Even the most well-oiled machines sometimes need repair. Oftentimes, this is because machines need more than oil to work, silly. Anyway, the Cardinals went 3-4 last week, but it felt worse. Mediocre starting pitching and questionable moves by the manager will make any one-run victory seem a little less than worth it. The games continue.
Game 26 vs. Phi., L 6-1: It doesn't feel good to lose by the same score two nights in a row. It especially hurts when you lose by five runs two nights in a row. Kyle Lohse was not sharp to say the least. He allowed a home run to Jayson Werth and a grand slam to Missouri State Bear Ryan Howard. In the eighth inning, Rick Ankiel did a 40-yard dash in a 30-yard room. As he was immobilized and carted off the field, Ankiel took all interest in the game with him. Fortunately, Ankiel retained all movement in his extremities, but would never grow a stellar mustache ever again.
Game 27 vs. Phi., L 10-7: Losing a two game series to the Fightins isn't the end of the world, but when the Cards throw their two best pitchers for both those games, you kind of hope they pull one of those games out. Jayson "Yes, it's spelled that way because I hit dingers" Werth hit a three-run dinger to mark the turning point of the game from "kinda winnable" to "what else is on TV." Wainwright was inefficient and issued too many walks and forwarded too many repeat memos to run his business successfully.
Game 28 vs. Pit., W 2-4: As I've stated before, the Pirates are a cure-all solution for the Cardinals. They're like the Flintstones vitamins of the NL Central. If the Cards could somehow play them every other series, the playoffs would be a shoe in. His Lordship Pujols takes his vitamins on a regular basis, and his metabolism makes them doubly effective. He went 4-4 with a tater tot in the first. Chris Duncan hit a two-run triple in the fourth. After the game, Duncan gave my favorite quote of the year. "I hit it really good." You sure did, big guy.
Game 29 vs. Pit., W 2-5: Colonel Wellemeyer finally pitched the way he pitched last year, which was sufficient. Jason LaRue used his mustache-mullet combo to power a ball over the outfield wall. Pirate pitcher Ross Ohlendorf (that can't be real) bean balled His Lordship and Ludwick in a row. This allowed Duncan to hit a ball really good for an RBI and Khalilbot processed the action, repeated it, and knocked in another run.
Game 30 vs. Cin., L 4-6: Jo-El continued his quest to win at least 12 games by throwing just one type of pitch. Even though he retired 13 of his last 14, he got beat up early in the game and it added up to a loss. Johnny Cueto continues to make me regret dropping him early in my fantasy league by going seven innings and allowing only one run. Reds reliever David Weathers was pulled out of the concession stand to allow three runs, including Tyler Greene's first career dinger, but it wasn't enough for a dubya.
Game 31 vs. Cin., L 3-8: Lohse pitched decently most of the game. After allowing a couple initial runs, he cruised until the fifth. He was having trouble and decided that pitching to pitcher Aaron Harang would be a certain out, but it certainly wasn't. Harang lined in a few runs to put the game more or less out of reach. Ryan Ludwich hit his eighth homer of the season but that was about all the offense could muster for the forgettable game.
Game 32 vs. Cin., W 8-7: The Cardinals pitchers were having trouble keeping the Reds in their hemisphere. Wainwright still wasn't his usual self. He allowed four runs in six labored innings. By the time the ninth inning rolled around, closer Ryan Franklin tied up the game by giving up a home run to pitcher Micah Owings. After I got over the shock of Ryan Franklin giving up runs, I assumed Chris Perez would close out the game after Rasmus hit a "clutch" RBI double in the top of the 10th. Perez has experience closing, hadn't pitched in two days, and had the best arm left in a very depleted bullpen. With all those factors pointing toward Perez, LaRussa decides that Blaine Boyer is the best choice to end the game. BB did what he does best and BB'd two hitters and filled the bases in 2/3 inning. Perez came in and got the final out. It marked the fifth time in eleven appearances that Perez pitched less than an inning. LaRussa seems content to use his golden arm as a mop rather than a consistant tool in the bullpen.The win salvaged the series for the Cards and made all those people in the stands carrying brooms realize they are foolish.