Cardinals-Indians: The Cardinals' Collapse Continues In Cleveland

Brian McDowellCorrespondent IJune 12, 2009

PHOENIX - APRIL 15:  Starting pitcher Joel Pineiro #42 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the game at Chase Field on April 15, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Diamondbacks 12-7.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

To all of us who were foolish enough to be optimistic about the recent on-field performance of the St. Louis Cardinals, tonight's 7-3 loss to the unimpressive Indians served as a stark reminder of the deep problems of this baseball team. More performances like this should put their playoff potential in serious doubt.

In the first seven innings of this shoddy excuse for a baseball game, the nobody rookie left-handed Indians starting pitcher, David Huff, managed to get the best of all Cardinal batters that weren't named Albert Pujols. Besides a fairly typical Pujols homer in the fourth inning, Huff pitched a nearly flawless game, until he got a little sloppy in the seventh, and set Pujols and Ludwick up to put together a little mini-rally. This brief triumph put the game in  reach, until Cardinal relievers started to allow the Indians to pile on unnecessary runs. I swear, lately, the St. Louis bullpen seems about as steady and reliable as employment in the current American automobile industry.

Starter Joel Piniero, was as maddeningly inconsistent as ever, quickly veering from reliable to completely sloppy and unpredictable. I thought he did okay in this game, but when he came out of the game, any momentum that Pujols's bat loaned to the Cardinals completely fell apart.

Besides the offensive production of Pujols, there were a couple of isolated bright spots for the Redbirds in the game. Rick Ankiel continues to have a wee bit of shine, particularly on defense, making an amazing catch against the centerfield wall in the bottom of the third inning. He also garnered a couple of walks. Plus, this chance gave Cards fans the chance to view third baseman, Mark DeRosa, in action. There are plenty of rumors about the Cardinals acquiring DeRosa, and with the way he hustled in this game, I can only hope that those musings have some factual basis.

Otherwise, the only thing that the viewing of this sorry contest accomplished was making this correspondent regret that I didn't watch the hockey game instead.