Never Give Up, Never Surrender
By Cardinal 70
While the results weren't exactly what Cardinal fans would have wanted, you can't fault their Captain Taggart mentality last night.
I had a meeting at church last night, so I had to turn off the radio with the Cards coming to bat in the top of the ninth and down 3-0. I really didn't expect much to change in that regard, so I was very pleasantly surprised to see they had tied it in the top of the ninth--and it took a great play by Tejada to keep it tied.
Of course, the bottom of the ninth wasn't good and the Cards lost for the first time in about a week, but it is definitely a game that can be built on.
So, where do you look for Heroes? I was thinking about going with Troy Glaus or Ryan Ludwick, both of whom played integral parts in the ninth-inning comeback. But I think you have to give credit to Todd Wellemeyer. Save two hanging pitches, he matched zeros and kept the Cards in the game. It's much more than you really expect out of him and obviously he won't be able to do that every time, but when you step up like that competing for your job (since Joel Pineiro should be back perhaps next time through the rotation), you have to get a pat on the back.
The Goat is a little easier to discern. After your team has battled back in a situation like that, with momentum on your side, and you throw three pitches and give up two runs, you put your name in the front of the line. I know that Kyle McClellan is still a rookie and these things are going to happen. Hopefully he'll mature and grow from these experiences. But it may also be time for LaRussa to stop relying on him so heavily.
Today's matchup doesn't necessarily bode well for a low scoring game. Not that I'm laying aspersions on Brad Thompson. He's pitched very well so far and if he keeps the ball down, he'll be fine. If it's up, good chance it'll be in the Crawford Boxes or beyond. Houston has had some success against Thompson in the past, especially Lance Berkman, who has two home runs and a .429 average against him.
On the other side is Shawn Chacon. The Cardinals haven't done a lot with him, save Cesar Izturis. Izturis has a .292 average in 24 AB against him. Troy Glaus does have a reputable average and a couple of long balls against the pitcher. Perhaps he can bust out tonight with his first Cardinal home run.
Other general notes: Nice read from Bernie about Pujols's attitude in the clubhouse, even when he's not doing all the producing. At least the Cardinals should have some fun this year, and you never really know where that might lead. Clubhouse chemistry is possibly a little overrated, but don't you think people do better work when they want to be there with their coworkers?....Pineiro will start at Memphis tonight and Brendan Ryan is almost back as well, both of which will cause some roster shuffling. Should be minor, though--Rico Washington and Kelvim Jimenez to Memphis. Don't know who will move to the bullpen from the rotation, but Thompson's outing tonight may clear that up....Derrick Goold talked about the Duncan philosophy and getting ground balls in yesterday's Bird Land. Wellemeyer did that to a tee last night. 7 K, 11 GB, 3 FB. That's the prescription of a good night....In case you want to read even more of my writing, I've started doing a series preview up at CardsClubhouse. The one for Houston was posted just a couple of hours before game time so I didn't get it posted here as well, but occasionally we'll dual post them.