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It Turns Out That Overextending A Bullpen is a Bad Thing

It Turns Out That Overextending A Bullpen is a Bad Thing
Apr. 21, 2009 ( delivered by Newstex ) --

The headline star of my last entry took the slow boat to the disabled list this week. We don't think we cursed him because curses are for inferior franchises. Also, Carpenter is a Faberge egg and it was only a matter of time. This time he hurt his ribs swinging the bat. The "good" news is his arm didn't fall off. The bad news is his replacement's name is "P.J." The week that was featured late inning loses, questionable managerial moves, and impressive individual performances. If there was any doubt, now it is certain that we are dealing with a LaRussa team.

Game 8 vs. Ari. W 2-1: Colonel Wellemeyer had been testing a new delivery in spring training with unsuccessful results. He went back to a simpler wind up and improved his results immensely. He scattered seven hits in seven innings, allowing one run. Pujols and leadoff hitter Brian Barden each hit a solo home run to put the Cards over the top. The bullpen worked like it was supposed to with St. Louisan Kyle McClellan and Restaurant Name Dennys Reyes combining to end the eighth and Ryan Franklin getting the save.

Game 9 vs. Ari. L 6-7: The Cardinals were trucking along fine. The ran about 9 miles of the marathon when they were hit by an old lady driving her Buick LeSabre. Despite the major setback, the team pushed forward and nearly won the race but ultimately couldn't recover. Analogous Old Lady Chris Carpenter and his Buick LeSabre ribs loomed over the Cardinals after his departure in the middle of the fourth. Pujols, Duncan, and Ankiel each had a run off St. Louisan and Supervillan Max Scherzer in the fourth. The Snakes' Mark Reynolds wrapped a 2-run homer off Babyface Thompson in the fifth. In the top of the 6th Yadi Molina drew a walk, as he is wont to do, and then stole 2nd base. I know what you are thinking and the answer is no, a Slip 'N Slide was not used in for that steal. He later scored on a single by Joe Thurston. The D-Backs scored, then the Cards tied it up, but in the end, when the Cardinals got to their seventh pitcher, Babyface, in the 10th inning, the team was out of gas. Arizona took the win off a single from Eric Byrnes.

Another noted event was something that didn't happen. In the the top of the ninth with bases loaded and one out, McClellan's spot in the order came up. LaRussa had a couple choices off the bench. Rather than going with the team's second best hitter Ryan Ludwick, LaRussa chose to go with hyper child Brendan Ryan. B. Ryan struck out swinging and Ludwick perfected his seed spitting on the bench. LaRussa would later give a weak "I liked the match up better excuse." For being such a numbers/analytical guy, LaRussa likes to go with his gut in crucial situations. I'll probably go more into this later in the season because I am sure LaRussa will give me plenty of opportunities to touch on it.

Game 10 vs. Ari., W 12-7: To honor Mo Vaughn on Number 42 day, before the game Chris Duncan mashed a can of chewing tobacco to make the contents rainbow into his mouth. His forearms increased to a disproportionate size and collected a single, double, and triple on the day. Ludwick responded to his snub the night before by going 3-5 with 2 RBI and a homer.

Game 11 vs. Chi., W 7-4: Duncan continued his mashing spree. He went 3-4 with a 2-run homer and 3 RBI. This time, however, he stumbled over his massive forearms and made a couple fielding errors with only one actually credited to him. Wainwright pitched like a mere mortal but came through at the last possible opportunity in the sixth with the bases loaded. Duncan, Molina, and Barden each added a run to give the Cardinals the first win of the season series against the Cubs.

Game 12 vs. Chi., L 7-8: In order to keep the kid out of the limelight of a nationally televised game, rookie P.J. Walter made his major league debut against the Cubs on Friday. P.J. endearingly allowed three runs in the first two innings but then settled in by sitting down nine of the last 10 hitters he faced. By the time he left, he had a 5-3 lead in the game, but unfortunately, the game doesn't end after four innings. Left handed specialist was inserted into the game because LaRussa forgot the definition of specialist. He struck out lefty Fukudome and was beat mercilessly by the next right handed batters. Even with LaRussa trying to give the game away, the Cards hitting continued. Ludwick hit his second daisy of the day and Barden went deep as well to once again take a two run lead. Unfortunately, more runs let up by young pitchers Mitchell Boggs and Chris Perez made sure everyone was in the proper grumpy mood.

Game 13 vs. Chi., L 5-7: Hired Gun Kyle Lohse delivered his worst performance of the young season, which fortunately wasn't too bad. He went five innings and allowed four runs. He left with the game tied, which put the bullpen in a tight spot. After exchanging runs, the game remain tied into extra innings. Dennys Reyes was the sixth pitcher called upon in the tenth out of necessity more than anything. He had to face Soriano, Fukudome, Lee, and Aramis Ramirez, who ended the match with a walk off homer.

The final game of the series was mercifully rained out. This allows for the bullpen to figuratively recharge their batteries and Khalilbot to literally recharge his. It was annouced late on Monday that Memphis Outfielder Brian Barton was traded to the Braves for reliever Blaine Boyer. Along with maintaining their league lead in players with BB initials, the Cards add a pitcher who had a rough start to this season. Last year, Boyer pitched 52.2 innings in 51 games before the All-Star break with 45 strikeouts and only 18 walks. He seems to fit the Duncan Project? mold. Being a mediocre career reliever, Blaine may be in the starting rotation by early June.Brian Kist is a writer in Southwest Missouri. He listens to punk music and enjoys Baseball. He tries to mash those to loves together at Punk On Deck.Newstex ID: CRIT-0006-34293126

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 21, 2009

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