Cliff Lee. Oh, Cliff Lee. *sigh*
When this guy is on, there’s almost no stopping him. Especially with an injury-riddled Cardinals lineup.
First things first, though, I’d be remiss not to add my own poetic farewell to our
beloved relief poet-pitcher.
It was a question from the start –
Could Duncan’s magic play the part
To take a 40-something arm
And make it strong, make it charm.
But batters faced just didn’t see
Bewitching power or velocity.
What they saw was pitch after pitch
That was just right to hit…and hit, and hit.
They hit them long, they hit them hard
We couldn’t watch as your ERA soared.
Games won and lost because of you
Came more than just a time or two.
So while it’s tough to send one packing,
Even the best fans of all aren’t lacking
The smarts to know it’s for the best
To send you home, put Lance to the test.
It isn’t personal, but we say adieu
And hope your struggles leave us, too.
So long, farewell, Â we say goodbye
And hope for the best from the new relief guy.
And now, back to regular programming, i.e. Cliff “Complete Game” Lee.
Kyle Lohse started for the Cards and had a pretty solid go of it, lasting eight innings (always good for the bullpen’s sake!), giving up seven hits and needing only 90 pitches to get through 24 outs. Unfortunately, there was that one fateful inning, once again. This time in the fourth. Lohse gave up homers to Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard, also scoring Chase Utley. Lohse did, however, become the first Cardinal since 1991Â to go 8+ innings without issuing a single walk (via Fox Sports Midwest producer @Tim_Trokey).
Unfortunately, a struggling St. Louis offense was no match for a sizzlingÂ Philadelphia starter.
Lee pitched his second shutout in a row, holding the Cardinals to six hits, only one for extra bases (good effort, Lohse!) and only two coming in the same inning.
For an offense that has been so good at producing runs at times this season, they sure go cold at the worst times. Of course, playing with a roster full of rookies doesn’t add a ton of consistency.
After Lohse doubled to lead off the third inning, Pete Kozma made a rookie mistake and failed to get the sacrifice bunt down to move Lohse into scoring position. Ryan Theriot followed Kozma’s failed attempt with a single that should have scored the run, but instead kept the double play opportunity in place, and the ever-so-generous Cardinals obliged, ending the only real scoring threat of the night.
Mitchell Boggs pitched the 9th for the Redbirds, giving up one more run, but it wasn’t necessary.
Lee had all he needed after that 4th-inning glitch from Lohse, and he rolled to his 8th win of the year.
On the plus side, we avoided all major bullpen disasters! And I don’t think anyone else got hurt.
But, the sans-Pujols run tally for the series is a whopping two.
And we get Roy Oswalt to finish it out on Thursday.
Here’s hoping Chris Carpenter has his best stuff of the season (and a little backup from the rest of the guys in his dugout!).