Being an attentive baseball fan can sometimes feel like a completely futile exercise. Within 12 hours, the triumphant joy of victory can be followed by the stinking humiliation of defeat.
Yesterday, the Cards dazzled in a comeback victory that climaxed with a shattering grand slam from one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Today, the same team was completely shut down and crushed by the far inferior New York squad, as the Mets beat the Cardinals 9-0 in a game that was about as much fun to watch as the average prison rape.
In the course of this game, both the Mets' starting pitcher and aging outfielder, Gary Sheffield, joined New York's growing disabled list. The fact that 90 percent of their decent players are currently hurt and unavailable did not seem to slow New York down at all.
This is a game in which seemingly nothing went right for St. Louis. Kyle Lohse did a terrible job starting for St. Louis, allowing five runs and seven hits in just under three innings of work. His ability to do this team any good should be very much in doubt. Brad Thompson also did the Redbirds no favors, giving up three runs in two innings.
Currently, the Cardinals' only real weak spots are their middle relievers and the fact that this team really only has three reliable starters, and this game seemed to illustrate that well.
The usually impressive offense of the Cardinals was also pretty terrible in this game. Albert Pujols had a decent day at the plate, going 2-for-3. However, with no one surrounding him in the lineup getting on base at all, even Pujols couldn't really get any momentum going. The only other St. Louis hitter who managed to get more than one hit was Joe Thurston, who went 2-for4. However, none of these hits was meaningful at all.
Against a battery of Mets' relievers, St. Louis couldn't even come up with one lousy run.
All around, this was a terrible game for the Cardinals. Now, this loss might not be super costly; as of this writing, the Cubs are getting beat by the Reds, so St. Louis should still be ahead of the National League Central by half a game.
As tight as this race is going to be, let's just hope that getting skunked by a team in as terrible shape as the Mets doesn't suck too much wind out of St. Louis's sails.