I couldn't watch this game live—I'm back from vacation, but not back-back—so in the land of the angry the marginally concerned man is king of mellow observations.
Let's start with the good news: Jake Westbrook pitched really well! 10 groundouts, one flyout; seven strikeouts, one walk; lots of good things, not a lot of bad things. 100 pitches in six innings—that could be better. Two runs in six innings is at the high end of possible Westbrook projections, but once it actually happens it's never enough; that seventh inning seems so easily within reach.
And typically the Cardinals' bullpen won't walk four guys and allow eight hits in three innings. There's a tendency among even the most orthodox sabermetrically inclined bloggers to ignore small sample size warnings at their smallest, when a bullpen meltdown occurs and it's better copy to get worried than to say that sometimes players don't play particularly well.
The particular players might not play particularly well ever, of course, which is the real source of complaints. Aside from Mike MacDougal, who remains an indecipherable Dave Duncan experiment, the personnel here wasn't so very egregious; Jason Motte has been one of the Cardinals' best relievers, and Trever Miller isn't supposed to have trouble retiring Angel Sanchez or Michael Bourne.
Meanwhile, La Russa's penchant for the inexplicable double switch or in-game substitution is legendary and rarely as damaging as it is frustrating. Losing Colby Rasmus so as to get Randy Winn an extra at-bat is pointless, and bringing up Nick Stavinoha instead of Allen Craig, who is now hitting .319/.388/.559 in Memphis, is absurd, but the bullpen lost the game, and once they did it they kept on doing it.
Speaking of losing things, and continuing to lose things, we come to David Freese's rehab setback.
Rehabbing third baseman David Freese encountered a setback Monday night during his first game with Double-A Springfield and will be reevaluated Tuesday in St. Louis.
After doubling in his third at-bat in the bottom of the fifth inning, Freese was attempting to score on a base hit when he pulled up rounding third base and reached for his right ankle. He was tagged out on the play before witnesses reported he walked off the field with a limp.
I've seen this rehab setback before; one month from now, the Cardinals will trade David Freese for Jake Westbrook.
Freese going down is less problematic than it was last month; Skip Schumaker has an .807 OPS since the break, Brendan Ryan is punching singles through holes like he has a particularly Calvinist understanding of regression to the mean, and Felipe Lopez has been pleasant to watch as an everyday leadoff hitter. But the simple volume of setbacks has become irritating, and it is borderline incredible to watch a professional baseball team struggle to get players back from bad sprained ankles and hamstring problems.
According to the official site's initial report, it's a separate injury. This leaves me less indignant and more flummoxed, which is at least a better word.