So says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Jeff Gordon. An excerpt:
If ever a baseball team needed a few days off in the same week, it’s the Cardinals.
They looked whipped Sunday. They offered starting pitcher Adam Wainwright zero support.
On an otherwise beautiful day at the ballpark, they slogged through an ugly offensive performance in their 2-0 loss to the Astros. They blew their chance to sweep the Astros and add to their National League Central lead.
They missed a chance to build serious momentum in the pennant race.
“We just came off a tough road trip,” outfielder Ryan Ludwick said. “To win three of four against LA, the team with the best record in the National League, and two of three from Houston, which is battling in our division, that is pretty good.”
“We played 5-2 ball against the Dodgers and Astros,” Wainwright added. “If you told us we would do that beforehand, we probably would have taken that and not played the games.”
True, but that 5-2 home stand could have been a 7-0 home stand. Imagine what a sweep could have done to their playoff quest.
This team had the opportunity to ride its (Matt) Holliday excitement and make a big move.
By Sunday, though, the group appeared spent. Albert Pujols (hitting .185 during this homestand) looked weary at the plate and the reconfigured Cards lineup had no life.
Colby Rasmus drew a couple of walks in the No. 2 slot, giving Albert an opportunity to not knock him in.
Ludwick came off the bench and hit a single. (Twice in the last four games he was out of the starting lineup, despite hitting .340 with 28 RBIs in July. That bears watching.)
Wainwright broke up the no-hit bid by Astros pitcher Bud Norris (!) with a single up the middle. Alas, that leadoff single in the sixth inning (followed by a Rasmus walk one out later) did not start a rally...
...Overall, the Cards offered little resistance as the immortal Norris mowed them down. The offensive machine ran out of steam.
I don't appreciate your sarcasm, Mr. Gordon. Norris is immortal, he shall never die. Nor lose. Nor give up a run. Ever.