The Cards have given their legions of fans hope with a couple of impressive wins lately, but their humiliating 11-0 loss to the New York Mets tonight at Citifield was a perfect illustration of the deepening problems within the St. Louis ballclub.
In this horribly depressing game, the Cardinals hitting really sucked. It is as bad as it's been all season. There were numerous opportunities to score that were completely wasted. Eight runners were left on base. That is simply not acceptable for a team that wants or expects to make it to the postseason.
The Cards batted so terribly that they made the mediocre Mets starter, Fernando Nieve. look like Nolan Ryan. He pitched successfully around Albert Pujols, and, predictably, the rest of the Cardinals offense completely shut down. There is no way that Rick Ankiel should ever again be allowed to bat cleanup.
Also, the starting pitching by the usually reliable Brad Thompson sucked. The relief pitching definitely sucked. Communication between the fielders sucked. Joe Thurston, in particular, really sucked. Khalil Greene ended his short streak of looking like an actual professional ballplayer and resumed his long season of sucking.
Watching a decent team get beat this badly was an ugly and brutal spectacle. Truthfully, during the Mets' long series of runs during the seventh inning, I briefly turned the channel to ESPN to catch part of the College World Series just so I could remind myself what real competitive baseball is supposed to look like.
You know, if Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, and Jose Reyes weren't injured and were part of the lineup, and if Santana were on the mound tonight, this St. Louis suckability might be a little understandable. It could be chalked up to being simply over-matched by a big budget team full of superstars.
However, that is not the case in this series. As was proven by Joel Piniero last night, these Mets are and should be highly beatable. The fact that a New York team with this many injuries and weak spots beat the Cardinals so completely should set off some major alarms in the management of this team.
The only good news to come out of tonight is that the Cardinals are still barely holding on to first place in the relatively weak National League Central.
Johan Santana is pitching for the Mets tomorrow. At least if the Cardinals suck as bad in that game as they did in this one, they can use that as a semi-decent excuse.
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