There comes a point in this season where you just become numb to it all, doesn't there? While I don't think the fan base is quite there yet, if Twitter is any indication, they've seen enough of this season to know when something bad happens. It's like watching a movie and yelling at the screen for the character not to go in there. Of course, the character never listens.
As I've said before, Monday nights are not a good night for me as I have a Promise Keepers meeting at church and as such really don't get to watch much of the game. I heard Lance Berkman hit his home run on the way to church last night and the pace of the game meant I was able to hear the top of the ninth on my way home.
Before we get into that, though, how about the outstanding gameChris Carpenter pitched? Out there without a safety net, just a solitary run, he goes eight-plus innings, allowing no runs to score while he's out there, striking out seven, and not even reaching 100 pitches. It was an impressive outing, one worthy of better than the sullied ending.
So I'm on my way home and as I turn it on, I hear that Carp's still in the game, but he's hit a batter to start the ninth. As soon as I hear that Arthur Rhodes is warming up, I get concerned. When TLR makes the move, I'm hollering at my radio (effective, right) that this is not going to end well.
Rhodes surprises me by striking out Andre Ethier. Turns out he's done very well against Ethier (0-7, 3 K before last night, according to Matthew Leach on Twitter) so I'm a bit at ease. Then, of course, TLR has to go to yet another pitcher to try to finish this off.
Now, look, it was a one run game and all and I can't say I'm surprised that the move was made, but it's not like it was Matt Kemp coming up next. It was Aaron Miles, and all apologies to the wonderful ladies at the site with his name on it, but Aaron Miles should not be a threat. Granted, Miles is hitting .304 against lefties and Rhodes doesn't do well against righties, so maybe that move should have been made.
The thing was, a move didn't have to be made at all. Chris Carpenter is your best member of the rotation. He's a bulldog type that doesn't concede anything. You've let him throw 120+ pitches numerous times this year. So why pull him after 99 in the ninth? I don't think there's anyone on this staff that Cardinal Nation trusts more in that situation than Carpenter. Leaving him in would seem to be the logical idea. Put it this way: if Carp blows the lead in the ninth, I think most of the fanbase would be more accepting of that than turning it over to a bullpen that, while better, has had issues.
But, if you are going to pull Carpenter, why not bring in Marc Rzepczynski? The man hasn't pitched since last Wednesday. He's a guy that can get both lefties and righties out. That way you don't have to make yet another pitching change in the ninth. Did TLR just decide that someone had to take Colby Rasmus's place in the doghouse and he'd put the new guy there until further notice? It seemed like overkill to do Rhodes then Fernando Salas. While Salas has been good, you shouldn't need the biggest hammer to take care of Aaron Miles.
Save the fact that Salas plays around with Miles and runs the count full before throwing a changeup that gets smashed into the gap rather than a strong fastball that likely would have gotten him out. Jason Motte comes in and does his job, for the most part, but the ground ball he hits bounces off the glove of Rafael Furcal, who had come in for defensive purposes even though his hamstring was apparently bad enough to keep him out of the lineup. Have to give Salas the Goat for that one, because Aaron Miles should never, ever beat you.
The bottom of the ninth could have had Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman, but even if it had, we've read this script before. The odds are one of them would have gotten a hit at best, but nothing would have come out of it. Stirring ninth-inning rallies really aren't the purview of this team, not recently.
Of course, that didn't happen anyway. Pujols was still in there (and popped out to make a 1-4 night--after his hit in his first AB he was up to .291, but fell back to .289 after three consecutive outs), but Berkman had been replaced for defensive purposes and Holliday had left with a moth in his ear. So as predictable as parts of this game were, you still never know what you are going to see at the old ballpark.
Just for funsies, the Brewers split a doubleheader with the Pirates, so the Cards are now nine games back. Could be double-digits by time Thursday's Social Media Night rolls around. That'll make for a lot of interesting conversation, I'm sure.
The two teams are back at it tonight and the odds of a Cardinal victory sure aren't strong when you look at the pitching matchup. Clayton Kershaw, the ace of the Dodgers who is putting up a Cy Young-type season, takes the hill for Los Angeles. Here's what the Cards have done against him in the past:
Pujols and Holliday have had strong pasts against him, so maybe they can break through against Kershaw tonight. (That is, assuming Holliday doesn't have this strange compunction to keep staring at the lights and trying to get to them.)
Kyle Lohse is on the other side of the equation. The numbers:
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