One bad inning. Two days in a row, the Cardinals have essentially been undone by one bad inning. In both cases it featured specious fielding, an American League pitcher reaching base and the Blue Jays scoring runs in bunches.
Kyle McClellan wasn't as solid as you'd like him to be but 4 strikeouts in 5 innings and two unintentional walks is not exactly a condemnation. The 8 hits were his undoing with, as mentioned, another fielding miscue, this time from Lance Berkman. With the exception of the 2nd inning homerun by Blue Jays' catcher JP Arencibia (the other player I coveted in the 2007 first round), McClellan had pitched reasonably well until the 6th.
The sixth inning is when things unravelled. A single, flyout, single, error, intentional walk, single and single and Kyle McClellan is lifted for reliever Mitchell Boggs. Part of the issue with Kyle McClellan as a pitcher is his huge dependency on his fielders to make plays. He strikes out fewer than 5 batters per inning and usually compensates with superb command. That still leaves a lot of balls in play that the defenders have to make plays on. When they don't, it's unlikely that he will rescue himself from the situation.
Mitchell Boggs again showed the lunacy of his brief starting stint in Memphis. After being called in to stop the bleeding in the sixth, he proceeded to strike out Aaron Hill and Jose Bautista on sliders. He'd pitch another scoreless inning after that.
Equally problematic with McClellan's 6th inning stumble was the silence of the Cardinals bats again. Ricky Romero went the distance allowing just 4 hits and 2 walks in 9 innings of work. The team simply has to find a way to get the bats going on a daily basis.
Besides Mitchell Boggs, Raul Valdes proved that he can retire major league hitters (at least three of them) including strikeotus of Corey Patterson and Rajai Davis. Valdes' fastball is, well, not that fast, clocking in the high-80s according to gameday. Nonetheless, it's a small positive and, during a three game sweep, that's the only kind of positives you're likely to find.
The Cardinals have the day off before heading to
Busch East Camden Yards to play the Orioles beginning Tuesday.