Monday, August 04, 2008

Another Bullpen Hairball

The Cardinals-Phillies game was on ESPN last night. I tried not to watch it. I have no proof of this, but it seems that since 2006, whenever the Cardinals are shown on a national broadcast, bad things happen (normally a loss). So I held out as long as I could.

Which lasted until the bottom of the fourth. Turned it on in time for Ludwick's homer to make it 2-0. Wellemeyer was pitching well, but that nagging sense of foreboding wouldn't leave, especially since the Cardinals had managed only three hits off Meyers. Utley's HR in the sixth only added to my unease, but they managed to nurse that 2-1 lead into the eighth.

At which time my children signalled they were done for the day, and we all trooped upstairs for their nightly bath. Yes we wash them every day whether they need it or not. Usually I get a free bath myself; we like to screw around in the tub.

I flipped on the TV in my bedroom so I could check down the hall in a hurry if needed. I saw Garcia relieve McClellan. Twenty-five minutes later, I checked again; Romero was pitching, Ryan was on at first, there was one out.

The score read 5-2 Philadelphia. I laughed with no mirth felt.

At least they tried to fight back with the run in the eighth and another in the ninth. I had hope when Ankiel singled off Howard's glove, driving Miles to third. Oquendo made the correct decision by holding Miles at third, by the way. Izturis was coming up, a veteran bat with Lidge on the ropes.

Clearly in that situation Lidge didn't want to put the winning run in scoring position, so I know he didn't mean to hit Izturis. But it couldn't have set up a better situation for the Phillies, for Lidge and that damn slider of his would face 2 rookies in a row. The only way AP would get another at bat this night is if one of the two of them reached to tie the game.

Didn't happen. First pitch to Stavinoha was a mistake curveball that hung on the inside half of the plate. Nick swung and missed. Lidge's next 6 pitches were not in the strike zone; Stavinoha and Mather swung at 5 of them. Ballgame.

Anybody still think this team needs a bat over a bullpen arm?

This is the farthest out of first place the Cardinals have been all season (six games). They continue to trail Milwaukee by a game in the wild card standings. This is a huge 13 game stretch for the Redbirds; they get the re-energized Dodgers starting tomorrow, then go on a 10 game road trip that starts in Chicago. It would be nice to be within 3 games of Chicago starting Friday night, but I think that's unrealistic; let's take 2 of 3 from Los Angeles (a tall order; they get Billingsley and Lowe, the two best Dodger starters) and then go from there.

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