Since when did Cardinal fans become so complacent and satisfied with taking two out of three in a series? Granted, I’ll give you the fact the game was played in Boston where no team ever sweeps, but let’s not give the Cardinals or Tony LaRussa a free pass just because of the opponent. The fact is, when you look deep into this team, LaRussa nearly managed himself right out of this game and the Cardinals blew a chance to put this game away and I see that as glaring issues with this ball club come the final three months of the season.
The problem is the bullpen that can’t get it right lately. The bullpen got helped out by bad baserunning and bad at-bats from Boston who could have blown this game open in the 8 th or won it before the 13 th .
The blame for this game needs to be placed on LaRussa. I disagreed with his call of taking Joel Pineiro out of the game after Coco Crisp reached on a triple. It was a routine fly ball that would have been an out had Rick Ankiel not slipped. I don’t know why he would take Pineiro out at that point? Yes, Crisp represented the tying run, but Pineiro had only thrown 81 pitches and bringing in a shaky bullpen opened up a bigger can or worms and it nearly cost them the game. Outside of the solo home run to Kevin Yokilis in the seventh, Pineiro seemed in control of Boston hitters. Instead LaRussa turned to Chris Perez who gave up a sacrifice fly and after a ground out, gave up a single and three straight walks to give up the lead and it should have been four walks had Youkilis not swung at two balls out of the zone.
Despite TLR’s best efforts to out think himself into a loss, the Cardinals managed to tie the game with Adam Kennedy’s two out-two strike double. LaRussa’s no genius for putting Kennedy in. Brendan Ryan was the righty next up and he just wanted a lefty vs. righty matchup. No big managerial move there. In fact, prior to that at bat, Kennedy was 0 for 3 against Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon before that.
The Cardinals bullpen is going to be the down fall of this team. In the five extra innings, the Cardinals allowed 11 base runners and how Boston didn’t score earlier, given they had the lead off hitter reach base in five of the last six innings and three consecutive innings in which the Red Sox had a lead off double, I’ll never know, but sooner or later, it would catch up with the Cardinals and it did.
Perez’ 4.20, Isringhausen’s 6.17, Villone’s 5.65, and Parisi’s 8.06 ERA are ugly and the Cardinals cannot continue to rely on these guys when the starters are going seven plus innings allowing a run or two, much as they have done over the past week.
I understand LaRussa can only manage the players he has, but he should have left Pineiro in the game to battle this one for himself.