too bad they couldn’t cash in that bit of luck in the 7th inning, ie the bases-loaded single that hit the baserunner; you don’t get many gifts like that in a season. if it goes through, the reds probably go ahead by 3 or 4 and the game’s over. alas, the LOB curse that houstoncardinal wrote about sunday got in the way again --- cards left 10 men on and had their own bases-loaded misadventure, back in the 3d inning. that’s where they lost the game. although the score was 4-0 at that point, arroyo was hardly looking sharp --- 5 of the first 12 men he faced had reached base, he wasn’t keeping the ball down, wasn’t hitting corners. he was ripe. duncan hits arroyo pretty well -- .313 career average / .625 slugging coming into the game --- and he singled in his first at-bat. here’s how arroyo pitched him in the key 3d-inning at-bat:
in, in, and in. similar pattern when duncan came up in the 5th with pujols on first ---
and the last out of the game, against cordero (again with a man on), came on a fastball in on the hands. is everybody pitching duncan this way? and if they are, am i the last one to notice? [UPDATE: apparently i am the last to notice --- or at least, not the first; azruavatar posted on this very same subject (ie, duncan getting busted inside) a couple weeks ago --- gameday screen capture and everything. . . . ]
anyway, back to the 3d inning --- duncan popped out and dimmed the prospects for the rally; they scratched out a run on glaus’s walk, but that’s a weak return on a one-out, sacks-jammed opportunity with the 4/5 hitters at bat against a laboring pitcher. even a single by duncan (or glaus, for that matter) makes it a different game; an extra-base blow and the cards have a good shot to come back and win that game.
ryan ludwick batted leadoff last night, as a few people on this board have been suggesting since spring training; the one-game returns weren’t positive, which doesn't mean anything; i’ll credit la russa for thinking unconventionally and batting ludwick there instead of going with a more orthodox leadoff type like izturis or kennedy. it's an interesting experiment, and on a team such as this i'm in favor of experimentation. but in my opinion they've got another leadoff-man experiment that's working out so far --- schumaker and barton. those two have occupied the leadoff slot in 25 of the 27 games to date, and cardinal leadoff men rank first in the league in runs and walks and 3d in obp.
wellemeyer kept the ball in the park for only the second time all year. interesting split --- in his three starts at home this year, he has yielded 22 fly balls and only 1 homer; on the road, 21 fly balls and 5 homers. not drawing any conclusions from that, but keeping my eye on it. as long as wellemeyer keeps throwing strikes, i’m fine with him staying in the rotation. last night he only walked 2 men last night and threw nearly 70 percent of his pitches for strikes, and he continues to miss bats (11 swinging strikes last night). what the hell; leave him out there and see if he can keep it up. but now here’s the irony: the stated rationale for using wellemeyer in the rotation was that the cardinals won all but one of his starts last year. i thought that was a dumb reason, as the w-l had less to do with wellemeyer than with his teammates. but now wellemeyer’s actually showing signs of being a decent power pitcher ---- striking a lot of guys out (he ranks 3d in the nl in strikeouts as of this morning, and 5th in k/9) and keeping them off the basepaths --- but the team’s only 3-3 in his starts. with mulder’s return looming, the colonel’s hold on a rotation slot remains pretty dicey.
gotta keep it short today. it’s a year since josh hancock’s fatal accident, a fitting time to remember him and think about the circumstances of his death.