The Redbirds nearly made a little franchise history Wednesday night in San Diego. Down to their last strike in the ninth inning, the Cardinals came a Ryan Ludwick single away from being held scoreless in consecutive games for the first time in a decade and a half.
The last time the Cardinals were shut out in back to back games was in 1995 when Joe Torre was their manager. They ended up losing this game 2-1 instead.
I understand that they can't win them all. But the Cardinals are playing like absolute garbage in every aspect of the game except for starting pitching. They're taking lousy, brainless at bats, making stupid outs on the bases, suffering defensive lapses at the worst possible time ... and they just plain seem defeated. They get behind and they just seem to quit. A shot of the bench late in the game Wednesday showed the disturbing site of the players hanging their heads while they waited for three quick outs to be made so they could return to the field to play defense.
In their never-ending quest to find new and exciting ways not to score any runs the Cardinals opted on Wednesday to run themselves out of the game.
In the first inning they somehow managed to get two hits and a pair of walks but still not dent the plate. Felipe Lopez led off the game with a base on balls and was thrown out by a country mile in his attempt to steal second base. Immediately thereafter, rookie outfielder Jon Jay singled to centerfield. Albert Pujols was walked and then Matt Holliday flied out to left. Instead of the bases loaded and one out, there were two outs and men on first and second.
David Freese came to the plate and singled to center and somehow, with two outs, Jay got a miserable jump and was beaten by the throw to the plate. He would have been safe accept for a pathetic slide in which he bounced off the catcher's shin guards. But Jay chose to slide into the catcher, who was drawn behind the plate and toward the third base side of the dish by the throw. Jay had the time and the room to slide to the pitchers mound slide of the plate to give the Cardinals a lead. Instead he was nailed and the Cardinals wasted another great start by Garcia.
Later, going from first to second on an infield hit, Colby Rasmus rounded the base widely and was caught asleep at the switch when the Padres threw behind him for a gift out to end the inning. When you've struck out 11 times in your last six games, you sort of need to make the most of it when you get on base... More bad baserunning on Rasmus' part cost the Cardinals in a first and third situation in the 11th inning. He went home on a grounder to second and when the throw came to the plate, he turned around and went back to third. Not only was Rasmus nailed, but he didn't stay in the rundown long enought for Yadier Molina to get to third. Instead, Yadi was nailed in an unconventional and extremely frustrating double play.
On a side note, home plate umpire Dan Iassongna was absolutely terrible. He cost the Cardinals a second chance at a run in the fifth inning when Matt Holliday came to the plate with the bases loaded and two out. With a 3-0 count, Iassogna called a pitch that was verified to be several inches outside by FSN Midwest's pitch location technology a strike. Instead of plating a run, Holliday instead struck out to end the inning a couple of pitches later. He was equally terrible to the Padres, giving the Cardinals extra life in the eight inning when he called a pitch several inches high a strike when the batter had a three-ball count.
Cardinals Star of the Game: Garcia.
Cardinals Play of the Game: Ludwick's two-out, two-strike hit to tie the game in the ninth.
Lowlight: Pujols and Holliday were 0-for-8 on the night. Holliday left five runners on base.