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St. Louis Cardinals 4 vs. San Francisco Giants 5: Extra-Weird-Innings

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I don't think there's anything instructive to pull from the actual facts of this game—a devastating extra-innings error from Albert Pujols, an outstanding outing from Bryan Augenstein saved by a diving stop from fourth-baseman Allen Craig, et cetera. This is as solid a proof as can be generated as to the uselessness of a single-game sample of baseball for anything except enjoyment. On that note: There were, at least, some enjoyable innings to be had, here, on the way to the final score. 

Credit where credit is due: I get why people might enjoy watching Ryan Theriot, now. He doesn't inspire confidence or awe on defense, and he's as visibly punchless as any non-pitcher I've ever seen, but that was a heroically gutsy at-bat in the ninth inning—for a guy who looks twitchy on defense and anxious running the bases he showed a startlingly flat affect in the course of working Brian Wilson to a full count and, finally, slipping a single by Miguel Tejada. So far it looks like his best-mental-shape-of-my-life admission that he'd been told to swing hard and often with the Chicago Cubs was legitimately a problem, one I'm happy to see the Cardinals attempting to rectify. 

As for Ryan Franklin—yikes. I love the knuckleball, but throwing two in a row to Buster Posey was a stupendously poor decision. I can see getting one over while ahead in the count, but unless you're Tim Wakefield that's not a pitch to rely on in high-leverage situations. Whoever's call that was—stop making that call. 

Franklin's not a great reliever, but in his time with the Cardinals he's been a good one; it's not his fault that he's been promoted beyond his level of competence, although most save situations (for teams with functioning bats) are perfect situations for him while some as-yet-unidentified stud reliever comes in in tie situations. 

Fernando Salas isn't that as-yet-unidentified stud reliever—my guess is that he's Ryan Franklin, only younger and less likely to throw a 2-2 knuckleball—but Eduardo Sanchez might be. If the Cardinals can bear to move Miguel Batista into the swingman role he innovated with the 1927 Yankees I'd like to see them take a chance with Sanchez, who's more likely to make a positive difference in this bullpen than Bryan Augenstein.