The Cardinals had just come off a recent sweep of the San Diego Padres and looked to keep the good times rolling against their divisional foes on Monday night.
Despite a late inning comeback to tie the game, the bullpen once again ruined any chance for a victory as Milwaukee defeated St. Louis 6-3 at Busch.
Joel Pineiro pitched on the edge of a knife all night long by giving up three earned on ten hits. Milwaukee only managed to inflict real damage on a monstrous three-run homer by Rickie Weeks.
Pineiro kept St. Louis within reach of the game as the Cardinals defense had his back throughout the rough outing.
It was a tight ball game with the Brewers squandering RBI opportunities left and right and the Redbirds being shut down. With the offensive explosion the Cardinals had produced, having them hang around until the end is never a good idea.
Then, down to their last inning, the Cardinals fought back with a lead-off double by Yadier Molina in the ninth. Several fielding errors later by Rickie Weeks, and the Cardinals tied the game with a Skip Schumaker sacrifice fly ball.
St. Louis was back in business to force extra innings.
Enter Ryan Franklin.
Maybe it shouldn't have been a surprise to the Cardinal faithful that Ryan Franklin couldn't locate St. Louis on a map, let alone a fastball. However, manager Tony LaRussa should have known better.
Apparently, it has been widely accepted in the clubhouse that their should be a "closer by committee" mentality. This has proved to be problematic in the least, and destructive in the extreme.
Bill Hall would prove to be the difference as he crushed a solo blast to put the Brewers back on top. Franklin would not recover as he destroyed any hopes of yet another comeback.
The bullpen collapse could have been seen a mile away as Jason Isringhausen blew a save against the Padres yesterday. The question now becomes: will the Cardinals stick with a closer by committee or will they attempt to make a trade?
With Milwaukee and St. Louis in a virtual tie for second place in the NL Central, and the Brewers slightly ahead of St. Louis for the NL Wild Card, more bullpen implosions could cost the Redbirds the postseason.