Thursday's discouraging loss to the Astros comes as absolutely no surprise.
We've heard for weeks now about how the Cardinals just can't beat Bud Norris. And the Redbirds seem oh so eager to believe it when someone tells them they can't do anything. So when Cy Norris took the hill, it was all but over, no matter who was on the mound for the Cardinals.
Chris Carpenter, the 2005 Cy Young Award winner and the 2009 runner up, took the hill for St. Louis. And he couldn't stop Houston from putting four runs on the board. But at least he did something none of the other pushover Cardinals have done in a week and a half -- he stood up for the team and took a little bit of pride in himself.
Pitching to Astros slugger Carlos Lee -- who is hitting a robust .198 for the season -- Carpenter appeared to leave a slider over the middle of the plate. Lee took a big hack at it and popped the ball up... Then he theatrically slammed his bat to the ground while saying something aloud, almost certainly something about how he should have hit the pitch into Illinois.
Carpenter didn't care for the comment and said something back to Lee. The players approached each other and engaged in a shouting match as the benches and bullpens cleared. For what it's worth, fellow Houston slugger Lance Berkman, who was on first base at the time of the incident, got in the face of Lee, not Carpenter...
When will the rest of the Cardinals do something similar and ask themselves "Who do these bush leage nobodies like Bud Norris (who is 3-7 lifetime against teams wearing uniforms that don't say Cardinals on the front) think they are coming into our ballpark and making us look like a bunch of little leaguers?"
Astros left fielder Carlos Lee is restrained by St. Louis Catcher Yadier Molina after Lee argued with pitcher Chris Carpenter Thursday during the Cardinals 4-1 loss to Houston. AP photo.
Again, the Birds made no effort to work over a pitcher. Skip Schumaker came up in the first and swung at the first pitch. It was a single into center, so maybe it was the right move because it was an ideal hitters pitch. Then Ryan Ludwick came in and hacked at the first pitch -- and easy double play ball to short. And it all went downhill from there.
Unfortunately, after his little blow up against Lee, Carpenter served up a three-run homer to Hunter Pence and cap off a four-run inning for Houston. It was the only one of Carpenter's eight frames in which they would score.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Carpenter
Cardinals Play of the Game: Albert Pujols ran through a Jose Oquendo stop sign and scored St. Louis's only run of the game to keep Norris from shutting out the Birds for the fourth game in a row.
Lowlight: David Freese, one of the few bright spots in the Cardinals lineup over the last couple of weeks, was 0-4 with a strikeout and stranded a pair of runners on base.