I would have posted this morning that I hoped that the St. Louis Cardinals would keep struggling starting pitcher Justin Masterson on a very short leash in the rubber game of their series against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Unfortunately, the Cardinals needed 12 innings to slip past the last place Phillies, using five relievers in the process. Seth Maness, often the first right hander out of the bullpen, threw two innings Saturday night.
Is it a coincidence that one of the pitchers who didn't make it to the mound Saturday night was Carlos Martinez, a guy who is stretched out due to his recent work as a starter in Class AAA Memphis? Maybe management is as distrustful of Masterson as the fans have become.
Still, Martinez hasn't fared very well this season when he's had to pitch more than three innings. So Masterson is going to have to at least show something to give St. Louis a chance to win. If he doesn't pitch at least four innings, the Cardinals are going to have a hard time covering the rest.
Meanwhile, the offense has to do its share. The Redbirds wasted far too many scoring opportunities Saturday, failing to move runners up with productive at bats, failing to drive runners home from scoring position and even failing to score from third base on a wild pitch.
The Cardinals showed how they are capable of performing in the sixth inning Saturday when their aggressiveness on the bases and discipline at the plate led to a three run inning that put St. Louis ahead. If they could hit and run like that and eliminate the sort of blow ups of the defense and the pitching staff that cost them the lead later in the contest, this team could be much better than a .500 club.