Wednesday, August 4, 2010

We just may have helped kill the Cardinals

Or, at least, made them question the All-Knowing John Mozeliak.

Here, St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Jeff Gordon runs around the village hollering and screaming:

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak can look at the bright side today. Fewer people are asking why he traded a beloved hitter, Ryan Ludwick, to add another pitcher.

Newcomer Jake Westbrook pitched well in his debut, allowing just two runs in six innings Monday night. He was exactly as advertised, a savvy ground-ball specialist who should fit snugly into Dave Duncan’s program. But the rest of the Cards pitching staff allowed 25 runs in the next 11 innings against the Astros. Twenty-five!

Some of that failure could be attributed to defense, or the lack thereof. Fielding is not a strong suit of this team. Even in good times, the 2010 Cards give away outs. In bad times they give away runs and games. This takes a cumulative toll on the starters and relievers.

But the pitchers still have to make pitches – and several of them quit doing that the last two days. Jaime Garcia looked like a young pitcher hitting the fatigue wall Tuesday night. Set-up man Jason Motte developed a sore shoulder and lost command. That shifted a bigger burden to Mitchell Boggs, who promptly blew up. Key lefty Dennys Reyes continued his second-half meltdown. Fill-in reliever Mike MacDougal showed everybody why he was out of the majors this season. The only reliable Cards reliever the last two days was . . . utility man Aaron Miles, who threw a scoreless ninth inning Tuesday night.

So Mozeliak must continue making changes. Issues abound. The bullpen is looking frayed these days...

...Tuesday night’s epic defeat was a cry for help. Can Mozeliak answer it quickly? Can he answer it well?

The Cards season may hinge on his response.