We’ve discussed the TLR “hard 9” principle before, but last night might have been one of the greatest examples of that philosophy. If LaRussa does decide to hang it up or leave St. Louis after this year, I hope either the next manager (whether it be Oquendo, who seems to be groomed for it, or not) or the players (like Pujols) remember this philosophy and keep it around. Because it sure makes for exciting baseball.
I wasn’t able to watch much of the game, being away from home, but turned on the static-filled radio on my way home, trying to piece together what the score was and what was happening. When I finally heard that Philly had been up 12-0 and it was now 12-10, it got me more excited about a game than I’ve been in a while. (Losing streaks will do that to you.) Then it was 12-11 with Pujols at the plate. You knew he wasn’t going to get anything to hit, though they did challenge him more than I expected in that situation.
I got home in time to see Ludwick’s drive to the outfield. Watching it, I really thought it was going to be down and the game was going to be at least tied. Rowand made a nice catch, and you figured that was the end of that. Momentum gone, big bats gone, etc.
When Izzy gave up one in the ninth, you really didn’t think there’d be much more than three outs in the bottom, but again, credit the team. One out (those were some pretty tough pitches to Ankiel) and you get the go-ahead run to the plate before a pop out and a strike out. Still, that was a more “satisfying” loss than you’d expect down 12-0 in the sixth. You expect to come to the message boards and read a lot of doom and gloom, but after one like that, at least you respect the team and I think, if there was anything to be fired up about, a game like that could turn around a team.
In the rest of the NL Central, Chicago rallied–again–and beat the Reds, keeping their one-game edge on Milwaukee. I don’t know about you, but when I see a team continually winning late to keep their lead, it makes me think that it’s meant to be. I hate seeing the Cubs in the playoffs, but I’m afraid that’s what’s going to happen.
Cardinals and Phillies tangle again today. Wainwright goes for the Cards, Hamels for the Phillies so there shouldn’t be any replay of last night’s high scoring game. You’d expect a 2-1 type game tonight, so it could be fun to watch.
EDIT: OK, that’s what the P-D’s site said this morning, but apparently it’s Hamels vs. Wellemeyer. That doesn’t bode as well for a pitching duel, at least on the Cardinal end of things. Stranger things have happened, of course, and with Hamels just coming off the DL, the Cards should get into the Philly bullpen fairly early, which is where you can do some damage, apparently.