Clearly, I haven’t been “rambling” with any sort of consistency lately (at least not on here), but these are the times that test the patience and dedication of fans and I’m stepping up tonight. I figure a liveblog is the perfect way to go into what I hope is an active postseason for me (as a blogger) and the Cards. Of course, they have to earn the right to play more than the 162 scheduled game, and I’m hoping that all begins with a win against the Padres tonight.
I realize I’ve been gone long enough for people to have forgotten who I am and for many people to start blogging without even realizing I exist. So, if you happen to happen by RRR tonight BY ALL MEANS leave a comment with your thoughts or just introduce yourself. Let’s go Cardinals!
7:11–First pitch a ball from Jeff Suppan, the Cards clear number two starter right now. I was surprised to learn the other day that he is one the winningest pitchers in the entire NL over the last three seasons.
7:12–Not the start I was looking for. Jose Vizcaino, filling in at shortstop for the again injured David Eckstein, committed an error on the definition of an easy ground ball. My spirits will no be broken this soon! No way!
7:14–Double play. See, no worries.
7:15–I always hate to see Todd Walker at the plate against the Cards…at least he’s not wearing an Cubs uniform. 6-3 without a hitch this time. Let’s get some runs!
7:18–Bottom of the first with Preston Wilson leading off. If you would’ve read me that sentence at the beginning of the season, I’d have called you crazy. Wilson grounded out to short. Now for the thunder…
7:19–I swear to you I typed “NOW FOR THE THUNDER” before Chris Duncan smashed a ball over the centerfield wall! Back to back anyone? By the way, I would like everyone to dig into my archives and find my posts live from Spring Training where I raved and raved about Duncan and said I thought he could contribute to this team this season. (Patting myself on the back…)
7:21–Albert just hit the, um, **** out of a ball to right, but it was caught, and Rolen finished off the inning with an out. Is anyone else thrilled that the bullpen door is still firmly latched?
7:25–Vizcaino is steady again throwing out Mike Piazza. (I really hope I’m spelling his name right. I’ll check.)
7:26–Double for someone…I was trying to check my spelling. Mike Cameron is up. Remember when he was great for those great Mariners teams. It seems like that was decades ago. Ugh…I’m old. He just got a base hit. First and third, one out.
7:28–Just for the record…I have a good “lucky charm” track record with the club this year. I’m 5-0 in games watched in person including 2 complete games by Carpenter.
7:29–Really. I should learn to keep my mouth shut. We’re tied at one. Suppan doesn’t look bad, and I guess I can’t expect him to be perfect.
7:31–2-1 Padres. Four hits in a row. Is now the time to begin praying?
7:32–Yadi, in all his gold glove deserving glory, just took a bunt from the pitcher and turned it into an out at second. First and third. Two outs. Let’s get out of this.
7:33–Good. Grief. I may have to abort this mission. A catcher’s interference, of all things, just loaded the bases.
7:34–Bases clearing double by Brian Giles. Super. 5-1 Padres. Adding insult to injury…the Astros are up 1-0 on the seemingly unbeatable Phillies.
7:37–Walk to Walker. This is the inning that never ends. It is eerily silent in the stadium by the way. There is absolutely no background noise (alright…we all know that’s an exaggeration, but I digress). THE INNING JUST ENDED!!! Woo hoo!
7:40–My fingers don’t get a commercial break. Phillies 2, Astros 1.
7:41–Juan Encarnacion, with a swing only his mom could love, just went in the hole 0-2. The good news is this pitcher shouldn’t be able to pitch a complete game shutout. David Wells, the schedules started is out with some kind of infliction a can’t remember the name of and don’t have time to look up. We’re facing Thompson. Yes, that’s right. Thompson.
7:44–Well in the time it took me to type that last entry, the Cards got two outs and a base hit. YADI WITH THE INFIELD HIT! Stop the presses!
7:45–Two on, two out…and Jeff Suppan up…here we come!
7:46–By the way, Jim Edmonds may or may not be available tonight. In other words, nothing has changed. Yikes, I would say Suppan “struck” out but really it was more of a wave. We pay him to pitch though, right?
7:53–Wow Scott Rolen has an arm! (Obvious statement of the day award winner!!!) He doubled a runner off first after catching a screaming line drive. Who cares if the replays says the guy was safe? I know I don’t care. Not in the least…I’ll take every unfair advantage we can get and then some.
7:55–We’re heading to the bottom of the third with the top of the order due up. I say commence the comeback.
