Let’s say I’m STILL not real too impressed with J Happ. He gave up 5 hits, 2 of which were solo homers, 2 walks, and somehow, only 2 ER over 5 IP – and he needed 32 pitches to finish that 5th inning. LOTS of pitches were fouled off.
Besides the 2 homers into the Crawford Boxes – and not long ones neither, basically the Cards singled the Astros to death. Not that the defense was lousy – the Astros turned 4 double plays, the last one an incredible web gem 4-6-3 by Jason Bourgeois on what would certainly have been a run scoring single had someone else been playing second.
Enerio Del Rosario pitched a scoreless 6th – a groundout from Uncle, 2 singles, then a GIDP. He came out in the 7th, got a swinging K, then a single, then a sac-bunt from Lohse (who had failed and Kd in his previous 2 attempts – man he looks SORRY trying to bunt – and he’s been in the NL for 3 YEARS now – Andy Pettitte was really good at it from the day he got here), then a RBI single, then a HBP. So with a run in and men on first in second, he’s out. That’s 1.1 IP, 4 singles and HBP. Uck.
In comes Valdez to face Pujols – who immediately drives in a run with a single, the Holliday singles – so he has let Del Rosario’s runs score – then Lance drives in a run, and FINALLY he gets an inning ending groundout.
Cards up 6-0, Lohse coasting – only one hitting the ball well is Brett Wallace.
Eneury Rodriguez pitched the 8th – an IF single to Inglett, now playing third, for Tyler Greene, then a 5-4-3 GIDP, then a swinging K from rookie Mark Hamilton. Which meant that for some reason, TLR was pulling Lohse after only 90 pitches with him pitching a SHUTOUT!
And there couldn’t be the stupid excuse about how you have to use a setup man for the 8th and a closer for the 9th no matter what. I have NO idea why Lohse was pulled, but it must have given the Astros sudden hope, especially when they saw the remnants of what used to be Ryan Franklin. I had been sure that THIS was the day the Astros would be shutout for the first time this year. But I was just as hopeful as the hitters.
Joe Inglett hits a fly ball to left center that Matt Holliday misplays – the ball hits off his glove – don’t ask me why it wasn’t an error besides hometown scorer feeling sorry for Inglett for a double. Then Bourgeois, in playing second base with Inglett at third, singles up the middle and Dave Clark holds Inglett at third and Bourgeois advances to second on the throw.
Franklin out, Trever Miller in to pitch to Michael Bourn – and Bourn walks. Miller out.
Fernando Salas, RHP in. Sanchez grounds into a FC to second and Inglett scores!!! OK!!! No Shutout!!! YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!! Pence hits an RBI single up the middle and Bourgeois scores. Clank Ks – he looked absolutely TERRIBLE with the bat, as usual – he has NO business hitting cleanup any more (to be fair, he DID hit a nice FB to right that Lance caught – not as good a catch as he made on JR Towles’ long fly into the corner, but better than his usual popup/weakass grounder), Brett Wallace drives in Sanchez with a single up the middle, then pinch hitter Bogusevic grounds out.
Cards 6 Astros 3
Melancon comes in for the 9th – gets a groundout, gives up a single to Freese, walks Uncle, then Holliday hits a SMASH which should have gone into right, but Bourgeois absolutely ROBS him, turning an incredible 4-6-3.
I figure that TLR will send in either Boggs, who had a bad night last night or, even worse, Jason Motte. But no, it’s Eduardo Sanchez, RHP, age 21, rookie, who has so far pitched 6 scoreless innings in the bigs. He strikes out Towles on 3 straight pitches – a high FB then 2 wicked sliders. But Inglett sends the second FB into right for a single, then Bourgeois sends a 2-2 inside FB waaaayyy to the LF bullpen for a triple, scoring Inglett. Bourn hits a sac-fly to deep right. Sanchez sends a double to the RF corner and with the tying run on second, it’s Hunter Pence to be the HEro. He goes to a 3-2 count, then Uncle goes to the mound to talk to the pitcher. I can read his lips. He says – yo Sanchez, you need to strike this (swear word) out – he WILL swing at a slider low and away and you better throw him one. I know what is coming. The whole stadium knows what’s coming. And sure enough, it is a slider, low and away, out of the strike zone, and Hunter swings and misses and Cards win by 1 run.
CJ looked bad with the bat again tonight, but then again, against Lohse, so did everyone else not named Brett Wallace – and CJ didn’t have a chance to hit against the suckage relievers, neither.
At least it wasn’t a comedy of endless errors tonight. I’d sure like to see Bourgeois play second – I mean, full time. But he’s not getting paid 3+ mill to K more than even Preston Wilson.
Tomorrow is the rubber game – Nelson Figueroa vs Kyle McClellan, reliever/closer turned starter – Dave Duncan is pretty good at that – see Braden Looper/Todd Wellemeyer, etc. So far, McClellan has done very well – 4 GS over 25 IP with a 2.16 ERA/1.36 WHIP. Yes, I know one start wasn’t an official start, but that was TLR playing games with a rain delay, sending the mopup man to “start” for 1 batter before the umps called the 2 hour delay.
I seem to recall McClellan being lethal to Houston, but I see he lost 2 games (I remember one of em) and saved 2 - 6 ER over 18.2 IP with 3 HR, 4 BB, 14 K. I just hope that the HP ump isn’t playing games with Figgy again and that he doesn’t embarrass himself.
We really don’t have anyone to call up from AAA – Fernando Nieve is on the temporary inactive list (off the team – not because of injury or a positive drug test,) Doug Arguello is on the DL, Sergio Perez isn’t doing particularly well, and Jordan Lyles has had only 1 outing in which he went more than 5 innings and gave up fewer than 3 runs – and then he only struck out 3, so it looks as if Figgy, at least for a while, has a death grip on the 5th starter role.