Raise your hands. How many of you, watching the game and seeing Ludwick not score on Eckstein’s ball that the outfielder missed, figured that the Cardinals were going to find a new and painful way to lose for the third straight night? The big rally that falls short–check. The lead that evaporates, tie again in extras, then lose in 14–check. It looked to me that another rough chapter was going to be written.
I will say, though, when there was a runner on second in the 10th, I was glad to see Yadier Molina coming to the plate. Molina has developed into a fairly solid hitter this year. Obviously, if it’s a home run you need, he’s not likely to do that (though he can surprise, as the Mets will attest to from last year’s postseason), but he’s turned into a reliable option at the plate a year after hitting .216. If he can continue to be a .280/10/50 catcher, I think you’ll see up-and-comer Brian Anderson traded off. From what I understand, Anderson’s bat isn’t as impressive if you move him off the catcher’s position, and any upgrade in hitting would be more than offset by the drop off in defense. Not to say Anderson is terrible behind the plate, more that Yadi is that good.
Cardinals and Astros hook up tonight. It’s strange to be playing the Astros in September with nothing on the line. No playoff berths, no potential postseason previews, nothing but seeing Craig Biggio in St. Louis for the last time and seeing if the Cards can stay in third. The Astro fans knew they were in for a fight this year, but I don’t think they expected to see their team close to the cellar. They may have to get used to it–that team is an older team and, though I don’t follow them closely of course, I understand their minor league system isn’t that strong. Who knows, though. Maybe Roger Clemens will come back and pitch for them again. Never rule anything out with that guy. Wherever the money is, he’ll be around.
Braden Looper vs. Wandy Rodriguez tonight at Busch. Bring your gloves if you are going to the game–my gut feeling says that this one could get high-scoring in a hurry. Then again, neither lineup is all that potent right now. If Pujols is out for the homestand or worse, it’s a shame to see those streaks of 100 RBI and runs fall that short. Besides the fact that Cardinal baseball is always more interesting with El Hombre in the lineup.
Hopefully he can rest up this offseason and be comeback player of the year next year. Because if you bounce back from career lows, you can be comeback player, right? Even if those career lows are MVP level?