7:58–Base hit. Duncan’s up. I’m typing way to much, just for the record. I’m going to try to scale it back a bit, so this thing isn’t eight feet long! Base hit Duncan, by the by. El hombre at the plate. He’s the reigning MVP in case you’ve forgotten, and he deserves retain that title next year. Couldn’t help myself…maybe I’ll write the reasons why sometime. Then again, maybe my teaches will cancel my two tests this week or a pig will wave on the way past my third floor window… (Albert got a hit 5-2 Fathers)
8:03–Rolen giveth and Rolen taketh away. He hit into a double play of his own and Encarnacion ended the inning. The commencing of the comeback will commence in the next half inning. Read it again…it makes sense…
8:07–Al Hraboski just said we shouldn’t be concerned. Well, that means it’s official…IT IS TIME TO GET CONCERNED.
8:09–Padres’ pitcher, Mike Thompson is out. Two down in the inning. Suppan is settling in. (Crossing fingers)
8:15–Phillies 4, Astros 2 just for the record. The crossing of my fingers seems a bad idea. Suppan is finished after giving up a hit to Dave Roberts and walking Giles. Yes, I have duct-taped my mouth so as to not say ridiculous things like “Suppan is settling in” again. Ever. Tyler Johnson in the game. (Crossing all of my fingers and most of my toes…)
8:20–Double steal. I dare them to try it again. I dare them…
8:21–Strikeout, inning over…commence the comeback. (No, I’m not going to let that die until we actually do come back!)
8:25–Belliard reaches on an error by the third baseman, Manny Alexander. Where did Todd Walker go? Wherever he went…that’s exactly where I want him to stay.
8:27–Base hit Vizcaino. 5-3! EDMONDS IS UP. I REPEAT…EDMONDS IS UP!
8:30–EDMONDS IS OUT! I REPEAT…EDMONDS IS OUT! HOME RUN! Tied at 5-5…I’m short of breath!
8:34–Pitching change. Two outs now. 4-4 Phils-Astros. Inning over. Comeback complete…we’ll worry about the take over later.
8:39–Josh Kinney and his quirky motion are in the game. I would say I have a lot of confidence in him for whatever reason, but then he’d probably give up a eight-run homer. So, for now I’m just saying he’s in the game.
8:44–Inning over. 3-4-5 due up. Operation “take over” begins… (I’m all about relentless optimism.)
8:47–Astros 5, Phillies 4…going to the bottom of the seventh. For the second time tonight Albert hits a base hit that wasn’t a base hit but was instead caught by a fielder. Ugh.
8:51–Admittedly, this inning didn’t go as planned. Three up. Three down.
8:53–I was on the phone with my mom (who is also watching the game) when Edmonds hit his homer, and I just read what I typed again and now realize it could have sounded like he made an out or collapsed in a heap on the field. Oh well…I got there eventually. Kinney is back for the 6th.
8:57–A very long at-bat was just ended on a ground ball to shortstop. One out. Off subject…they just showed Jim Edmonds lounging in the dugout his jersey already replaced by a batting practice jersey/jacket…like nothing happened. You’re going to have to trust me when I say this was pretty great to see.
9:01–Onto the bottom of the inning unharmed. Houston’s still up by a run after seven innings. I really want them to lose, but then again, I really don’t want the Phillies to win. I don’t want to see Philadelphia or their first basemen make the playoffs. It’s not that I’m scared of him or them. I just prefer the Cards’ first basemen to have all the spotlight of the postseason. And, yes, I feel this way regardless of how nice that guy is…or where he grew up…
9:05–I feel a Yadier Molina hit coming. I’m never wrong when it comes to feelings about Yadi…
9:09–Just waiting for that hit…
9:10–I guess I’ll keep waiting. Two outs, runner on first, and a pinch-hitting Aaron Miles up to bat. I need a nap…just saying…
9:12–Can we discuss for a moment what color exactly the Padres’ pants are? Are they supposed to match their gold lettering without actually being gold? Off-yellow-ish is the best I can do for them right now. Off-yellow-ish, for the record, is not a flattering color.
9:14–Base hit for Miles. First and third with our man Preston Wilson stepping to the dish. A strike out?!?!? Wilson never strikes out! (Sorry, that was uncalled for.)
9:19–Brad Thompson into the game for the Cardinals and promptly gives up a double to Brian Giles who is proving to be a real pain in St. Louis’s side tonight. Bunt moves him to third. A strike out would be superb.
9:21–6-5 Padres on a chopper over the pulled in shortstop Miles. Unlucky. Did you feel that? I was momentum switching over to the visiting dugout. NOT SO FAST. Double play ends the inning.
9:26–Here comes the thunder! (It’s worth a shot…)
9:27–Lefty Embree strikes out lefty Duncan (kudos to LaRussa on giving him a shot against the lefty though regardless of the outcome). Pitching change for Pujols. Is it wrong that I expect him to do something amazing?
