That was a frustratingly winnable game that is frustratingly difficult to pin on any one mistake, particularly in the endgame, when Cardinals we like—I'm looking at Glove-Wearing Yadier Molina and Mitchell Boggs—made one mistake after the next in a fashion that frustratingly resembled Cardinals we don't like.
The Cardinals' continued overestimation of Miguel Batista's abilities will rarely be so tragic, but it continues to frustrate me because I can't even attempt to rationalize La Russa's understanding of his abilities. You just can't watch Miguel Batista pitch and get the impression that he's a wily veteran, or especially effective; he looks like any other 25-50 year-old relief pitcher with a live fastball and poor command.
When La Russa attempts something from a system or a theory I have a lot of sympathy for it, even when it might be wrong or meaningless—his fetishization of relief specialists, the pitcher hitting eighth, even that incredible and brief experiment with Oakland where he abolished the starting pitcher. But with Miguel Batista he's just looking at an old guy with saves and projecting old-guy-with-saves qualities onto that roster spot. It's lazy and it's wrong.
Finally, I hold this truth very close to my heart: If your team can't win handily in a game when Daniel Descalso reaches base four times and picks up seven total bases, it's hard to complain about losing it. Descalso, who has, at times, looked spectacularly overmatched—his early at-bat against Joel Hanrahan looked like a fantasy camp experience—gets his seasonal line up to .256/.276/.410 with the outburst, from .194/.211/.250, which can happen when you nearly double your total bases in one night.