A quick announcement to lead off – the United Cardinal Bloggers will be doing their annual Progressive Game Blog during Saturday’s Cubs/Cardinals Game. You can read more about it here. I will be covering the third inning. The idea was to cover a nationally televised game, but I’m not holding my breath the Cardinal game will be carried locally in San Diego. I’ll probably have the post up late Saturday night.
Batting second – I knew the Cardinals were in Chicago this weekend, but I didn’t put Chicago – Wrigley – day game together until I walked into the Brewhouse for lunch with my wife around 1pm Pacific time. Not only was the Cardinal game on about 10 different TVs in the restaurant, the Cardinals led 5-0 in the fifth. Yipee! I did witness Tyler Colvin’s first major league HR (downer), but the beer put that slight twinge of pain away, and the Ludwick HR in the eighth made me smile as I left the place. Nice.
Incidentally, that’s only the fifth time the Cardinals blitzed a starting pitcher for six consecutive hits and knocked him out of the game without retiring a single hitter. The other four victims:
- Shawn Boskie, 20 Sept 1992, again at Wrigley. He actually faced 7 hitters in that first inning, walking one along with the six hits.
- Jerry Reuss, 27 June 1978, in Pittsburgh. Second game of a double-header.
- Dan Spillner, 8 Aug 1975, in St Louis, against the Padres.
- Harvey Haddix, 25 May 1961, in St Louis, and also as a Pirate.
Finally, as the third hitter, I want to make a couple of comments about Kyle Lohse.
The Post Dispatch reported on Thursday that Kyle Lohse suffers from a rare forearm condition (compartment syndrome), and he had surgery to attempt a correction Friday. This is a blow to the Cardinals, for Lohse was expected to be one of the horses of the rotation. Coming at the same time as Brad Penny’s trip to the DL for a strained back muscle, the Cardinals are a little short-handed in the rotation. Adam Ottavino will get the spot start today in Chicago.
Lohse signed a 4Y/$41M contract after the 2008 season, which some of us (myself included) at the time were a little leery of. Lohse had pitched brilliantly for a rather weak Cardinals club, and he posted career numbers (15-6, 3.78 ERA, ERA+ 113). I didn’t think he’d live up to those numbers again, and prophetically he’s spent most of the last season plus struggling. His difficulties really started with the Joe Blanton pitch he took off the same forearm.
Once the story went up on his condition, the ST P-D comment sniping began. To wit:
And a bad deal gets worse. Nothing else you can say at this point. 40 million wasted. Wow. And I get mad when I waste 40 bucks!
G’bye Lohse…don’t let the door hit ya.
Those are the two comments you can see on the main page, and they are fairly representative of the general tone of the rest of the discussion.
Whether or not you felt the initial deal was a bad one, when one evaluates it now they need to keep in mind (a) Lohse is a competitive guy; it’s not like he went all JaMarcus Russell on the Cardinals and rolled over as soon as he had his money, and (b) it is inherently unfair to blame a guy for getting hurt when he contracted a condition so rare there’s no evidence any other pitcher – ever – has suffered from it. Kyle Lohse did not go to bed each night praying to get hurt so he couldn’t pitch anymore. If anything, his willingness to undergo surgery and try to correct the problem speaks of his desire to fix this physical issue and return to the mound.
It frustrates me when fans blame a player for some event that negatively affects his performance but which is completely out of his control. This is one of those cases. You want to skewer the organization for signing Lohse to a ‘halo’ contract, sure – I think, in 2008, there was justification to do so. You want to skewer the organization, and Lohse, for the contract and performance (respectively) when it turns out he has been hurt the last 12 months – that’s something else, and I find it misguided.
I hope Lohse has a full recovery and is able to pitch in 2011 like he did in 2008. I doubt we will see him again in 2010.