Sunday, October 17, 2004

Woulda Coulda Shoulda

What a frustrating loss.

The game was a good one, I have to admit that much. But a 2 run lead with 5 innings to go should have been a Cardinals W. However, the Cardinals bullpen, which is supposed to be a strength, didn't get the job done. Meanwhile, the Astros bullpen, which is supposed to be a weakness, managed to pitch 3 shutout innings, including 1 inning from someone not named Lidge. A couple of comments.

Jason Marquis

He was upset before the series started because he was only going to get one start. And as Tony was coming out to pull him in the 5th inning tonight, Marquis said "un-freaking believable." Of course, he didn't say freaking, but I would like to keep our site rated G. I don't know if he was upset with himself, or upset with the lack of confidence Tony was showing in him during that situation. Whatever the case, I don't think La Russa was wrong to give him the hook at that point, based upon his other post-season start, along with his last 4 during the regular season.

Marquis was easily the Cardinals 2nd best starter this season. However, he threw 201.1 innings, despite never throwing more than 140 innings previously as a professional. I do think that Marquis is fatigued, and likely won't be very effective the rest of the post-season should the Cards advance to the World Series. Not only that, but I read a report recently that claimed that pitcher's throwing 40 innings more than the season before are prime for injuries during the next season. And to top it all off, we know that Marquis did not get along with Leo Mazzone and Bobby Cox in Atlanta. After this week, will he no longer get along with Duncan and La Russa, either? The potential for injuries and displeasure with management next year could play into the Cardinals planning for the 2005 campaign.

With all that being said - if the Cards advance to the World Series, is it time to put Haren in the rotation, taking Marquis out?

Astros Pitching

Hats off to them - they got the job done. I don't know how Oswalt kept it going, as he obviously didn't have his stuff tonight. But he got through 6 innings giving up 5 runs, which was just enough to keep the Astros in a position to win. With that being said - the Astros pitching situation still is not in great shape for the new 3 game series.

Game 5 - Brandon Backe gets the start. He was actually pretty tough in Game 1, and this time around he should be able to go deeper. But is Lidge going to be available for a third consecutive 2-inning outing? It's unlikely.

Game 6 - Roger Clemens on 3 days' rest, after pitching 7 innings and 116 pitches in Game 3. There is an outside chance, however, that the Astros might actually go with Munro in this start. Why? This is complete speculation on my part, but if the Astros were to win Game 5, Game 6 would not be a must win for them. Munro starting would allow them to follow with Clemens in Game 7 on regular rest, with Oswalt ready in the pen.

Game 7 - Roy Oswalt on 3 days' rest, after having an unimpressive outing tonight. If this does in fact happen, you would have to love the Cardinals chances.

I said it last night, and I'll say it again. I still think the Cardinals are in the drivers seat, even with the series even. I will say, however, that I would really, really like to see the Cardinals win tomorrow. While I would trust them to win 2 in a row in St. Louis, I'd rather not see it come to that. And as you all know, absolutely anything can happen in one game, as we saw tonight.

I originally picked the Cardinals to win the series in 6 games. I'm standing by it, but I must admit - I would feel better this evening with the Cardinals up 3-1 rather than even at 2 games apiece.


At 7:50 AM, Blogger Socnorb11 said...

Let me just add that I'll be thrilled to see the Cards get out of Houston. Hats of to the Astros' fans. They were pretty awesome, and I won't miss them a bit! ;)

It'll be nice to get back home.

At 9:56 AM, Blogger Cardsgem said...

Not sure how the Cards can be considered in the driver seat. The Cards have to face a Sp who has a sub 3 era in this dinky Houston park. They send Woody to the mound who was absolutely rocked the last time he pitched in this stadium.

The Cardinal pen can't be trusted at all to this point, but our SP have not been that good either. Meanwhile after game 2 Houston's pen has been much better, mainly because they got the chance to use lidge who looked very good for his second striaght 2 inning outing.

Cards have a big uphill battle and if they lose today it gets even worse.