9:32–I really do expect too much of the guy. Really. He, um, struck out. Rolen is out of well. We have two more innings though! Six more outs to use up!
9:35–Thompson back out for the eighth. I would say I’m happy that he seems to have essentially gotten back on track with his career, but then he’d probably give up an eight-run homer…
9:38–Time for the bottom of the eighth with San Diego still leading 6-5. The bottom of the eighth inning is also known as the bottom of the last inning without Trevor Hoffman. Just something to think about or avoid thinking about.
9:41–Houston wins. I’m beginning to feel uneasy. Very uneasy.
9:44–Two out base hit for John Rodriguez. Skip’s up. He was a hero for Team USA just a few weeks ago…why not be a hero for the St. Louis Cardinals? New pitcher…
9:48–No hero tonight. Grounder to short. Inning over.
9:51–Braden Looper in the hold the lead at one run but gives up a single to lead off the inning. Here we go…with a double play?!?!?!
9:54–Force at second. Giles is up again. Lovely.
10:00–If Looper worked any slower…something bad would happen…
10:01–Two on, two out…
10:01–Padres’ pitcher Scott Linebrink hits for himself as Trevor Hoffman is apparently unavailable. He got a hit to left but Chris Duncan threw out a runner at the plate. Again, I refer you to my Spring Training posts…
10:03–How about a ninth inning comeback for us for once?
10:04–Miles to get us started…
10:05–Base hit into center. Wilson to get a hit next…
10:07–Strike out, one out. Duncan is up…coming off his assist to end the last half inning. (I’m playoff game-nervous by the way.)
10:09–Dan McLaughlin just said, “It’s up to Pujols.” Yes, yes it is. (Duncan struck out as well.)
10:11–Four pitch walk to Pujols. Alright, then, Scott Rolen.
10:13–“Base hit, home run, I don’t care either one.”
10:14–What I didn’t want was a strike out. But, alas, it is what I got nonetheless.
10:15–Everybody stand back…I’m hitting the panic button.
I’m too depressed for anything else. Maybe more later. Maybe tomorrow.
My first ever liveblog begins NOW. Get excited!
6:59 PM–Tonight’s game will feature veteran Andy Pettitte facing off against the Cards biggest prospect, and Chris Carpenter’s replacement, Anthony Reyes. He will be making his third big league start. All of his starts have come via brief call-ups from Triple A Memphis to replace or rest Cardinals starters. He has been impressive in his two previous starts.
Last season he went 6.1 innings and allowed just two runs during an August 9th start against the Brewers. Only a few weeks ago he pitched 5.2 without giving up a run against the Kansas City Royals. He looked like he could have gone much deeper in the game, but manager Tony LaRussa (probably wisely) pulled him a little early. In his one minor league start since going 2-0 for his career he pitched eight shutout innings. (His strikeout to walk ratio has been ridiculously good.)
Tonight, however, will be his first start in St. Louis. I’m excited to see how he will respond in front of the home crowd. My only regret is that Chris Carpenter had to go on the DL to set up the start. He will apparently only miss tonight start, though, so I’m shamelessly looking forward to seeing Reyes. I’m crossing my fingers that I don’t regret that last sentence.
7:11–First pitch! Willy Tavares leads off and plays center for the Astros, as expected. A lead-off double, however, was not expected.
7:14–Good grief! Another Cardinal has the flu. This time it is Scott Spiezio, who has been sent home from the ballpark. According to the Cards’ broadcaster he is the 14th Redbird to be stricken with the illness. Larry Bigbie blamed the outbreak on the San Francisco Giant’s postgame spread last week. The Cardinals had an off day between a series with the Giants and Padres when a large portion of the team got sick. It was said the Cards would have had trouble putting a team on the field should a game have been scheduled that day. If Spiezio is just now getting sick, though, it really puts a hole in the poisoned postgame spread theory.
7:21–Well we’re through the first inning. Reyes gave up a run with the RBI going to Lance Berkman. Not a bad start though–Tavares’ double came on a tough pitch and Berkman is, umm, good.
7:24–Andy Pettitte has been having some problems, but I expect him to pitch well tonight. He was struggling the last time he took the mound against the Cards and ended up pitching pretty well. I refuse to think we’ll hit him.
7:26–Albert Pujols walks to the plate with no one on base. Pitch 1: Foul. Pitch 2: Ball. Pitch 3: Foul again. Pitch 4: Ball. Pitch 5: Fly out to deep center. This round to Pettitte.
