I'd like to say that the St. Louis Cardinals made a great effort despite coming up a little bit short Wednesday night.
Of course, I'd also like to say that I hit the lotto.
But both statements are equally false.
While a few of the Redbirds players have been pretty sharp this post season, far too many of them haven't come close to carrying their own weight.
As was the case in games one and three, the defense was absolutely terrible and it cost St. Louis a game it should have won. The Cardinals have repeatedly given the San Fransico Giants extra outs and, repeatedly, have been made to pay for it. Couple that with pitchers who have issued far too many free passes and it's easy to see how the Birds could blow a three-run lead in a must-win game.
If the Cardinals could have won Wednesday, they'd have to win two out of three with two of the games being played at Busch Stadium. A reasonable expectation. By fumbling away their lead in Game 4, now they're in a spot where they have to win three in a row. And I just don't see this inconsistent team pulling that off.
The main culprits Wednesday were:
Pitcher Shelby Miller who started the game and was handed a lead in the first inning, which he immediately blew. The Cardinals added a run in the second and two more in the third. but Miller couldn't make it out of the fourth inning before giving up three runs on six hits and two walks before being sent to the showers.
In came Randy Choate who, after his abysmal performance in Game 3 might as well have packed his bags and caught the next train out of Cardinal Nation as far as many St. Louis fans are concerned. Choate walked the first man he faced (sound familiar?) before wiggling off the hook.
Matt Adams contributed to the Giants offense by awkwardly attempting to make a play at the plate which failed and gave San Francisco and extra out. Then he fielded a ground ball hit right at him and, instead of throwing to second and waiting for the relay, he stepped on first and then failed to get the lead runner on a tag play. On another play he dove for a ground ball that seemed to be within his reach, still failed to snag the ball cleanly and had to settle for getting one out at first instead of a double play or at least getting the lead runner.
Of course, after scoring four runs in the first three innings and chasing starter Ryan Vogelsong, the offense packed it in for the night and the Cardinals were outscored 5-1 over the last six innings.
The biggest goat of the night is also the biggest goat of the playoffs: Johnny Peralta. The Cardinals would have been better off if Peralta struck out every time he came to the plate instead of once in three trips. The first two times he came to the dish he hit into rally-killing double plays. Who knows what would have happened in the first with Vogelsong on the ropes, a runner on and a runner in when he hit into his first twin killing? His second time up he cleaned a runner off the bases with a double dip just prior to Kolten Wong hitting a home run. So that was at least one run off the board.
For the post season Peralta is hitting an uninspired .154 with no homers.
Unfortunately for the Cardinals, there is plenty of blame to go around.