Yesterday, the Cardinals had another opportunity to sweep an opponent . . . and once again, they failed. They have 9 chances to sweep another team in a 3 or 4 game set ( I didn't look at the 2 game sets). In those 9 chances, they have capitalized with a victory only twice . . . sweeping Washington early in the season and sweeping San Diego to open the 2nd half. The seven other times, the Cards have come up short. I wondered if there was a specific part of the team that was to blame . . . bullpen? offense? starting pitching? management?
After checking, it became clear that the losses were a team effort--all parts of the team contributed to the inability to sweep.
April 4-6 (W 3-0) Lohse pitches 7 innings gives up no runs and the Cards sweep the Nats..
April 15-17 (L5-3 in 10) Lohse starts and pitches well (7 ip 2 er) but wunderbrad gives up a dinger to Fielder in the 10th--a heartbreaker. Blame the bullpen but also the offense--3 runs aren't enough.
May 23-25 (L 4-3) Wellemeyer goes 6 and gives 3 ER but the Cardinals offense can plate only 3 against the Dodgers. I would lay the blame on the offense here . . .
June 3-5 (L 10-9) The last game of a DH in Washington--Parisi starts and gets rocked--4 innings and 8 runs. The offense comes back but the bullpen can't hold the lead. The bullpen gets some blame but also the manager--TLR blew through 5 relievers in 3 innings in the first game.
June 10-12 (L 6-2) Jo-El pitches 5 innings and gives 2 but the offense can't figure Arroyo out--can't sweep Cincy
June 20-22 (L 5-3 in 13) In the best game of the year, Jo-El pitches again and goes 7 innings while giving 2 runs. Parisi gives up a dinger to Youkilis. A sweep of the Bo Sox would have been nice . . . blame who--I would say upper management. By this point in the season, it is clear that the bullpen is becoming a problem and nothing is/was done to fix it.
July 17-20 (W 9-5) The Miles granny game . . . Jaime Garcia goes 5 innings and gives up 3 runs . . . the offense wins the game.
July 28-31 (L 9-4) Jo-El again . . . Pineiro gives up a lead or a tie 3 times in six innings as he allofws 6 runs. The disheartened offense quits scoring. Starting pitching gets the blame for this one.
August 8-7 (L 4-1) Lohse gives 4 runs in innings but the offense can't figure out the rookie Kershaw.
So . . . imo, the offense gets full or partial blame 4 times, the pen twice, the starters once, and management twice.
Just as an interesting add on, the Cubs have had 11 chances to sweep 3-4 game sets and have capitalized 6 times--going 6-5 in sweep opportunities. The Beermakers have had the chance to sweep 13 times and have done so 7 times--going 7-6 in sweep opportunities.
Call it what you will, the Cards main competition keeps its foot on the opponents throat when it has the chance--but the Cards don't seem to have that killer instinct.