Any comments/thoughts on the game are welcome! I would love to hear what others have to say about the game. If I don’t mention something that deserved to be mentioned let me know, or if you have something else to say altogether.
7:32–A 1-2-3 second for Reyes! His wardrobe is the topic of much discussion. I know he has to wear the high, red and white striped socks when he pitching in the minors, so my guess is he just really doesn’t like to change things up too much. There might be more to it than that, but I have never heard anything about it. As for his ultra, straight billed hat…It stems back to his days at USC. He actually irons it to make it look that straight.
7:36–Lead-off double for Scott Rolen, your NL leader in third base All-Star voting. His power might not be back from his shoulder problems, but he is on pace for only his second (full) season with a .300+ average.
7:40–An otherwise good at-bat by So Taguchi ended badly…a long battle ended with him striking out with a runner on third and one out. Ouch.
7:42–Al Hraboski (sorry if I misspelled the name) has just mentioned for the 1000th time that Braden Looper felt so good in Spring Training since he was finally healthy that he couldn’t concentrate on pitching well. I didn’t buy it the other 999 time, and I don’t buy it now.
YADIER MOLINA comes through with a two out double to tie the game at one run a piece.
7:47–Andy Pettite at the plate. I read he was genuinely upset earlier this year when Phil Garner chose another pitcher for an emergency pitch hit appearance which I found odd. He popped out this time.
7:51–Craig Biggio didn’t like the called third strike on him that ended the third. He had a few words for the umpire, but we move to the bottom of the inning nonetheless.
7:53–Lead-off hit for Reyes…impressive. Top of the order now with Eckstein, who is leading the All-Star voting at shortstop and deservedly so…even though he just bounced into a double play. Former Card Edgar Renteria is having a good year in Atlanta as well. Look for a post on that soon.
Pujols at the dish after a bunt hit by Luna. Pitch 1: Ball. Pitch 2: Swinging strike. Pitch 3:Ball outside. LET’S GO ALBERT! Pitch 4: Hard shot to third to end the innings. Round two to Pettitte as well.
8:00–Reyes gets Berkman this time around with help from a great play from Albert Pujols at first. I don’t see every first baseman play defense in the NL, but if Albert is awarded his first Gold Glove he’ll deserve it. Seriously deserve it.
8:05–Through the visitor half of the fourth, and Reyes looks as impressive as ever. This guy is going to make Walt Jocketty’s life a lot easier in the off season when he is trying to sign his four free agent starters. Chris Carpenter is the only starter with a contract for next year, and he is grossly underpaid. Many have said that situation is as important as any to resolve, but neither Jocketty nor Carpenter seems particularly worried about it. I’m just hoping Mark Mulder is willing to take a few million less to stay in St. Louis. Please, Mark. Please.
8:09–So much for his power being dimmed. Scott Rolen homers to left. BACK-TO-BACK!! Juan Encarnacion immediately follows Rolen’s homer with one of his own to left. He crushed it. 3-1 Cards lead before an out is recorded!
8:13–Aaron Miles just struck out for the second time, this time to end the fourth. No more damage was done to Pettitte this inning. While were here though…Miles has been very good so far this season. It has been written about at length but the trade that sent J.D. Drew and Eli Marrero has benefitted the Cardinals GREATLY. In the end we got Adam Wainwright, Jason Marquis, Aaron Miles, and Larry Bigbie for our current roster.
8:20–Reyes leading off again. He wouldn’t get another hit would he? Nope. He would not.
8:23–Good to see the New Busch Stadium full again. All the seats are officially open for just the second game. Still, every game has been a sell out so far this season and every game is expected to be.
Albert’s is up again…this time with a runner on first. Hopefully he’ll break out of his struggles (2 for 15) against Andy Pettitte. An intentional walk to bring up Scott Rolen who is 2 for 2 on the night. Alright, fine by me. Rolen gets Pujols treatment from me…Pitch 1: Strike. Pitch 2: Weak fly out to right field. Not so fine, but I’ll take Rolen any day.
8:30–Reyes is pitching awesome, but he just gave up a significant double to Craig Biggio who has tied Hank Aaron for 9th (624) on the all time list and has passed Brooks Robinson on the all-time hits list.
8:37–Reyes just whiffed Morgan Ensberg to end the sixth and strand Biggio on second. Even though he has given up a run, this just might turn out to be his best big league start to date which is impressive (see top of post).
8:40–Encarnacion just lined out to center, but I want to talk about him. He really has been better lately, but I’m still waiting for my main question to be answered. At his very best, how good can he be? And just how good is that honestly? I’m not of the school of thought that his career average numbers are going to be good enough. I want more. I’m a greedy and spoiled but nice and supportive Cardinal fan!
