“It Didn’t Look Like They Wanted To Come Out And Beat Us”
I think the title of this post says it all. Â When a player on the opposing team questions the desire, there’s little else to say about the 2010 Cardinals.
That wasÂ Geoff Blum’s quote to MLB.com after yesterday’s game. Â “It didn’t look like they wanted to come out and beat us at all.” Â We talked about this some last night on theÂ UCB Radio Hour (by the way, really great show–listen on Blog Talk Radio or iTunes when you get the chance) and Mike made the suggestion that it was the last game of a 10 day road trip, that there may have been some “get this over with mentality”. Â I understand what he’s saying, but I don’t think I agree with it. Â Or, more precisely, think that shouldn’t have been it.
First off, I’m not sure that Blum was talking just about yesterday, but perhaps about the whole series. Â But even if he was just referring to the game Wednesday, it still shouldn’t have been an issue. Â This team is out there supposedly playing for their playoff lives. Â This is the organization that patented “play a hard nine”. Â Even if the NL Central is out of reach now (and, being that the Cards are just as close to third place as they are to first, I think that’s a darn safe assumption), you still have the wild card and, with the pitching this team has, you never know what could happen if you get into the playoffs.
“They didn’t want to come out and beat us at all.”
Those are just not words I ever expected to be applied to a Tony La Russa team and it just may be more evidence that, after fourteen years, it’s time for some sort of change. Â Even in ’07 and ’08, with a team dealing with injuries and trying to find itself, they played hard and hung around in the race. Â This team? Â It just doesn’t seem to have the energy to go out and play, at least until the late innings when they try to make a rally. Â Even that, though, has been lacking some in the last few days.
Rick Horton mentioned this yesterday on the broadcast: “The score is 4-2, but it feels like 20-2.” Â There’s no faith in a rally by this team. Â There are a lot of placesÂ you can put blame, but as we discussed last night on the show it really seems to come down to the offense. Â There are holes in the lineup–when Colby Rasmus is not healthy and hitting #5, there’s not much after Matt Holliday–and that keeps the team from sustaining rallies. Â It’s a far cry from what we thought we had at the beginning of the season, when you looked at the lineup and thought that, at any time, you could sustain a rally from any point in the lineup.
Yesterday’s game was more of the same. Â We saw the two-run home run byÂ Matt Holliday in the first and thought that maybe something was going to happen. Â Without that swing, though, the Cards would have been shut out for the third straight day. Â They had chances, loading the bases twice, but never got anyone in. Â The mostÂ devastatingÂ whiff was getting Jeff Suppan and Skip Schumaker on with no one out and 2-3-4 coming up, but not scoring.
Albert Pujols went 0-4 and 0-13 over the past two games, so I think we can stop following the Triple Crown for him as well, since he’s down to fifth in BA, 16 points back, and even now trails in RBI by two. Â September may not have much of anything interesting in it.
Jeff Suppan returned yesterday and the results were fairly predictable. Â He was able to stay out of damage, for the most part, until the fifth when he allowed Hunter Pence’s three-run shot. Â If he gets Pence out, do the Cards win? Â Perhaps–the bullpen was strong yesterday–but it would have had that feel of “when is the other shoe going to drop” throughout the whole game.
Tony La Russa said it: “We stunk the whole trip.” Â Unfortunately, save for their good record at home and the fact that a majority of the games left are at Busch, there’s not much reason to think that September won’t have that reek of failure along with it.
Now, of course, the Cards will go out, sweep the Reds, and make us even more frustrated with this road trip. Â No game today, 7:15 start tomorrow. Â Things have to get better. Â If nothing else, hopefully they can win more games than they lose in September and send us into the winter with a few positive memories.