beaten by esteban yan -- that's the worst part of it. . . .
it's a bad loss, no question; a terrible one, made all the more painful by the circumstances. it was shaping up as such a satisfying win, chapter two of the let's-all-pull-together story they began writing on sunday. so it feels like they lost more than one game; they lost some good mojo, too. a stunning blow, but the cardinals will shake it off. of greater significance, in my opinion, is the effect of that late-inning reversal upon the reds. a comeback like that can make a team believe. instead of dragging ass back to the clubhouse muttering we outhit 'em, we punished the ball for 9 innings, they're undermanned, and they STILL beat us . . . , the reds can instead tell themselves: we kept battling, banging on the door, until we finally busted it down. we can beat these guys. cincinnati now has a "play a hard 9" moment, a rallying cry; that may prove to be the most costly thing about last night's defeat.
having said that, i still have a hard time believing the reds are serious threats to win the division. they're 9th in the league in pitching, with a shaky rotation and an even worse bullpen. they have allowed the 2d-highest home-run total in the nl and committed the 2d-highest number of errors -- oh, and they're 14th in the league in double plays. pitching and defense, they ain't got. . . . right? no, i guess they don't. but since may 1, they have posted a 4.10 era to the cards' 4.25. . . . . .and taking the season as a whole, they have allowed the league's fewest walks and are 1st in k/w ratio. last night's win leaves them 22-12 against nl central foes; the cardinals are now a woeful 14-15. and cincinnati has the league's best road record, at 18-13.
nah, still not buying it; not yet. show me.
i've been a defender of isringhausen, but these last two blown saves have me concerned. he's lost the feel for his cut fastball again; same problem that plagued him the 1st week of the season. he quickly got the pitch under control back then, but his command has been eroding over the last couple of weeks and it has returned to crisis proportions. last night he was missing consistently to the 1st-base side of the plate -- ie, missing outside to right-handed hitters and inside to lefties. and missing badly. on the 3-2 to aurilia, molina set up on the inside corner, but the pitch was a foot outside. on the 3-2 to junior, yadi set up on the same corner -- the 3d-base corner, calling for an outside pitch to the left-handed griffey -- and jason missed to the right again, threw it straight down the middle. seems like that should be a correctable problem, but they've already been through one round of corrections . . . .
check out his postgame remarks at the official site. that's a frustrated pitcher.
combining this year with last, when his control first emerged as a problem, izzy has walked 50 guys in his last 82 innings pitched, or 5.5 men per 9 innings. that's about twice the walk rate (2.9 per 9) he posted in his first three years with the cardinals. in part, the inflated total reflects jason's recently adopted pitch-around-em m.o., but he wasn't pitching around anyone last night; he simply couldn't find the plate.
he has had only four 1-2-3 innings all season.
all four of izzy's blown saves have come against divisional foes -- 2 vs the cubs, one each vs the reds and pirates. as a group, the bullpen has blown 7 saves this year -- all within the nl central. which, all by itself, explains the team's lousy record in the division.
hey, here's an interesting item: the official site lists marquis as friday's starter; that should be mulder's turn. the starter for saturday is named as "to be determined." i wonder what's up. mulder's back, you'll recall, flared up on him in april. maybe he's hurt.
maybe he's being traded . . . . .
Update [2006-6-6 11:36:9 by lboros]: they've updated the site as of 10:30 a.m. CDT -- mulder is now listed as saturday's starter, meaning he's going on 7 days' rest. marquis remains listed as friday's starter, which means he essentially is hop-frogging mulder in the rotation. [end update]
saturday would be the natural turn for anthony reyes, who pitched last night and threw 6 innings of 1-run ball against new orleans; allowed 4 hits (one a dinger), walked 1, struck out 5.
the amateur draft takes place today, and i'll have a separate thread going on the diary sidebar, with updates as available.