GAME TIME 8:40 PM CDTfrom a PR standpoint, the ankiel/jocketty show was a failure; more was concealed than was revealed. jocketty claimed not to know whether or not ankiel took hgh, and ankiel wasn't saying one way or the other . . . . . thanks for clearing that up, guys. you know, i can forgive a loved one for almost any transgression; we are all imperfect, and we all have a mixture of debits and credits on the moral ledger. but when a loved one deals with me dishonestly, that's the very hardest thing to forgive. jocketty and ankiel got up there and uttered weasel words, and that does not enhance my faith in them. it does not incline me to believe that every action taken was, as ankiel mumbled, "on the up and up." to me they just looked like another pair of powerful, privileged men, hiding behind their power and privilege and saying, "trust us."
sorry, fellahs. not in this century.
a weak defense, all in all --- but maybe not as weak as what the cardinals displayed during the ensuing ballgame. an errant throw and a bungled dp pivot supplied the dbacks with their margin of victory. and the cardinal manager commited a gaffe of his own in the 8th inning, when he allowed russ branyan to bat with the tying run at 3d base and one out. branyan has struck out in 40 percent of his at-bats this year, the same percentage he has whiffed over this entire career; to no one's surprise, he whiffed in this key at-bat too, and the cards stranded the runner. somewhat incredibly, la russa didn't have a left-handed bat on his bench despite the expanded rosters; his only lh reserve (schumaker) had already entered the game the previous inning. so tony could only maintain the platoon advantage in that at-bat by sticking w/ branyan. moreover, almost any pinch-hitter he sent up there (e.g., ryan or taguchi) would have been far more likely than branyan to ground into a double play, an even worse outcome than a k.
but tony did have ryan ludwick available. ludwick doesn't have pronounced k tendencies (23 pct this year) and was a low double-play risk (only 1 gidp all year; career groundball rate of just 31 pct). he also was not a bad choice platoon-wise, insofar as he has hit right-handers far better than lefties throughout his career. this year ludwick has a .288 / .336 / .552 line against rhp, which made him a better option than branyan (.198 / .297 / .484) even without considering strikeout / dp factors. . . . . we can't say that ludwick would necessarily have brought the tying run home, nor that the cardinals would have gone on to win the game if he had. but that was still a bad call by tony, one that diminished the cards' chances of winning.