Just Too Confusing For Words

Most of the time I go into writing a post well before that evening’s game, or if not, at least I have a have a general plan as to what I will say. That was not the case last night. I went into the game just kind of crossing my fingers that inspiration would strike and I’d be left with the perfect topic. Well, 13 innings, 15 runs, 29 hits, 42 players and 4 hours and 32 minutes of baseball later, I have to say this:

I’m still confused.
Where do you start in this chaos? What do you say about a team that put up a big inning against an elite pitcher, coughed up a six run lead; had players playing with bumps, bruises and noticeable gimps; and looked like one of the most feeble and one of the most fearless teams… all in one night?
Kathy Willens – AP
The first inning was a heart attack all on its own. After hanging a very serious six spot on Johan Santana of all people, it was amusing that Jaime Garcia knocked in two runs before he had even taken the mound, while Albert Pujols had made both the second and third outs of the inning! How often do you see that? (Hint – you don’t.) The bottom of the inning seemed even more hectic, as Jaime managed to load the bases twice before sneaking out with only two runs allowed. Hey, at least he had already made up for those two before he gave them up, right?
For the next few innings I almost tuned out completely on the game, lost in my thought process on what to write about. Both pitchers settled in and it looked much more like the pitcher’s duel I think many of us were expecting. After all, Garcia and Santana were the two that had started out the game together during that 20 inning marathon back in April that stayed scoreless until well into extras. However, after a first inning like the one we saw last night, thoughts of that game were pushed far from our minds.
Suddenly it was the eighth inning. I’ll be honest – I contemplated making an ice cream run in the top of the eighth, but decided that the game would be over soon and I could go out afterward. I figured, half an hour, tops. ‘Afterward,’ had I still gone out, would not have come about until two and a half hours later. By that point, instead of wanting ice cream, I had contemplated losing my dinner once or twice. But I digress…
Where were we? Ahh yes, the eighth. Mitchell Boggs, who has been really quite good for most of this year, got tagged with four runs. I don’t normally play the armchair manager card, but I was not pleased at Tony spinning the bullpen merry-go-round. So Boggs comes out. Yes, Jason ‘Mayhem’ Motte needed 10 pitches to get his one out, but I’m fairly certain he would have been okay for a few more, whereas Dennys Reyes has struggled, and didn’t do the job last night either, giving up a walk and a single to the only two batters he faced before passing the ball to Kyle McClellan, who finally stopped the bleeding, but the damage was done.
Tie score. Frustration. Who is this team? They confuse me, alternating flashes of brilliance with shocking moments of despair more often than Ed Wade changes his trade demands for Roy Oswalt (Yep, I went there, although it sounds this morning like he might finally be on the move after all). If the pitchers are lights out, then the batters take the week off. If the hitters are scoring runs in bunches, someone is giving them up just as quickly. We saw the team go into a tailspin against the Rockies before the break, then bust out the big bats and electric arms for an 8 game winning streak, then immediately drop the next three, just to make fans start pulling their hair out again.
Extra innings brought their own share of what has made this a very confusing team. There were runners lost on the basepaths, extra opportunities squandered by immediately hitting into a double play or two, and another questionable manager choice. Can anyone explain to me why Tony ran out Randy Winn to pinch hit in the ninth with two on and two out instead of Ryan Ludwick? I don’t care if Luddy is still getting back in the swing of things – if he’s on the roster, he should be good enough to be IN the game. I would rather see Luddy out there 8 days a week over Winn. No joke.
Kathy Willens – AP
Seeing Pujols gimping around in the field after tweaking his calf in the top of the eleventh was a sinking feeling, and seeing Skip Schumaker get plunked in the thirteenth was another one of those feelings. At that point, the bench is empty, save for the other four starting pitchers. Had Skip been seriously injured or Albert been limping too badly to go back out there – who do you put in to play? I personally would have enjoyed Gold Glove winner Adam Wainwright out there, but he was burned in the top of the thirteenth as a pinch hitter. The options would have been Carpenter, Hawksworth and Suppan. I’m laughing just thinking about it!
Thankfully Albert and the Cards pushed a run across in the top of the thirteenth and Ryan Franklin threw a quick 1-2-3 inning to close out the game. I still feel confused, and as much as I want to say ‘A win is a win’ and move on, it’s tough sometimes!
To end this post with a smile, this is what I was thinking about when I was writing about pinch hitting Winn instead of Luddy… would someone pass this along to Tony for me? I feel like he forgot! ;)
Gametime today is… 11:10 AM? Are you kidding me? Those poor tired players… here’s hoping Albert, Skip and everyone else on the team feeling the bumps and bruises of those dog days of summer got some sleep last night. It would be nice to pull out a series win against the pond scum!

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