In an odd twist of fate, the Cardinals bullpen was not the source of their downfall. Kyle Lohse's early struggles combined with a lack offense paved the way for a 4-1 loss to the Dodgers on Thursday.
Lohse's exploits started after when James Loney singled in Jeff Kent in the first inning that would give L.A. an early lead. The very first inning would make Lohse pitch into the high-30's.
Manny Ramirez then blasted a 400-plus-foot homer to extend the lead to 3-0. A truly monstrous shot.
Lohse had quietly become the Redbirds ace after Adam Wainwright went down with injury. His dominating pitching performances kept St. Louis in the hunt for the NL Central and the Wild Card.
Even though this wasn't a horrible outing, Lohse clearly has been having issues. Earlier in the year, it seemed as though Lohse was attacking batters and pitching strikes. Now, Lohse is pitching around batters and not locating his pitches.
The combination can lead to disaster as his seven run implosion against the Mets on Jul. 27 provided a glimpse of his future troubles. However, Lohse started to right the ship as he pitched lights-out baseball for his final three innings.
The offense was nearly as ineffective as Lohse as the Cardinals only managed four hits on the day. Albert Pujols, Ryan Ludwick, and Troy Glaus (the heart of the order) went a combined 1-for-8 with three strikeouts.
The only bright spot was that big bats were silent, the minor damage did come in the way of walks. The "Big Three" managed four walks to at least give St. Louis a chance to have the rest of their lineup to drive them in.
Clayton Kershaw provided the solid outing the Dodgers needed as he managed seven innings with only one earned run with seven strikeouts.
With the Redbirds starting pitching and offense struggling, the only aspect of the game they excelled in was with the bullpen. Jason Isringhausen pitched two innings of scoreless baseball while only giving up one hit coupled with three strikeouts.
An encouraging sign for St. Louis, yet they desperately need more of the game when it counts. Izzy pitched while the Cardinals were losing and no one else on the Busch stadium bench helped him out.
As rumors swirl about the role of Adam Wainwright going into the starting rotation or the bullpen, it seems as though when one thing goes right for St. Louis another goes wrong.
Despite dropping the finale to the Dodgers, the Redbirds managed a series win. Something that they can rally around and try and make a drive for a playoff spot.