising. They also proved he was human, taking a 1-0 lead against him before they tied it back up.
Mark Hamilton had a key hit in the bottom of the seventh off of Michael Stutes as, surprisingly, Halladay was done after six. The Cards manufactured a run and took a 2-1 lead into the eighth.
Oh, the eighth.
It's very, very difficult to figure out which reliever should get the Goat tag. My first inclination was to go with Trever Miller. After all, if he does his job, things might go a little differently that inning. Then again, he did actually get an out, which is more than come can say, and he didn't physically allow runners to score, though he was charged with two runs.
Then you have Jason Motte. Tony La Russa said that, no matter what, Motte was going to face Ryan Howard. Which seems a bit strange knowing that Howard historically struggles against lefties (and while he might be hitting them for a higher average than righties this year, it's a small gap and he slugs way less against the southpaws, with all his home runs coming off of righties) and if there's anything that Howard would be able to hit, it's a strong fastball.
Motte, though, had major command issues, plunking both Howard and Placido Polancoto blow the lead. Not often you see a box score line with 0 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 2 ER.
Brian Talletand he did get one out, but he also allowed the go-ahead run to score. Now, even if nothing else happens in that inning, the Cards were behind the eight ball, needing a run in the last couple of innings, but at least it was a reasonable possibility.
So the tag has to go to Miguel Batista, who saw the flames smoldering, rushed over, and grabbed a gas can to throw on it. Two bases-loaded walks, then a two-run single made the game academic, so much so that Maikel Cletocame into the game instead ofMitchell Boggs, The big question is, why wasn't Boggs brought in instead of Batista there?
Batista's last outing against Kansas City went well, but he allowed five runs against Washington and a run against Houston in his outings before that. Boggs hasn't allowed a run since his return to the big club, going 5.2 innings with four strikeouts and two walks. If you wanted to keep a game close, it would seem Boggs was a better choice there, unless he was being saved for the ninth instead of Fernando Salas.
So the no-Albert stretch starts off poorly and a game like that has a chance to overshadow the whole series. It's interesting that this morning there is some suggestion of Pujols not being out as long as feared. He already is feeling good and you know he's going to be itching to push his timetable as much as possible. It'll be interesting to see what the examination in 10 days shows, whether he's healing quickly or not.
However, some things don't change, as Pujols still didn't want to talk about how this injury might affect his contract status. He called a question "stupid" and walked off, but to be fair, Joe Strauss was the one asking the question and, as condescending as Strauss can be, turnabout is somewhat fair play. Heaven knows Strauss has frustrated enough people in his day.
John Mozeliak says they aren't going to talk contract during this time and, as much as I can understand why people would want them to, this might be the right move. Trying to push an advantage right now most likely only ticks off the Pujols camp and pushes them farther away from an agreement. The odds are they wouldn't come to an agreement anyway as the Pujols camp will want to see how he recovers from this and are not interested in selling the big guy short. Mo's respecting of the process could pay dividends down the road.
Kyle Lohse goes tonight, hoping that his 2011 magic isn't wearing off. His numbers against the Phillies:
Lee's not going to walk six like he did last time out. It's going to be a very tough battle and it's made even tougher by knowing that, if Lohse can only go seven (or less), even if he leaves with a lead, there's no telling how the game will come out.
Hopefully they can shake it off and have a good outing today. Going to be a tough one, though.
The BBA has, as a secondary aim, the goal of producing year-end
awards in a similar fashion to the Baseball Writers of America. These
awards can be found at the official site in October with links back to the voters,
ensuring transparency and, most likely, the onset of some good baseball