It was an ugly, ugly game. Someone called it a great game and I corrected saying that basically both teams had been equally mediocre. I intentionally waited to write last night’s game recap because I didn’t want to be overly harsh on my favorite baseball team. It is only 7 games into the season, but I realize that and statements are made with that in mind. But still, this team is struggling hard. My thoughts.
Bryan Augenstein is a straight beast. A leadoff double and wild pitch put the winning run just 90 feet away with nobody out. Tony LaRussa switched to a five man infield which allowed Allen Craig to make the diving squeeze on a ball to catch the runner in a rundown between third and home. Augenstein would then strike out two more batters to escape the inning. Also fun to note that his closest competition for the final bullpen spot, Fernando Salas, struck out three batters in the ninth inning.
Ryan Franklin blows another. I was told to chill out on Twitter because of a small sample size, in regards to Franklin. Still, whether it’s April or September, blown saves hurt. Especially more so when your team is struggling to get wins. If he’d been able to hold on to those two blown saves, suddenly the Cardinals are a team with offensive issues, but is 4-3 instead of 2-5. I’ve said it before, and I’ve said it again. As long as we’ve had Franklin I’ve never been keen on the idea of having a closer who requires the other team to hit the ball to have a chance at getting them out. I’d much rather a strikeout pitcher in the closer’s role, partially why I felt like Anthony Reyes would have made a closer.
But I don’t put all the blame for this blown save on Franklin. Albert Pujols should have done more with the bases loaded and two out in the top of the ninth. Situations like that are why he is supposed supposed to be worth $30 million a year.
And finally, I have a suggestion to cure some offensive woes. Move Pujols to the #5 spot in the lineup and move Schumaker to the leadoff spot. Right now I see a ballclub that puts a fair amount of guys on base, but only scores 24% of them. Right now the Cardinals are the 29th offense in major league baseball. The only one worse than us in Tampa Bay. So we put these guys on base and then the struggling hitters come up, get out, and the inning is over before we can move anyone around to score. Put the guys who seem to be hitting in the 1-4 spots and let the rest of the lineup struggle. We might score an extra run a game. Who knows. Worth trying, but it will never happen. Tony LaRussa will never move Albert Pujols from the #3 spot even if Pujols was 0-for-28 to start the season instead of 5-for-28.
Before tonight’s game the Giants will be handing out their World Series rings. Hopefully that will motivate the Cardinals to play a little better.
Hero of the Game: Hard to hand out a hero when I was as disappointed with this loss as I have been with any loss this season. Ryan Theriot with a gutsy at bat in the top of the 9th and Augenstein with a gutsy bottom of the 11th were my top two choices. I’m thinking I’m going with Augenstein. (2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 0 ER, 2 K)
Zero of the Game: Coin flip, between Albert Pujols and Ryan Franklin. Considering Pujols has 7 opportunities to grab an RBI and only picked up one, and failed in the top of the 9th where the star player has to come through, it’s him. For this third ZOG Award, it’s Albert Pujols. (1-for-6, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 GIDP, 7 LOB, 1 E)