This Is The Way The Season Ends

The way the Cardinals have played lately brings to mind the ending of T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Hollow Men,” only describing this baseball season instead of the world:

This is the way the season ends
This is the way the season ends
This is the way the season ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

A whimper on the field, that is. Some fans still get irate, a few think there’s still a chance. Others just shrug — they’ve written this year off already.

Yesterday, the Cardinals provided more of the same whimpering in losing a game they should have won against the Cubs. It was a gorgeous day at Wrigley Field, bright sun and a brilliant blue sky. Cubs fans were already happy going into the game, since general manager Jim Hendry was finally gone.

Cards fans were happy early on. In the second inning, Lance Berkman (the high socks apparently a one-day thing) walked. Yadier Molina was next, launching a homer into the left field bleachers to put the Cards up 2-0. Ryan Theriot, playing second base at Wrigley again, followed that with a double and scored when Jaime Garcia singled. (Another hitterish pitcher!)

Yet Jaime’s hitting might have been more impressive than his pitching. He wasn’t terrible, he just wasn’t really effective — he allowed nine hits, walked two and gave up three runs including a homer to Darwin Barney. He also gave up back-to-back triples to Barney and Blake DeWitt to start the seventh. At least he improved on his three straight five-inning appearances.

Of course, those triples didn’t necessarily have to be. Barney’s came after the ball went past LB in right field and he had to run to get the ball. Next batter, exact same misplay only this time by Jon Jay.

The Cards had built their lead to 4-1 thanks to a solo homer in the fourth by David Freese, who’s now had RBI in seven of his last 10 games. But they only had one hit the rest of the game, a Jon Jay single in the eighth — and then Jay was caught stealing.

Given that the Cubs won in 10 innings, of course the bullpen is to blame for allowing the tie and ultimately the loss. In the eighth Arthur Rhodes walked Carlos Pena, the only batter he faced, then was relieved by Kyle McClellan. He promptly allowed a double by Geovany Soto down the left field line and Pena scored. Two innings later, Soto scored the winning run on a single by Tyler Colvin off Octavio Dotel.

So it goes.

And, of course, it’s no surprise that the Brewers won again — they beat the Mets 6-1 in what ended up being a late-night game in New York. Milwaukee now has a 7 1/2 game lead in the Central, same as the Phillies over the Braves and the largest leads in any division. The Cardinals also are 7 1/2 back in the wild card race, in case you were curious.

This is the way the season ends — by losing another winnable game with a whimper.


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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