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Opposing Views - Cardinals, 8/2/05


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Game recaps

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Major League Baseball; Associated Press

MVN All in the Cards blog, Scout.com Birdhouse (SR)




Game threads

Cards Clubhouse, Scout.com Birdhouse, Major League Baseball, Viva El Birdos




Scouting the series

Cards Clubhouse, CardNilly

Baseball Musings, Baseball Prospectus (SR)




To review

The Cardinals stretched five hits into three runs without benefit of a home run. They worked Willis' iffy control for two runs on rookie left fielder John Gall's two-out double in the third inning and scored their final run on center fielder Jim Edmonds' one-out single in the fifth. The game-winning RBIs were Gall's first RBIs in the major leagues, following his debut as the team's cleanup hitter by two days. /---/ PD


Down 1-0 after the Marlins scored a first-inning run on center fielder Juan Pierre's leadoff double and consecutive sacrifices by Luis Castillo and Jeff Conine, the Cardinals benefited from two unearned runs in the third. Marlins third baseman Mike Lowell, recently discovered to have last season set the league record for fewest errors in a season at his position, couldn't glove Albert Pujols' no-bounce grounder and was charged an error.

Pujols took second base on the play. With two outs, Willis walked second baseman Mark Grudzielanek a second time to reach Gall. After trailing Willis 0-2 in the count, Gall made sure the distinction wouldn't be repeated as his sinking line drive to right field bounced past Juan Encarnacion's belly-flop for a two-run double. /---/ PD


Carpenter followed Gall's double by retiring the next 13 hitters he faced. Only one pushed the ball to the outfield. Carpenter snared Juan Encarnacion's two-out bullet to the mound, Albert Pujols backhanded Willis' two-out smash to end the fourth, and third baseman Abraham Nunez brought in Mike Lowell's lined shot to begin the eighth. There was no question about sending Carpenter back for the ninth. /---/ PD


"Everything was working for him and he was still fresh. We have one of the game's great closers. But he was fresh and we didn't feel like we were pushing him at all," La Russa said. "I don't care how great Izzy is, if I'm on the other side I might think we have a better chance if the other guy comes out. Carp's been dealing." /---/ PD


"The guy's throwing a 95-mph sinker and a 90-mph cutter on the outside part, so it's pretty tough to cover both sides of the plate," said Jeff Conine, who had a sacrifice fly for the only Florida RBI. "Mix in a nasty curveball, and you have a long night. That's the best stuff we've seen all year." /---/ MLB {One word: nasty}


"We have one of the game's great closers, but [Carpenter] was fresh," said La Russa. "We didn't feel like we were pushing him at all. I don't care how great Izzy is -- if I'm the other side, they may think they have a better chance if the other guy comes out. Carp's just dealing." /---/ MLB {He makes a great point.}




Fisticuffs with Tony, Paul, Cris and Ron

The Cardinals were hit by three pitches and knocked down by a fourth. Edmonds narrowly avoided getting drilled between the eyes by Marlins reliever Ron Villone in the seventh inning, and an exchange of hit batters coincidentally followed in the eighth. A contentious inning twice brought manager Tony La Russa out of the home dugout and brought warnings to both benches.

La Russa made just one fewer trip onto the field in the eighth inning to confront Villone and the umpiring crew than Carpenter allowed hits, prompting one visiting player to classify the response as "a joke." /---/ PD


La Russa first jawed with the umpiring crew before turning on Marlins catcher Paul Lo Duca, whom he scolded regarding the outbreak of high-and-tight pitches.

"I don't care if it's intentional or not, it doesn't belong up there. If we throw up there, I'm going to yell at our guys. It's just a dangerous area to pitch at," La Russa stated.

La Russa returned to argue an interference call against Carpenter on a botched squeeze attempt. Villone's pitch bore in sharply, forcing Carpenter back. The pitcher drew an interference call because he tangled with Lo Duca as he scrambled to tag baserunner Mark Grudzielanek. /---/ PD


"I know Tony is trying to protect his players, but we're not trying to hit anybody," Lo Duca said. "It's a 3-1 ballgame. I know Tony is protecting his players, and I'm protecting my pitcher. Tony told me to tell the guy to get the ball down. Seriously. Are you kidding me?"

Three batters after Rodriguez was hit, Carpenter attempted to sacrifice Mark Grudzielanek home from third base. On a pitch down and in, Carpenter tried to get out of the way, and he and Lo Duca got tangled up as Lo Duca tried to tag Grudzielanek. Initially, home-plate umpire Doug Eddings called Grudzielanek safe, but he then quickly called Carpenter out and sent Grudzielanek back to third on a batter interference call.

The Cards were irritated that their run was taken away, while the Marlins took issue with the interpretation of the rule. According to rule 7.08(g), it is the runner, not the batter, who should be called out on such a play. /---/ MLB




Meet me in St. Louis

"I would only know this being around Tony and knowing what he is able to do with his role players," said Dave Stewart, Nunez's agent and the former pitcher who played on La Russa's Oakland clubs. "He's getting his at-bats, getting the playing time that I thought Abraham needed to be in a position to show the player he is." /---/ PD


Former Cardinals pitcher Rick Ankiel continued to make the career transition to a power-hitting outfielder as he was promoted to Double-A Springfield on Tuesday.

Ankiel began the season with Springfield as a right fielder, playing six games before he was put on the disabled list. Since that time he has been with Class A Quad Cities. While he was there, he hit .270 with 11 home runs and 53 RBIs in 51 games. /---/ MLB {September call-up?}


Cardinals manager Tony La Russa opted to start John Gall, a right-handed batter, on Tuesday night over John Rodriguez, a left-hander.

The move was not done to create matchup problems for Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis. He has a better ERA against right-handed batters (2.79) than lefties (4.23). La Russa wanted to get Gall some time this week because he said he plans to have Rodriguez in the lineup at least the next two days. /---/ MLB

Stephen Norris of MLB profiles rookie outfielder John Gall.




Cy Carpenter?

Brian Burwell of the Post Dispatch and many Cardinals fans think so.





the Fungoes blog does a similar series as this. (Monday's game)


Viva El Birdosponders if the Cardinals' offense suffering a clutch power decline?


What's eating Jason Marquis? The Cards Clubhouse and Scout.com Birdwatch forums wonder.


Trade deadline thoughts: Bernie Miklasz of the Post-Dispatch, Brian Walton and Joe Mammy and Ray Mileur of Scout.com Birdhouse. Rob of The Birdwatch blog, The Cardinals Diaspora blog, Get Up Baby Get Up blog, And the members of Cards Clubhouse.

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