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RHATER is Gone.

Todd Wellemeyer pitched 6 strong innings giving up 3 runs on 5 hits and NO WALKS, but the Cardinals fell in 10 innings to the Dodgers, on a two-out RBI single by Andre Ethier off Mike Parisi. It was a tough loss, with the Cardinals rallying twice with one run down but not able to muster any offense against Dodger closer Takashi Saito, who struck out 5 of the 6 batters he got out, including Albert Pujols.

The game featured the Cardinals putting up 5-1 Todd Wellemeyer to face the Dodgers' rookie, Clay Kershaw, making his MLB debut.  Kershaw sure did pitch well in his first career start, settling in after a rough first inning to pitch 6 strong innings of 5-hit ball, giving up 2 runs and striking out 7. He sure did have a nice curveball.  The thing I liked about Wellemeyer is how he pitched in the tough situation.  Instead of psyching out like he did in previous starts and thinking he had to make that perfect pitch to get out of the inning, he was much more confident and kept his poise, getting out of some jams.  The bullpen was perfect until the 10th, where I think Tony shouldn't have let Parisi pitchn on, with Franklin and Perez still in the bullpen. 

There wasn't much to be excited about on offense.  Brian Barton made two nice base running plays.  One scoring from first on a deep double by Pujols in the first; the other, scoring from 3rd on a chopper to 3rd.  He purposefully ran down the line to force the third baseman, DeWitt, the throw over him, making the catcher Martin reach up for the ball, giving him a safe passage to home.  Pujols went 2 for 4, raising his average to .346, and getting his 33rd RBI.  Oh yeah, and Cesar Izturis made a nice steal that scored a run later.  He got an amazing jump and then moved onto 3rd when Martin's throw went into center.

On defense, Schumaker made a nice diving catch in center, put misplayed a ball of the wall once that turned into a run. Both Pujols and Glaus made multiple good plays too.  Glaus has really improved, and I think the trade for Rolen definitely was worth it.  We lost a Rolen's Gold Glove, but also he was the clubhouse cancer for Tony La Russa last year and years past.  Glaus provides more power and can hit the ball to all parts of the field.  His defense isn't too shabby either.

Good news.  Thankfully, the Pirates beat the Cubs in a close one again, keeping the division lead in a tie between us and Chicago.  The Cards get an off day tomorrow while Chicago is playing, so we very well may be in the lead alone on Tuesday morning.  Wait and see.  Overall, the Cardinals had a good road trip, going 4-2, with plenty of time to rest up.  Luckily, that was their last West Coast trip of the year, so no more horrible jet lag.


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