The Cardinals lost Monday 5-3 to the LA Dodgers, who have won 5 in a row, and improved to 53-44 overall. Once again, Joe Kelly threw the ball well enough to win the game, but untimely hitting, fielding errors, and a mishandled bullpen kept the Cardinals from winning 4 in a row. The offense stranded 6 runners in the first 6 innings, and missed an opportunity to jump on the fragile Chad Billingsly, who improved his record to 5-9. Meanwhile, Kelly falls to 1-3 despite six consecutive quality starts.
The Cardinals botched the game in the Dodgers’ 3-run 2nd inning. Andre Ethier reached on a Lance Berkman error. Former Cardinal Adam Kennedy reached on a shallow fly ball to left field that popped out of Rafael Furcal’s glove, and fill-in shortstop Luis Cruz belted his 2nd home run of the season to quickly erase a 1-0 Redbird lead. Cruz is hitting all of .241 in place of the injured Dee Gordon. The fly ball in left field is Matt Holliday’s ball…and he did not take charge.
Yes, they continued Monday night. I understand wasting your 8th and 9th inning guys in a losing cause is not “by the book”. I also understand that the Cardinals were never out of the game, trailing by just 2 runs heading into the 7th inning. After Fernando Salas and Barrett Browning each allowed a base hit, Victor Marte entered the game. Key situation, 2 run ball game, and Marte was called on to get out of a jam. Really? People claiming Marte had a successful start to the season are just wrong. Look at his splits per month, and April was OK, not great.
Back to Monday night. Where the hell was Mitchell Boggs? I joked on twitter that perhaps it was a phone malfunction, a la World Series, but no Mike Matheny confirmed afterwards that Marte was in fact the guy.
No. Not Mitchell Boggs, who has not allowed an earned run since June 12th. Not Trevor Rosenthal, the young flamethrower who is perfect in 3 appearances so far. Victor F’ing Marte, who sports a 4.50 ERA and has really been bad in his last 10 appearances. (5/9 inherited runners have scored, 10 hits, 6 earned runs).
Sure enough, a sinker up to Mark Ellis found the left-center gap. One run will score, two runs will score, and just like that the Cards trailed 5-1 with a sense of dejection in Busch Stadium. Well, aside from the lady on her iPad playing a game, and those doing the “wave”.
In the 8th, Carlos Beltran crushed his 22nd HR of the season to make it a 5-3 game, but the bats went silent afterwards.
Hindsight is 20/20, and maybe Boggs comes in and gives up the same runs…but at least you know the ball was in the hands of a reliable reliever, and not a struggling minor league journey man.
That’s all from Busch. Tomorrow’s probables: Adam Wainwright (7-10, 4.42) against LHP Clayton Kershaw (7-5, 2.74)
Don’t forget to listen to KMOX after the game for Live at Shannon’s with Dodgers broadcaster Charlie Steiner.