I have a tendency to be a bit of an optimist when it comes to things like this, and only the highest-paid psychologists could really understand what goes on in a professional athlete’s mind.
But could yesterday’s 10-inning, walk-off home run win against the Rays be what turns this team back around? Could this convince them they can still win?
Yes, they were let down by their bullpen again. Randy Flores was the goat this time, giving up three runs in one-third of an inning. Flores has been very solid this season, but I still think he is better suited in the left-handed specialist role. No more than two batters per game. Kyle McClellan failed in his first go-round as the possible 8th inning replacement for Ryan Franklin who seems primed to take over the closer’s role for the time being.
In a way, I think the way the game played out may have been a blessing in disguise, because no doubt Tony would’ve loved to throw recently called up and anointed Closer of the Future™ Chris Perez into the fire in a save situation. What would’ve happened if he had blown it in his first MLB save situation? I’d hate to see what the STLToday Cards Talk forums would’ve looked like.
What DID happen was further emergence of Ryan Ludwick as an everyday player for the Cards. Luddy hit two more home runs, one of them being the dagger in the bottom of the tenth. Ludwick still swings at more pitches than he should in clutch situations, he still seems to have the mentality of a guy coming off the bench and needing to make something happen, he still has very little experience as a guy getting four at-bats every game.
But when two of those four are home runs, one to win the game…you can forgive some of his faults until the next game.