that's the cards' most aggravating loss since this one, in which st louis twice had the tying run at 3d with one out late in the game and couldn't get the ball out of the infield. . . . after that game, i noted that the cardinals had swung at nearly everything in those critical rbi situations. similar thing happened last night: after pujols' hit put the tying run at 3d with nobody out, the cardinals hacked at 9 of the ensuing 13 pitches, including at least three that probably were balls:
- the 0-1 pitch to rolen: slider down and in, a pitcher's pitch. even if it's a strike, the best rolen can do with it is beat it into the ground. no reason to chase that one; rolen fouled it off to put himself in an 0-2 hole.
- the 0-0 pitch to taguchi: a late, anxious half-swing on a high fastball --- probably ball 1. gooch obviously was not looking for that pitch, put himself in a hole. cotts let him off the hook with the subsequent hbp.
- the 0-0 pitch to kennedy: slider in on the hands; again, probably a ball. presumably kennedy was anticipating an inside fastball and got fooled; he tapped the pitch foul.
re la russa's failure to pinch-hit spiezio for preston wilson in the 8th, with dempster on the mound . . . . don't really know what to say about it. it was such an obvious thing to do that i feel silly explaining why spiezio was a superior choice to wilson. i haven't seen any explanation from tony, except that wilson got a hit off dempster last week. . . . if that was the reason, it wasn't one of la russa's more clever tactical maneuvers.
well, let me be a little more honest about this: i thought it was beyond stupid. but if anybody can defend that (non)move, i'm all ears.
i looked at reyes' bad inning --- homer to ramirez on a changeup, the 3d anthony had thrown in the at-bat. he fooled ramirez with two changes to start the at-bat, wasted a fastball away, then came back with the change on 1-2 --- ramirez was waiting for it. reyes had used a similar sequence on this hitter after getting two strikes on him in the 2d inning --- wasted an 0-2 fastball away, then came back with the changeup down and in (for a ball) and another changeup on 2-2; the one ramirez hit out was the 5th changeup ramirez had seen in two plate appearances. . . . the pitch to pie was just a nothing fastball, an 86 mph pitch. in the first, when reyes struck out the side, he was hitting 93 on the gun with high fastballs, and threw a 91 mph high fastball two pitches before the homer to pie, so the speed of the gopher-ball pitch suggests that it was a failed two-seamer.
cards/cubs series is off to a great start this year --- three very interesting games already, tossups. we'll see how they fall this afternoon.