Cardinals-Mets: Even Carpenter Can't Seem To Carve Out A Win

Brian McDowellCorrespondent IJune 25, 2009

ST. LOUIS - APRIL 9:  Chris Carpenter #29 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches during the MLB game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 9, 2009 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Cardinals defeated the Pirates 2-1.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

The Cardinals' ace starting pitcher, Chris Carpenter, pitched decently well in today's early afternoon game  at Citifield, but eventually, he was outdueled by fellow Cy Young winner, Johan Santana, as the Mets bested St. Louis 2-3.

Carpenter pitched very well, giving up only four hits in seven innings and garnering five strikeouts. His performance just was not good enough to overcome this team's lack of offensive support for him. There were numerous points where this game appeared to be highly winnable, but once again, for the second night in a row, the Cards proved completely unable to hit in key clutch situations.

They stranded twelve runners today, and Molina was their only batter that got more than one hit. The Mets have proven, once and for all, that the only thing you have to do to beat this Cardinal team is to shut down Pujols. Once they managed to do that, everything else pretty much fell into place.

The Cardinals are still proving to have some very disturbing weak points. I'm definitely starting to question what exactly Joe Thurston contributes to this ballclub. While he did have one of St. Louis's two RBIs, he also did a generally terrible job playing second, making a costly error. Khalil Greene also seems to be back to his old self, going 0 for 3 in this game. Thurston has a miserable .225 batting average, and Khalil has an even worse .205.

As someone who's suffered from mental problems,  I can certainly relate to Khalil Greene's story. I appreciate his honesty and I want him to do well. However, there comes a point where the management of this team is going to have to answer to why exactly they're keeping  talent that is obviously mediocre and isn't getting better around on a Major League roster.

This is true of Ankiel too, by the way. He has had a crappy year,  batting a paltry .235. I'm a writer, so I appreciate a good human interest story, but just because the details of his baseball career would make a good Disney movie does not mean that he deserve a starting spot in a Major League lineup, particularly for a team that wants to be in playoff contention.

And the Cardinals' middle relief looked even worse than any of their hitters in this contest. While they didn't technically cost the Cardinals anything, they sure looked like they were going to. Besides their great closer, Ryan Franklin, is there anyone in the bullpen that can truly be said to help the Cardinals more than they hurt? I can't think of one. That's a shame too.

Statistically, Franklin is every bit as good of a closer as anyone else in the league, but I'm afraid he'll never as many saves as Heath Bell or K-Rod, because the Cardinals offense is too inconsistent and the bullpen is too weak to give him many opportunities.

I don't mean to suggest that everything about this team is bad. They could have, and probably should have, won today's game. The Cardinals are certainly an intriguing team with some pretty good starting pitchers, some promising talent, one of the best catchers in the league, and the best pure baseball player in the game today.

However, they just can't seem to get it all together. The Cardinals are going to lose a crapload of games in the second half of the season, unless these holes in their lineup are plugged by a major personnel shake-up soon, either in their lineup, their bullpen or in their coaching ranks.

 Otherwise, unfortunate Cardinals fans are going to keep seeing what we saw today; good starting pitching performances totally wasted.