Bullpen Woes, Dugout Decisions Cost Cards in Washington

Well then. (Where do you even begin with a game like this?)

On a day when the Cards had a great chance to get back on track after the terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad series against the Brewers over the weekend, it went from bad to worse and then some, come the sixth inning.

That newly dreaded sixth inning.

Jaime Garcia had done his job, allowing two runs on eight hits through six. Not mind boggling, but solid. Certainly good enough for his 7th win on the year. Plus, he left with a 4-run lead. With only three innings to play, that should be enough. Right?

Games like this are just plain hard to watch, as the Cards lose to the Nationals 8-6.

Or not.

Now, in all honesty, the drama started in the fifth inning on back-to-back errors by everyone’s favorite short stop, Ryan Theriot. Up until that point, he was doing his fan club proud, with two hits and a run scored. But it was all for naught, once the error machine took over.

To his credit, he did start the inning-ending double play, and no runs were scored, but the fifth-inning struggles were only a sign of what was yet to come.

Garcia would likely have made it out of the sixth unscathed  if Theriot would have fielded not one, but two ground balls that went down as infield singles. I’m really not sure what happened with Theriot, but neither play was made, and Garcia ended up charged with a run.

And instead of rallying to score some insurance runs, the bats went silent … as did Cardinal Nation when the bullpen call was made for the seventh.

Enter Miguel Batista. And, as it goes, a few lines in honor of The Poet who thought he could Pitch.

A Poem for the Poet — June 14
You walked to the mound
With just one task at hand:
Get through the seventh
Then give the young guns a chance.

Thank Lance for that catch
‘Cause it could have been trouble.
Nevermind. It’s a walk, single and
Werth scores on Z’s double.

Then not one, but two more
Round the bases to home
As we all wait on Tony
To pick up the phone!

But alas, it’s too late.
The damage is done
This game’s a hot mess
And you’re charged with the runs.

Not to be outdone, Trever Miller came in and hit the first batter he faced. Then a wild pitch scored Danny Espinosa. Finally, Motte came in, but even he couldn’t stop the bleeding without walking in the go-ahead run, giving the Nationals what would be the only lead they needed.

Jayson Werth singled in one more, just for good measure.

And there you have it — another late-game collapse, followed by zero offense in hopes of a comeback.

So who gets the blame for this one?

Is it Theriot for his botched efforts at short? Or Batista for his disaster of a game?

Or, I propose, does this one belong to TLR for leaving a guy in — yet again! — to get rocked and give up a significant lead?

Both Albert and Lance went yard early on, and the kid, Andrew Brown, got his first Major League hit and RBI. Even Colby, who has taken a lot of flack lately, had two hits, a run scored, and a solid play in center field.

But that’s just me trying to alleviate the pain of watching this one fall apart, yet again.

This is quite possibly the ugliest game of the year, and one we can only hope we don’t surpass.

But in other news, the Cubs beat the Brewers in walk-off fashion. So we’re still tied for first place for another day!


10 thoughts on “Bullpen Woes, Dugout Decisions Cost Cards in Washington

    • Hmm. It is interesting to hear the thought process from TLR and company. Not good, though, to hear about the issues with Sanchez. That’s the last thing we need. If we really have such dreadful options out of the bullpen, that should be the FIRST thing addressed (not SS, as many have suggested). I won’t lie, last night worried me. It’s a long season and to sustain the odd version of excellence we’ve found early on isn’t easy with a bunch of guys without a hint of consistency.

      Can we please be healthy yet? That’d be a good start…

      • Health is never a given. A team has no control over injuries; there’s been no study that one team consistently has an approach to prevent them.

        But a team does have control over its ability to weather injury building depth through sharp drafting, the occasional trade and a future-oriented mindset. A team that’s built to win now rarely does, because it exchanges depth for a high-quality, if brittle, front line team.

        This is where the crippling injuries the Cardinals have suffered haven’t stripped the team bare — they’ve given players such as Allen Craig, Jon Jay and Tony Cruz, and McClellan, for that matter, an opportunity they otherwise might not have enjoyed.

