I'm relatively sure every note of offseason pessimism was hit in those last few innings—the middle infield's general inadequacy, Ryan Franklin's furious near-adequacy, even the omnipresent fear that this is the year Albert Pujols becomes just another great first baseman. And in all of them, an implicit sub-fear: That Tony La Russa and the Cardinals' extended braintrust will do nothing to deal with it.
For me, the only actual mismanagement came when Miguel Batista and Bryan Augenstein came out in tie-game situations. I kind of like Augenstein—he probably won't lose another game like that—and if La Russa needs a long reliever I'm glad he's the one. But with Mitchell Boggs recovering slowly from his early-spring back issue the Cardinals can't afford to keep two strictly low-leverage relievers on the roster, and as long as they fail to correctly value Batista they'll have that problem.
That's the problem with this team, and the problem with this team's offseason—some truly esoteric valuations on intangible assets have created an infield that is as below average as last year's but tries harder to achieve it; a bullpen that is problematic, but has at least been problematic in the major leagues before.
I'll take the startling Matt Holliday home run and the Colby Rasmus triple, though. Rasmus looked really engaged, today, which bodes well for team harmony—something about his defense felt different, at least from the moment I got home to watch it. Maybe because I didn't see him bounce a throw.