But even with the stros catching the breaks this series so far I still think somehow we will pull this off with a walk off HR by Pujols in game 7.

At 9:57 AM, Blogger Cardsgem said...

BTW Robb great site I love reading it everyday! Keep it up!

At 10:32 AM, Blogger Robb said...

I only say they are in the driver's seat because of Houston's rotation, combined with home field advantage.

As nervous as you/we are, imagine how Astros fans must feel? The only guys that have been successful in this series pitching wise are Oswalt, Clemens, Lidge, and Wheeler. 2 of those guys will not pitch today, and the other 2 may not be available for more than an inning each. Which means that Brandon Backe must - must - pitch 7 tough innings today, keeping the Astros in the game.

And if he does? The Astros still have to win a Game in St. Louis.

I'll stand by my comments - the Cardinals are still in the drivers seat. If they aren't - how can you say Houston is?

At 10:54 AM, Blogger Socnorb11 said...

I agree...... the Astros have been able to snag a coulple of games, but they've pretty much had to use all of their weapons to extreme. The Cards' pen will be fine. Let's face it..... you give up 6 runs a game in that joke of a ball park, and it's not exactly the end of the world. Actually, I'm more disappointed that the Cards haven't been able to score more than they have in Houston. Rolen has been awfully disappointing the last couple of games.

At 10:57 AM, Blogger Cardsgem said...

My reasoning is because really the only guy who has not given up anything to Houston this series is Izzy and even Izzy has made things interesting. The rest of our pen has stunk up the place.

The Pen was supposed to be our one big advantage this series and that just went out the window. Right now the stro's bats are hotter than ours and coming through in the bigger moments.

Just right now the Cards pen scares the hell out of me and I really don't see Woody getting through 6 innings again. So Houston will get to face the pen again for at least 2 maybe 3 innings. They had almost had their way with the pen.

Plus right now Houston has all the momentum and we face a pitcher with a sub 3 era. So it will be tuff to get to him in this park.

I still feel we will somehow find a way to win it in 7, just not all confident in the pitchers right now.

At 11:26 AM, Blogger Robb said...

Both teams are killing the ball - thus the fact that the Cardinals have scored 23 runs, the Astros 22.

And both teams are hitting situationally. The numbers for each team with RISP and RISP 2 outs are virtually identical. It just doesn't seem even because the Cards have dropped the last 2.

Backe had a 4.30 ERA during the regular season, not sub 3.00. And his endurance is questionable (see new post.) tonight's game won't be easy, but the Cards should be favored as far as I'm concerned.

At 11:35 AM, Blogger Cardsgem said...

Backe had a sub 3 era in houston's park this year, which is where is goes tonight so his confidence should be very high. Plus we didn't fair that well off him the first time, just 3 runs in 5 innings.

But we do add another bat to the lineup tonight with Woody pitching, maybe that will help us out a bit.

But your right it is just the fact the Stro's have won the last 2 games, but even then in games 1 and 2 they got to our pen. In game one we just had a big enough lead that it didn't matter and in game 2 Pujols and Rolen came through to over come it.

At 11:35 AM, Blogger Robb said...

I forgot to mention - the bullpen hasn't been great this series, but they are still doing ok overall. Eldred and Kline haven't allowed an earned run in the playoffs (even though Kline may be done.) Tavrez has a 2.08 ERA even with yesterday's problems, and Izzy is at 3.00. Calero has been good in 1 inning - might be time to forget letting him go 2, though.

Take a deep breath and enjoy. Or, at least try to.

(If the Cards lose tonight, though, the next two days are doing to seem like an eternity.)

At 2:08 PM, Blogger Socnorb11 said...

I know it doesn't matter, but I think Calero and Tavarez got a bad rap yesterday. The homer that Berkman hit off of Calero was basically a pop-up, that left the pinball yard. Cheap. The home run that Beltran hit was a good pitch, and probably wouldn't have left the yard at most other stadiums.

Like I said, I know it doesn't matter, but I don't think the numbers do total justice to the job that the bullpen has done.


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