Note of the night/Stat of the day, July 28

Note of the night: When Albert Pujols hit a potential double-play ball in the 11th inning on Wednesday night, he pulled up well short of the bag. Even after a bobble on the relay throw, it took another bobble for Pujols to be safe on the ball.


Then the next batter, Matt Holliday, hit another grounder, and Pujols didn’t make the first attempt to break up the double play.

ESPN noticed. Fans noticed. It got a lot of attention, and rightly so. So we asked Pujols about it after the game, and he explained.
The slugger said he came up with some left calf tightness as he was running to first on the grounder, and that’s why he pulled up. It wasn’t too much for him to come out of the game, but it was enough that he felt he needed to play cautiously. That was magnified, in his mind, by the fact that the Cardinals had just about run out of players.
I included some of his comments in my game story, which is up on the site, but here’s what he had to say at some more length.
“I did it actually running,” he said. “I tried to make sure that they didn’t turn a double play. I told Chad [Blair, the Cardinals' video coordinator] when I came in, I felt my calf got a little tight. I just wanted to make sure, we didn’t have any more players, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t do anything stupid to come out of the game. I hit the ball and I took off, and about halfway to the line, I felt it getting tight and I kind of pulled back. I’m glad it was a bad throw. 
“Another day, with my legs fresh, I probably would have tried to break up the double play. But that’s the way it goes. I pulled back, and that’s the smart play. You can look at it a different way. You can look at it like I wasn’t hustling, but you know what? Late in the game like that, if I feel good, I’m going to do everything that I can to try to break up the double play. But when you don’t have anybody in extra innings and you feel something, the last thing you want to do is hurt yourself and be the last guy and throw a pitcher out there to play your position.”
It definitely looked like Pujols was still moving gingerly as the game went on, but it doesn’t seem to be anything severe.
“I’ll be fine,” Pujols said when asked about Thursday afternoon’s game. “Little massage, get it loose. t’s nothing like a pull or anything. I felt it more like a little tight.”
We asked TLR whether Pujols would be in the lineup tomorrow (actually later today — about 9 hours away as I write this), and he was noncommittal. But it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see him get a breather after a 13-inning game, especially with a knuckleballer pitching for the Mets.
Stat of the day: Following this afternoon’s game against the Mets, the Cardinals’ next six weeks break down as follows: 27 games against teams with losing records, including 16 against the Pirates, Astros and Nationals; 6 games against the Reds; and exactly one series that fits neither of those categories (3 games against the Giants at home in late August).
This is a serious opportunity for this team to get well and take control of the division race, if it’s good enough to do so. By contrast, during that same stretch, the Reds have series against the Braves, Dodgers, Giants and Rockies as well as the head-to-head games.
Fun with double situational splits: Colby Rasmus is 14-for-47 (.298) with six extra-base hits, five walks and nine strikeouts against left-handed pitchers since June 1. He’s slugging .553 with a .365 on-base percentage against lefties in that span.
And, finally, the playlist:
Sometimes New York puts me in a hip-hop mood. Sometimes artsy stuff, sometimes punk. And sometimes, NYC puts me in a Stones mood. So tonight, it’s five NYC-inflected Stones songs.
“When the Whip Comes Down”
“Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)”
“Dance Pt. 1″
“She Was Hot”
“Shattered”
-M.

5 Comments

Matthew – (I’m an Astros fan), HOU is 5-4 against STL so far this season and 4-2 in St Louis, over all records don’t matter in that match up. Astros are 25-20 against the NLC as well. I do agree though, Reds have a way tougher go the next four weeks.

Just so you know, I read ur stuff all the time – excellent job!

The “if it’s good enough” portion of the “Stat-of-the-Day” comment is significant. Now with Oswalt off of the market (and apparently no other options to pick up a decent if not front of the rotation starting pitcher) it appears that they are going to have to rely on the “Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time” Hawkesworth or the “Past-Prime-Time” Suppan along with a BIG question mark in Lohse to pitch in the 4th and 5th spots in the rotation. In my mind that means that they can’t rely on much from those starts and if the offense is now back to it’s anemic June offense as demonstrated in NY this past three games even with a favorable schedule they could have trouble winning the Central. I was optimistic IF they were able to replace at least one of the two injured starters BUT…. We can only hope that the offense starts playing to its potential and that they win nearly all of their games when the top three in the rotation start.

I can’t believe for the life of me that after all the time that TLR and CO. have been in St. Louis that they have not developed any starting pitching here. Other than Garcia, and the others we won’t mention that have been traded off for? Who we have left Hawksworth, Walters, Ottavino, the list goes on and on of just run outs with no real chance of sticking here. Trading for sketchy guys to cover those back end spots, really isn’t cutting it. You’d think with the glutton of OF’s we have, and I’m including Skip S. cuz he is not a major league caliber 2nd baseman, we could acquire a back end guy that is young and have an ERA under 6!!!

Roy Oswalt wanted to go to ONE team -and ONE team only, the Cardinals. Today, he is on the Phillies. nice going, management. pitching, pitching, pitching, pitching, pitching, pitching, pitching, pitching, pitching, pitching, pitching, pitching, pitching, pitching, pitching, pitching – more pitching, pitching, pitching. this one is pathetic to me. we could use another GREAT starting pitcher this season, if you had’nt noticed. (i know, you have no money – that is the usual excuse.)

This trade year is going to come back to bite the Cardinals on the rear, not only did Houston get a quality P but a lefty as well, plus the fact you throw in their trade for Brett Wallace who no doubt now becomes the Houston 1st baseman of the future. Plus it looks like the Cards are not going to get anything done when they have some serious holes in that club

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