        Let me tell you, if the Brewers and Reds suffered the injuries the Cardinals have, they would be in the neighborhood of the Cubs. They have front-line talent, but their depth is an inch deep. They’re built to win now, not for the future. The Cardinals will have a very bright future indeed.

        • I would agree with that. Doesn’t make the injuries less frustrating, but it HAS been fun to see the potential within the organization. But now even those guys are getting hurt!

  1. Victor Marte says hi. He’s got a 1.98 ERA and an okay 1.24 WHIP with a strikeout an inning.

    And lefty Rich Rundles waves, too, pointing to his 1.64 ERA and 1.09 WHIP.

    Then there’s Adam Ottavino with his almost a strikeout-an-inning and 3.63 ERA, who would be a nice fit in the big league bullpen.

    Hell, I’d rather see Maikel Cleto.

    Fact is, there are options out there other than keeping the dead weight of Franklin, Batista and Miller on the roster.

    And when Punto comes back, maybe Mozeliak has a sit down with Theriot and tell the latter that he’s no longer a major league shortstop.

    • I’d rather see any one of those options at least give it a shot. Can’t be worse than the train wreck last night.

      I’m all for giving guys time to work out the kinks. But not in a race for the division. Granted, it’s only June. But with the Brewers heating up and the Reds, well, at least still there, we can’t give up too much ground while we hope Batista/Miller get it figured out.

      I’m curious, though, Michael — how much better do you see Punto being (taking offense AND defense into account) than Theriot once Nick is healthy?

      • As a hitter, Punto probably isn’t as good as Theriot at making contact. But as a fielder, the difference between the two is so vast as cannot be measured by conventional means. If you’re going to have a staff that “pitches to contact,” as much as I personally disagree with that brand of idiocy, you’d better have high-quality defense behind that pitcher.

  2. By the by, today is the 28th anniversary of one of the worst trades in St. Louis Cardinals history: Keith Hernandez to the Mets for the Ryan Franklin of his time, Neil Allen, and Rick Ownbey, who made all of 24 appearances for the Birds on the Bat.

    That trade was so odious that the next day I called the Cardinals front office to complain. Seriously. And long-distance wasn’t cheap in those days. And my parents weren’t pleased when they got the bill. To this day I remember the person on the phone gave me a runaround answer. I guess they couldn’t well have said: “Because Keith can’t kick the coke, and Whitey doesn’t want that druggie on his team.”

  3. EXCELLENT Poem for the Poet Who Thought He Could Pitch!! Very Dr. Suess!

    All of the injuries seem to be catching up with the Birds on the Bat.

    I feel for our team when during tonight’s game our illustrious Fox Sports Midwest crew believes tomorrow the team and Franklin are going to have to do some soul searching.

    This soul searching should have been happening back in April when he was blowing saves. But whatever!

    While Theriot didn’t make the fan club happy at all, to have blamed that whole loss on him like some in the twitterverse were doing was beyond ridiculous. Brendan Ryan isn’t coming back! If you don’t believe me, Bernie Miklasz even said it! Lol! http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/bernie-miklasz/article_5c928c1a-975a-11e0-a6b9-001a4bcf6878.html

    • Hey, thanks! If a move is made with Batista, we may have to find a new inspiration for our poetry nights…

      And again, I agree. I get so tired of the Theriot haters. And coming from me, that’s a big deal! I was NOT a fan at the beginning of the season. And while his defense leaves much to be desired, he has come up with some clutch hits that I can’t overlook (Cubs series, anyone? Albert’s heroic walk-off #1 wouldn’t ever had a chance without Ryan’s hit up the third base line).

      He’s infuriating sometimes, but I got just as frustrated with Brendan. Plus, the 2010 Redbirds were beyond frustrating. I want nothing to do with anything that may have been problematic last year…and Brendan was. Like it or not, he’s out. Theriot is in. Punto isn’t available. TheRiot is it.

      The bullpen on the other hand MUST be dealt with, especially after another Franklin collapse tonight. We can’t keep doing this.

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