"What is with all this talk about bullpen problems? The bullpen didn't cost us the game. How many runs have we scored in the past two games? How many?!"
These were words of manager Tony La Russa as he addressed the media after the Cardinals recent loss to the Brewers on Tuesday night. Once again, his words would echo throughout Busch stadium as Milwaukee defeated St. Louis 3-0 on Wednesday night.
CC Sabathia was nearly untouchable in the early going of the ball game. After he pitched five and two-thirds innings of no-hit baseball, the Brewers are reaping the rewards of "going for it all."
Sabathia ended up pitching the rest of the game as he shut out the Redbirds, whose offense has disappeared from the face of the earth during this important series.
Absent from the lineup was struggling outfielder Rick Ankiel, as he most certainly was given the day off given his terrible track record against left-handed pitching. His presence probably would not have helped, as Sabathia was not be denied on this day.
The heart of the Cardinals order (Ludwick, Pujols, Glaus) went a combined one-for-10 with four strikeouts. Anemic to say the least, and a big cause for concern.
Braden Looper actually kept St. Louis within striking distance as he pitched five innings, while giving up seven hits with only one earned run. As much as the starting pitching tried to battle with Milwaukee's ace, the offense did not show up.
With manager Tony La Russa's words of how the offense has cost the Redbirds several games, it cannot be denied that the bullpen has made matters worse. Kelvin Jimenez and Jason Isringhausen both gave up runs in their appearances.
Jimenez's run came off of a sacrifice fly, but Isringhausen's outing was more troubling.
Izzy's downfall has come to the disarray of Cardinals nation, and it has been painful to watch. Isringhausen gave up a solo home run off of the bat of Ryan Braun, Braun's 25th of the season.
As the Brewers continue to leave a path of destruction in St. Louis, the Cardinals are on the verge of being swept and falling nearly four games behind the Chicago Cubs.
With the trade deadline approaching and St. Louis continuing to endure loss after loss, how much longer can they wait to make a splash?
Is it possible for the Cardinals to keep their heads on while their rivals literally sweep past them? Maybe the problem isn't only the offense with St. Louis.
Maybe, one of the biggest problems lies in La Russa himself.