Cardinals-Phillies: Can the Redbirds Bullpen Hold a Lead?

Derek CoffeltSenior Analyst IAugust 3, 2008

It was pitiful. It was heartbreaking. It was disgusting.

For the 24th time this season, the Cardinals bullpen was attributed the loss as the Phillies defeated St. Louis 5-4 on Sunday night.

Once again, St. Louis had a 2-1 lead heading into the eighth inning and once again the bullpen gave the game away. Kyle McClellan and Jaime Garcia both gave up runs of their own but the real damage came at the hands of Russ Springer.

With two outs and one on, the veteran right-hander stepped onto the mound. Watching the game, I almost could set my watch to it.

"Here comes another blown lead", I said to myself.

Sure enough, it was as if I got right inside Springer's head. Soon after coming into the game, Springer gave up an RBI single to Pat Burrell and a go-ahead three-run homer to Shane Victorino.

I nearly felt my lunch come back up in my throat from this latest loss. Not only did the bullpen blow the lead, St. Louis also threw away a very solid outing by starter Todd Wellemeyer.

After a couple shillings after his elbow injury in Jun. 5, Wellemeyer had bounced back recently with back-to-back pitching performances that should have resulted in wins. Instead, he was awarded no-decisions.

The Redbirds offense even tried to overcome their bullpen atrocities with a comeback in the ninth. Troy Glaus crept the Cardinals within one run as he jacked a solo shot off of Phillies closer Brad Lidge.

The Cardinals had the bases loaded with one out but managed to strike out to the end the game. An epic showdown lurked in the on-deck circle as slugger Albert Pujols was denied his chance to win the game as the offense couldn't come through.

Perhaps the game shouldn't have been as close as it had been. For the second straight night, St. Louis left double-digit runners on base and only had their offense show up when their bullpen decided to blow the game.

My question is, where was Jason Isringhausen?

The newly appointed closer did not even make a warm-up appearance with the Redbirds leading 2-1 in the eighth. Izzy had pitched very few innings in recent weeks and should have at least been given the opportunity to make a two-inning save.

Maybe I'm wrong, maybe I'm not.

The trade deadline has come and gone and the Cardinals did not make any moves to improve their bullpen. It still is a ways until October, but the bullpen is costing St. Louis precious ground in the standings.