Worst Fears

A game that started off so well ended up being painful to watch.

Let us start with the shocking: Albert Pujols grounded into three double plays yesterday. Three. First time in his career he’s ever done that. According to various reports, the Cardinal record for hitting into double plays in on game is 4, held by Joe Torre. Joe Torre did indeed ground into 4 DP’s in one game, but as a New York Met (21 July 1975). Reported on twitter by me, but I’m willing to bet Derrick Goold beat me to it. No doubt someone will have figured that out by now. Four is the Major League record.

The Cardinal record is indeed 3, which Pujols tied today. It’s been done twice before, by Scott Rolen, and Orlando Cepeda. Interestingly St Louis won the game that day in 1966 when Cepeda did it, but that may be because Bob Gibson was on the mound.

The other aspect of Pujols’ day that will have folks concerned is his oh for 2 with RISP. He also came up with a total of 5 guys on and didn’t drive any of them in. Good thing Matt Holliday had a big day, or this game might not have gotten to extra innings. It is only one game, but one wonders if all the contract talk weighs on him a little bit.

Despite the errors and lack of hitting – they ended with 12 hits but only 3 runs – this was a game they should have won. They did enough. We can blame Ryan Franklin for surrendering the bomb to Cameron Maybin in the ninth that tied it, and Ryan Theriot for taking his eye off Jon Jay’s throw in the eleventh that allowed Padre catcher Nick Hundley to scamper home with the go-ahead (and eventual winning) run, but that is not really fair. This game was lost when the Cardinals left 8 men on in the first 9 innings, when they had Tim Stauffer on the ropes while putting the first three men on the fourth, and the first two in the sixth, yet only scored one run total in those two innings.

Chris Carpenter looked good, and was efficient. Seven innings, 98 pitches, two earned runs (although by rights it should have been only one; how Skip Schumaker does not get charged with an error in the fifth when he didn’t hold the ball while tagging Ryan Ludwick out stealing is beyond me). Miguel Batista was Miguel Batista. Both Trever Miller and Brian Tallet pitched well. Augenstein struggled but that’s somewhat understandable for his first game back in the majors in over a year (and his defense betrayed him too).

We ought to tip our cap to the Padre defense. Rightfielder Will Venable made several outstanding plays in the field. The new Padre keystone combo looked mighty good turning 4 double plays, and they individually made several solid plays. This game is put away early on without the stellar glove work by San Diego.

The Cardinals get an off-day tomorrow, then return to action Saturday, when Jake Westbrook squares off against Clayton Richard.

4 thoughts on “Worst Fears

  1. Good stuff…but a point on Skip’s drop. I believe he wasn’t charged with an error because the replay clearly shows Ludwick intentionally slapping at Skip’s glove to knock the ball out. That’s an illegal play. Just because the ump didn’t see or call it doesn’t mean the scorer can’t take it into consideration.

    Ball was caught cleanly and the tag cleanly applied…but an illegal play knocked the ball out. I think in this case the scorer sided with the argument that “An illegal play can negate a possible error”.

    Kevin

    1. Fair point. Live it looked like Schumaker just missed it. I happened to tape the game; after your comment I took another look at it, and yeah, Ludwick knocked the ball loose.

      I’m not sure trying to knock the ball loose is illegal. I remember the furor surrounding A-Rod in the 2003 ALCS, but that was not a slide play where the tag was being applied like what happened with Ludwick. My opinion: Ludwick’s play was fair, just caught Schumaker off-guard. Thoughts?

      1. I think it is illegal in that the runner cannot intentionally attempt to knock the ball from the fielder’s mitt like that…but I think I’m basing that on a vague memory of watching a Cards game where that happened to Pujols on a play at first…base runner reached up and swatted it away and was called out…?

        I would look up the rule, though.

  2. okay…on a quick scan of the rules, only thing I found was this: ” If, however, the runner has contact with a legally occupied base when he hinders the fielder, he shall not be called out unless, in the umpire’s judgment, such hindrance, whether it occurs on fair or foul territory, is intentional.”

    I guess an umpire could rule it as intentional interference if he wanted to…i don’t know…judgement for umps is pretty flexible…but my main question is…if it ISN’T against the rules to try and swat the ball out…why don’t we see it more often? And why was Ludwick attempting to conceal his swipe? “Respect for the game” only restrains so many.

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