“One bad inning … one bad inning … one bad inning and a 3-6-1…”
Sorry. I keep having this nightmare about the Cardinals starters losing games because of one bad inning. Last night’s dream included a bases-loaded, inning-ending, Cardinal-rally-killing 3-6-1 double play, to make matters worse.
Oh … wait, that wasn’t just a dream? Well. That’s disappointing. I guess that means we should take a closer look at reality. As the first chapter in the Pujols vs. the Cardinals saga played out, the storyline quickly shifted to the struggles and the questions about how to get them right. It wasn’t all bad … but a 5-1 loss is going to be mostly bad. Let’s play a round of “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.”
Yes, there was still good to be found in last night’s loss.
If you’re keeping track (be honest, who isn’t?), That One Guy Who Used To Play First Base was hitless on the night, and was part of a classic strike-’em-out, throw-’em-out double play to end the first inning. That play never gets old!
If you can ignore the score for a minute, you’ll noticed that there was some great pitching throughout the night. Even Lance Lynn, who is in the midst of a vaguely familiar pre-All-Star-break slide himself, pitched five great innings. Outside of the “one bad inning,” he tossed a three-hit, six-strikeout shutout. He was followed by Michael Blazek who has been as impressive as any rookie we’ve seen this year. He mowed through the top of the order in the seventh, and didn’t so much as bat an eye Albert’s way when he stepped to the plate. Fly out, ground out, ground out, and he was done. It was beautiful.