Kyle Lohse turned in five solid innings before his first walk of 2011 came back to bite him in a 4 run sixth inning. All in all, probably one of the better fundamental games of the season. Considering the lack of fundamentals, I’ve decided that was worth noting. However, here are my three thoughts.
In the bottom of the 8th, the Cardinals had Lance Berkman on first, Albert Pujols on third, with Allen Craig at the plate and none out. Tony LaRussa had Daniel Descalso and Tyler Greene sitting on his bench and didn’t opt to pinch run for Berkman. I’m curious as to why as it probably became the game changing move after the Pirates short stop bobbled the ball and managed to just beat a sliding Berkman to second. If anyone faster is on first, there isn’t an out and you get another at bat in the inning.
Yes, you’d already used your other outfielder on the roster in a pinch hitting situation, this is a place where only having 24 usable players has hurt the Cards. However, with the will to shuffle Descalso or Greene could have been used. Either Greene goes to right field or Schumaker does, in either case Greene or Descalso can play second. But LaRussa was probably unwilling to move Schumaker from second base.
I know I got on Tony last season for managing us out of games, but this is one time where he sat on his hands and shouldn’t have. There were a couple of us on Twitter that realized this and we’ve never managed a major league ballclub, so why did we know it was the right decision?
That leads into my second point. How does Tyler Greene only have one plate appearance this season? The way he was talked about in the offseason led me to believe that he was going to be the primary guy off the bench this season. Instead, it’s Descalso getting the opportunities. For once, Tony has surprised me with how he’s handled guys off the bench. Part of me wonders if Greene is hurt and we just haven’t heard anything.
And finally, Lance Berkman should have played more outfield in Spring Training. His error in the top of the 4th was a result of having not played enough outfield and not having the right instincts. As a guy who plays outfield a lot, and usually right field at that, once you’ve decided how to pursue the ball you don’t change your mind. In this situation, Berkman was charging hard at the ball and changed his mind at the last minute and the ball bounced off his shoulder and away from him. Luckily it didn’t haunt us this time, but it’s something he’ll need to get back if he wants to be an every day right fielder.
Hero of the Game: Tough call. I really liked how Lohse threw six of his seven innings. He bounced right back from the four runs, but I think it has to go to Lance Berkman. Beyond the error, he went 1-for-2 and drew a couple walks. (1-for-2, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB)
Zero of the Game: As much as I’d like to give it to Albert for another 0-for performance, it goes to David Freese tonight. Twice he came up with an opportunity to make something happened and struck out. (0-for-4, 2 K, 5 LOB)