Monday, September 21, 2009

Not the way it could have ended

Ended up watching the last 6 innings or so of last night's Cardinal/Cub game after getting home. Didn't quite end like we wanted it to.

- The Cardinal ninth baffled me. Not the Holliday call - he was clearly out of the base line and that was the correct call by the second base umpire. But after Schumaker reaches on a single, why use DeRosa to bunt him over? DeRosa had tagged the ball his previous 2 at bats (an RBI double to tie the score, and a flyball to left that Scales had to jump up to catch). Everyone knew if Lugo made it to second with one out the Cubs would walk Pujols (which they did), so that play effectively removed AP from the game.

Now folks will argue that, with Holliday on deck, this isn't as serious a tactical error as it was before the end of July, and there may be some truth to that; but for as well as Holliday has played since joining the Cardinals, he isn't the best hitter on the club. Pujols still is. I want Pujols swinging the bat in that situation.

As it turned out, Holliday got hit by a pitch, so the bases were loaded for Ludwick. Who promptly grounded into the double play. I don't know who Dan selected a the goat (I haven't looked at his post yet today), but he probably gave Goat to Mitchell Boggs; Ludwick deserves it more.

- I didn't know So Taguchi was in the Cub chain. I thought he retired after last season. Nice to see you, So.

In Memoriam of Fire Joe Morgan, some dumb things said last night during the broadcast:

- JM, when LaRussa pulled Adam Wainwright from the game: I'm disappointed he took him out there. I think you have to let him try to get the win and get to 20 wins.

Couple of things here. (a) Wainwright had already thrown 102 pitches on a hot night. Seemed appropriate to take him out after 7. (b) I know it would be nice from a milestone perspective to see Adam win 20, and I know lots of people put too much weight in the wins statistic that clearly doesn't measure pitching performance as it once did. Not to mention the fact that the Cardinals are going to the playoffs. Wainwright's now thrown 219 innings and faced 909 hitters, most in the NL. THE POINT IS TO WIN THE WORLD SERIES, NOT REACH SOME MEANINGLESS MILESTONE. LaRussa made the right decision.

- Jon Miller, in the eighth, when the Cubs had runners on with 1 out: The Cardinals can't afford to give up more runs here if they want to win.

To this my wife responded 'That is the point stupid!'. I got nothing to add there.

- JM, in the eighth, referring to Skip Schumaker: Why is he hitting leadoff? He only has 2 stolen bases all year.

He's right, Schu has only 2 steals this year (and has been caught twice). This is classic Joe Morgan. In his day the leadoff hitter was a stolen base threat, no matter what his success rate. There can't be any possible other measuring stick for selecting a leadoff hitter, can there Joe? Except the whole point of leading off the game is to get on base so your #2-5 hitters can drive you in. Scoring runs is the object of the game, right? Score more than the other guy? Then the goal is to get on base. Schumaker has the highest OBP of any Cardinal not named Pujols. Perhaps THAT'S why LaRussa has him hitting leadoff.

At any rate, the Cardinals magic number remains at 4 going into Houston. There'll be a preview up later, but with the back end of the Cub rotation starting the first 2 games in Milwaukee, I'm hopeful the Brewers can take the first two; if St Louis wins 2 of 3 from Houston, that'll do it.

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