It feels like they gave that game away. When we look back, the 5 baserunners lost on outs on the basepaths will be the big story. Let’s take a look at them.
- Felipe Lopez thrown out stealing (first inning) – well, the Cardinals hadn’t scored the previous night, and Tony LaRussa was trying to get the offense started, so one can understand why he’d send Lopez. Yorvit Torrealba made a good throw, and Lopez was out by 4 or 5 feet.
- John Jay thrown out at home (first inning) – Luis Durango was called up from AAA on Tuesday, so the Cardinals probably had no scouting report on his arm and decided to test him. Doing that in the first inning, when you have 8 innings to recover if he’s thrown out, seems reasonable. Durango had the ball before Jay rounded third, and threw him out by 10 feet.
- Cody Rasmus thrown out at second (fourth inning) – there were two out, and Yadier Molina hit a dribbler up the line. Rasmus rounded the bag thinking he might be able to get to third if the defense was asleep. Adrian Gonzalez, however, was wide awake, and alertly threw to second, getting Rasmus in a rundown.
- Whatever that was in the eleventh (eleventh inning). I hate the contact play, especially in extra innings with NO OUTS. You gotta get a run there. If the ball is hit right to an infielder, then they get the out at first, but you can still score the run from third with a fly ball. Rasmus was caught in a rundown. Molina tried to get to third, and probably would have if Rasmus had stayed in the rundown a little longer. He didn’t, and both runners got tagged out.
So if you’re keeping score at home, three outs based on managerial/coaching decisions, and two on over-aggressive baserunning. But, one could come up with a rational reason for all the blunders, except Rasmus getting picked off second.
The other thing I can’t figure out is why LaRussa stayed with Kyle McClellan in the eighth against Matt Stairs instead of bringing in Trever Miller. Stairs is 0-3 lifetime with 3 K’s against Miller, and had walked against McClellan the only time they squared off before tonight. Seemed a curious decision, exacerbated by Stairs lining the only pitch he saw to the deepest part of the park for an RBI double. Sure looked like that would be the game, although gritty at-bats by Skip Schumaker and Ryan Ludwick in the ninth staved off defeat for 3+ innings.
As Jerry Hairston Jr’s second HR in as many days left the yard, all I could think was ‘They gave that game away. They gave it away.’
PJ Walters gets the start tomorrow as the Redbirds try to salvage one.
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