Could That Eighth Inning Have Been Any Uglier?

Happy Easter, Reds! Enjoy the nice gift of yesterday’s 5-3 win that the Cardinals gave you, thanks to an ugly eighth inning.

Can we blame the rain? Can we blame The Poet, Miguel Batista, who is becoming a human rain delay? Can we blame Brandon Phillips?

Actually, there was plenty of blame to go around for the loss (Phillips is actually blameless in this one), and it all came after the 42-minute rain delay before the start of that pivotal inning. Truthfully, the Cardinals didn’t have much margin for error. They only had a 3-2 lead at the time, although that did put Chris Carpenter in line for his first win of the year. And as our pal Lance Berkman said, “We were living on the edge because we kept giving them chances and they came through.”

So how ugly was the eighth inning? Let’s count the ways.

  1. With one out, David Freese throws a Drew Stubbs grounder nowhere near Albert at first base. Stubbs winds up at second.
  2. After Phillips strikes out (yay!), Joey Votto is intentionally walked. No problem there — in Votto’s last at-bat, he’d tied the game at 2-2 when he hit a 3-0 CC pitch out of the park. But then, with an 0-2 count, The Poet hits Jonny Gomes. Bases loaded. Bye-bye, Poet.
  3. Next in: Trever Miller. Next up: Jay Bruce. Next thing you know: tie game, as Miller walks Bruce. Stubbs scores. Bye-bye, Trever. Bye-bye, win for CC.
  4. Next in, curiously: Ryan Franklin. Brilliant Tony La Russa strategery again, bringing in a guy you don’t trust to close in a tie game with the bases loaded? Nope. Franky did again what he has unfortunately done too often this year: gave up a crucial hit, this time to Miguel Cairo. (Miguel Cairo??) The single easily scores Votto and Gomes, making it 5-3 Reds.

The Cardinals obviously had two more innings to get something going, but instead went six up, six down. Hard to come back that way.

So, ugly loss. The less said, the better. Still, win or lose, there’s a Poem for The Poet.

Poem for The Poet — April 23
Although we now call him The Poet
“The Rain Maker” might be a better name.
Because just warming up in the bullpen
Is enough for rain to halt the game.

But within 45 minutes he pitched again
Though perhaps he should’ve not made a toss.
While David Freese did not help things at all,
The Poet was charged with the loss.

Tonight is ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, with Jake Westbrook starting. Perhaps the less said on that subject, the better as well.

Happy Easter! May the Reds return the gifting favor to the Cards tonight!


Christine Coleman is the senior St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email aaronmilesfastball@gmail.com. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.

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