8:45–With a strike out of Preston Wilson (his seventh on the night) to start the top of the seventh, Anthony Reyes has now pitched deeper into this game his other big league starts. His pitch count is nearing 100 so my guess is that this is his last inning no matter what.
8:51–Well officially I’m both a jinx and a liar. Reyes just gave up back to back hits and was taken out by LaRussa. So his official line will say he pitch 6.1 innings, the same as last year against the Brew Crew. Hopefully Josh Hancock can strand his runners, but even if he fails to do so it was an absolutely outstanding showing by Anthony Reyes. I’m glad he’s going to be on our side for years to come.
8:55–3-2 home team after a Jason Lane pinch-hit RBI single. Now it’s Orlando Palmairo (spell?) pinch-hitting for Andy Pettitte whose night will end with 6 IP and 3 ER.
8:58–Did that really just happen? It’s 4-3 Houston after a hit and an inexplicable misplay by Golden-Gloved Scott Rolen. It’s damage control now for Hancock. Final line for Reyes: 6.1 IP, 3 ER, 5 hits, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts, and no chance for a win. He deserved better, but there are bigger things to worry about…like the Redbirds getting the win.
9:01–I think we would’ve been better off with Reyes. Craig Biggio just put the Astros up 6-3 with a two run home run off Hancock. Apparently he can’t pitch bad enough to get taken out of the game as no one is even warming up. The Cards have statistically the best bullpen in the league, but tonight is just not Josh Hancock’s night.
9:09–Apparently Hancock did pitch bad enough to be taken out of the game. John Rodriguez pinch hits with one out in the bottom of the seventh. Johnny Rocket, as I guess he is being called these days, is off to a terrific start this season. He didn’t like the call but he stuck out for the out number two.
Russ Springer, he of the Bond beanball (bean ball?), is doing the pitching. I didn’t feel too sorry for Barry when he got plunked, but I didn’t cheer either. It was just a weird situation.
9:13–Nice running catch by Willy Tavares to end the inning. It wasn’t exactly highlight reel material but someone with less speed would have had trouble catching up to it.
9:15–Random between innings thought…Jim Edmonds had the scan I mentioned in my “First Raes” but the results are not yet known to us. It is believed he has a sports hernia, a condition I read almost always requires surgery. However, even if he has the condition Edmonds seems to think he’ll be able to play soon. We’ll see.
9:18–Mention number 1,001 of Braden Looper being too healthy to pitch well early in season just took place (see 7:42). It’s so predictable when he comes in a game on Fox Sports Net I could cry.
9:24–Pujols to the plate with no one on and one out and three runs down. Pitch 1: Ball. Pitch 2: Strike. Pitch 3: Base hit between the shortstop and third basemen. A perfect example of how Pujols hits to win the game…a home run would have been nice, but base runners are what we need. LaRussa has repeatedly said he hits as the situation requires. Just another reason to love El Hombre. Bring him around for another run scored, Scott!
9:27–Double for Rolen…maybe the comments will pick back up now that the Cards have something going. Make me a believer Juan!!!
9:29–Albert’s out at the plate after Encarnacion grounds to third. The inning isn’t over yet, however.
9:32–It is now…still 6-3 heading into the ninth. We’ll have our 7-8-9 hitter in the bottom of the inning and a short bench to work with. Jim Edmonds might be available, but Scott Spiezio is not (see 7:14). It’s not over until the 27th out is recorded, though, as Albert would say.
9:35–It’s back to the mound for Braden Looper after a quick and easy eighth. He wears Yadi’s old number which gives him automatic cool points. I have a shirt with Molina and 41 on the back so when he’s in the game I can represent both ends of the battery. I know, I know…jealousy is only normal. (Sorry–I’m an idiot.)
9:40–To the bottom of the ninth! Bring on Brad Lidge…
9:44–One pitch, one out…Yadi out after smoking a ball to third.
9:46–Well that was an anti-climatic ending to a very busy and exciting night for me. Thanks to Erik and Kevin for the comments and to Lisa for being my liveblogging partner. The Cards went quietly in the ninth, but they’ll be back on the field at noon tomorrow going for yet another series win. They have yet to lose a series at home. I will not be help responsible if that happens for the first time tomorrow becuase that was merely an observation.
Reyes has nothing to show for his great night, and Josh Hancock takes a well deserved loss. He’ll get them next time though. No love lost here overall. Please keep commenting on the thoughts I shared throughout the game and stop back tomorrow morning for my First Raes. (I giggle at the name, and I’m the one who came up with it.)
[Sorry for the endless errors I’m sure I made while frantically typing throughout the game. My fingers are cramping!]