I've grown weary of watching the Cardinals shoot themselves in the foot and give away ballgames.
In the last week or so their lazy play has really spiraled out of control.
I don't care who is hurt or who is in a slump. There are no timeouts in the baseball season and the Cardinals -- just like everybody else -- need to find a way to win with what they have on the field. Losing two of three to the Royals just isn't acceptable for a team that is supposed to be trying to defend its World Series championship.
On Sunday the Cardinals lost 5-3 thanks to things like:
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- They had men on second and third with no one out and ran themselves out of the inning with a busted suicide squeeze. I can't figure out why the Birds tried to make a desperation move in a game which they trailed 1-0 at the time. Wainwright isn't a bad hitting pitcher so, since the double play wasn't in order, why not try to give him a chance to put the ball in play? Kansas City had its infielders pulled in so, unless the ball was hit right to them, the man on third had a good chance to score. But, if Wainwright couldn't hit a ground ball into one of the holes or at least hit a sacrifice fly, the team still would have men at second and third with one out and the top of the order coming up.
- Jason Motte had a chance to close out a 2-1 game in the bottom of the ninth with no one on and one out. He had a two strike count on a fastball hitter and, for reasons I still don't understand, he threw a belt-high fastball right over the middle of the plate. Motte was supposed to be working on secondary pitches, but his fastball has become way too predicable. And, if it's all you got, you better not throw your fastball right down the middle of the plate. Speed, location, movement and the element of surprise are the main things a pitcher relied on to fool hitters. At best, right now Motte is working with one of those four things -- the speed of his pitch. One out of four ain't good enough, according to opposing hitters. Motte needs to pitch smarter, not harder.
- Allen Craig apparently lost count of how many outs there were in extra innings when he was on third. Tyler Greene hit a fly ball to center with Craig on third and Chambers on first. While he should have been tagging up, Craig trotted toward the plate like he thought the fly out was the third out of the inning, not the second. But the time he figured out what was going on, it was too late. Catcher Yadier Molina bailed out Craig with two outs. Or did he? Molina hit a single to left center that allowed Craig to score and keep the game going. But if he would have headed for the plate, the Royals would have had to try to get the out and perhaps the speedy Chambers would have been able to move to second... If he did, Chambers would have scored on Molina's hit and the Birds would have won the game 4-3.
These are just a handful of examples of shoddy play over the last week or two. And the Cardinals really need to start playing like major leaguerss if they want to win a few ballgames here and there.