This has been a tough season to really understand. At the beginning not much was anticipated. Rotation seemed shaky with Carpenter out and three rookies in the outfield and an injury prone 3B taking over for perennial gold glovers Edmonds and Rolen, together with all the uncertainty of Pujols’ elbow, tempered expectations to say the least. Then the season got started and things began to roll the Cardinals way. What that did was to raise expectations.
All of a sudden we became believers that the Redbirds could actually do this again. By the trading deadline we could start seeing cracks however and the Cubs soared to the top and kept right on going showing no signs of slowing down. In the meantime the Brewers went to the trading well and came up big with CC. As Sheets struggled CC dominated and the Brewers got hot. The Cubs however pulled away and it seemed to become a race for the wildcard between the Cards and Brew Crew.
With the wildcard hanging in the balance the Cards seemed to have things going their way. They were coming home to face the lowly Pirates and Braves and then square off with the Brewers to close the gap. Splitting with the Pirates was the first sign of doom although they looked good vs the Braves. So the stage was set with a two game series with Milwaukee and a chance to close the gap.
So how did the Cards respond to that big game situation? A day of rest, Wellemeyer on the mound, Pujols hot, a home game, and BAM! a 12-0 loss in one of the ugliest games of the year. It seemed winnable until Pujols threw the ball into the outfield allowing the 3rd run to score. At that point you could just feel Sheets and the Brewers get the confidence they needed. All I can say is that I’m glad I missed the rest of that game as the 9th inning must have been a train wreck as they allowed 7 runs.
The following day the Cards rebounded playing Cardinal baseball and won a nice ballgame with Perez closing it out be striking out the side. The Cards really seemed fired up after some trash talking by the Brewers. So you’d think going into Houston the Cards would be on a roll, but again the bats go silent and they lose 3-2 with only 5 hits in the game and waste a strong effort by Lohse as Berkman takes Springer deep in the bottom of the 9th. The Brewers didn’t wast their opportunity and beat the Pirates 3-1 to extend the wildcard lead over the Cardinals to 4.5 games and the Phillies are now only a half game behind the Cards for the wildcard as well.
This all sets up tonights game. Looper takes the mound coming off 5 staight games of 7 IP and giving up no more than 3 runs in any of them. So what happens of course is he gets spotted a 3 run lead and then gives up 6 runs in the bottom of the first inning! So what is up? Why can’t the Cardinals seem to win when it matters most? Are they being outplayed? Do the young players on the team tighten up during the important games?
As of now the Cards are losing 6-3 and the Brewers are up 2-0 and the Phillies have already beaten the Cubs 5-2. If it stays this way then the Cards are 5.5 games back with no games left vs the Brewers. So should they take a look at the farm system down the stretch or keep playing the regulars? They’re not winning with the regulars anyway, so I say let’s take a look at some younger players. Let’s see Garcia get some starts in September and get some of the youngsters some playing time. Maybe this would even be a good time for Albert to get his elbow reconstructed. Probably a good idea if they fall a few more games behind since that elbow isn’t going to repair itself.
What do you all think?