A Good Night Turned Bad

by on August 3, 2010 · 4 comments

I watched last night’s game while also trying to get some other things done – multi-tasking! – and decided I’d try to keep some stream of consciousness notes on the game so I could easily recall some things to write about today.

Well, if you watched the game or have checked the box score – you know that writing about last night’s game is not a particularly cheery task.  Things looked up early on as Jake Westbrook at least met, if not exceeded, expectations.

Nonetheless, I thought you might appreciate reading what I jotted down…

First Inning

I missed the top of the first, but the bottom brought more bad baserunning for the Cardinals.  Felipe Lopez was rewarded when he scrambled home and “beat” the tag at the plate (he was out, despite what Mr. Umpire said).  The awful defensive play of the Astros made it look as if the game might be a laugher (in hindsight, little did we know…) – and then Jon Jay was gunned down at the plate with EVEN MORE BAD BASERUNNING.

Second Inning

Jake Westbrook looks like he’s a pretty good defensive pitcher, even if it did alarm me a bit the number of balls hit right back at him, and hard.  JW started a pretty slick 1-6-3 double play.

Westbrook is a “sprint off the field” pitcher.  Not sure why, I’ve always liked those types.

The Busch Stadium III crowd appeared to still be hanging on to Ryan Ludwick a bit, as I would classify the reception of Westbrook during his first at-bat as underwhelming at best, compared to past welcomes at Busch III.  I wasn’t the only one who noticed, it was mentioned on Twitter by many…

Third Inning

Lots of strikes for Westbrook, Tony La Russa and Dave Duncan must be pleased with what they saw from the right-hander early on.

Cardinals were hitting the ball very hard through the first three innings, lots of them right at the Houston fielders.  Such is life.

Fourth Inning

Hunter Pence is a pest.  He strikes me as the type of player you love to have on your own team, but hate him when he plays for anyone else.  The closest example I can give, for you Big Ten basketball fans, is someone like Brian Cardinal at Purdue.  Or even Lucas Johnson at Illinois.  Guys who you would beat up if you had the chance and he played for the other team, but if he’s on yours he’s just “scrappy and plays hard.”

Westbrook’s delivery is a little slow, he will make it difficult for Yadier Molina to keep runners in check.  More balls back up the middle at JW.

Albert Pujols appears to be getting into a groove.  One of the patrons in the Rivalroo PH8 Chat actually called Albert’s shot into the left field bullpen – it was creepy.

Cardinals showed good plate patience in this inning – taking a couple of walks and causing discomfort for Brett Myers on the mound.

Fifth Inning

Westbrook striking out a lot of batters tonight – must temper expectations.  He won’t always strike this many hitters out, no matter who he’s facing – and tonight, it’s the lowly Astros.  Things to keep in mind.

Myers struggled with his command a bit and walks kept him dealing with baserunners all evening.

Sixth Inning

Westbrook working very quickly now – getting the ball and firing back to the plate as quickly as he can, rarely shaking off Molina (if at all?).  Delivery might be slow, but his mechanisms are not.

This was about the time that word started to spread of David Freese injuring his right ankle in Springfield.  Little did we all know it would be a harbinger of further bad news for the Redbirds.

Seventh Inning

This was when things went to pot for the Cards, in my opinion.  I questioned it before the bad things happened – why pull Colby Rasmus in favor of Randy Winn?  A Jay-CF and Winn-RF combination is certainly no defensive improvement over Rasmus-CF and Jay-RF.  So why?  Best excuse I can find is some combination of TLR wanting to get Winn an at-bat and Rasmus having made the last out in the Cards’ previous half-inning.  When Jason Motte came in to replace Westbrook, Winn was inserted into right field, Motte into Rasmus’ slot in the lineup and Winn into the pitcher’s.

Ugh.  That move obviously didn’t work.

Brendan Ryan appears significantly more confident, both at the plate and in the field.  Amazing what a hot bat can do for a guy, particularly a young one like Ryan.  if he continues to hit, this lineup could improve just by moving him around based upon matchups, in my opinion.

Remember what I said about Pence earlier?  Love him if he’s on your team?  Not if he takes routes to every ball like he did on Felipe Lopez‘ in this inning.  Yuck.

Eighth Inning

WAAAAAYYYYYYY too much Mike MacDougal.  Why is TLR counting on this guy for high leverage innings?  Where was Kyle McClellan?  A MacDougal fat-ball smoked toward Winn in right field – who promptly misplayed it – is pretty much the picture of this Cardinal season.  Why must the team rely so much on these also-rans?  Where is Allen Craig?

Some may pile on Skip Schumaker for making a throw home with the bases loaded in this inning, pulling Molina off of the plate – but it was really his only play.  With his momentum going forward already, he wasn’t going to be able to get any of the other runners by stopping and throwing either.  The throw could’ve been better, but going home was an acceptable decision.

I started to lose interest around this point in time…

Ninth Inning

Anyone else think Trever Miller is being over-exposed?  Overused?  His innings pitched don’t seem to indicate such, but hits and walks are way up from 2009 – after all, you’ve got to get outs to register an inning pitched.  Seems that for someone who had to have an injury clause added to his contract when originally signed, you might use him more wisely?  Guess someone’s got to pick up the slack, since neither lefty out of the bullpen has been great.

Jon Jay appears to have a strong, accurate outfield arm, which he showed in holding a runner at third on a throw from center in the ninth.  By this point it was really too late to matter…

The beautiful part about last night’s game?  It was last night, and the next one starts in a little over two hours.

Writing about the Cardinals and other loosely associated topics since 2008, I've grown tired of the April run-out only to disappoint Cardinal fans everywhere by mid-May. I do not believe in surrendering free outs.
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Lee August 3, 2010

Sure, we can’t blame Skippy for his throw home, but what about everything else he does wrong?

How about the Michael Bourn grounder in which he tried to stare down the runner at second only to realize the runner had bolted for third, and then drilling the “too late it’s Michael Bourn, you should have committed to the throw sooner” throw to first in the dirt in front of Albert.

Also, I think it’s worth reiterating how stupid the Rasmus-Winn switcheroo was. Not only is the Rasmus-Jay defense better than the Jay-Winn (cannot overstate how poorly he played that ball hit off of MacDougal), but what about the bats? Do you really want Winn taking ABs away from Rasmus? Now? Down the stretch?

I was clearly quite angry during last night’s broadcast (probably didn’t help that it was the Astro’s feed, either).

PH8 August 4, 2010

I wasn’t giving Schumaker a pass on anything else, that was just something that entered my mind as I was watching.

I take it you’re not a Skip fan? 😉

Glad I didn’t watch tonight… Can I take that last line of the post back?

Lee August 4, 2010

Yeah, I’m glad I didn’t watch yet another loss to the Astros last night. Would have just made me mad.

RE: Skippy. Not a huge fan. Certainly not a 2B. Just not sure how we rationalize playing a guy at an important defensive position who sports a -7.5 UZR (for the second year running no less). I would be less confused if he was getting it done at the plate, but a sub .700 OPS isn’t offsetting anything…

Sorry. Rant over.

PH8 August 4, 2010

Hey, I’m with you – defense and pitching – that’s a Cardinal club. Just hope they can patchwork the former and maintain with the latter..

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