Kaboom! Pow! The Angels come back against the Cardinals!
Break up the Angels! The Halos discovered the Cardinals fatal flaw and exploited it for a walkoff victory! No, not their less than spectacular bullpen. I mean Mike Matheny‘s blindspot for Adam Wainwright.
Sure, Wainwright was cruising and had only thrown just 98 pitches headed into the ninth inning. With the “heart” of the Angels lineup due up, Mike Matheny opted to leave Wainwright in to face Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, and Howie Kendrick.
Pujols greeted Wainwright with a slider and that was the end of the night for the Cards ace. Perhaps one batter too late, Matheny went to his closer Edward Mujica, who pitched the night before in mop up duty designed to just get him work, hasn’t been quite as sharp of late, surrendering two home runs and five hits in his last five combined outings.
Josh Hamiton greeted Mujica and his nasty splitter in a very rude way indeed.
Two singles later the Angels were in a very threatening position, with runners on the corners and nobody out. Mujica battled back to retire the next two Angels but Erick Aybar slapped the above walkoff single into left field and the party began. Second guessing is easy but that’s the way it works in this biz, amirite?
The Cardinals don’t have bullpen problems quite as bad as recent years, which isn’t to say they couldn’t stand to upgrade some parts of their pen. As they are the Cardinals, they have myriad options should the choose to bolster their pen.
Trade one of your zillion prospect chips for a proven relief ace or just move one of zillion hyped arms into the bullpen, ala the 2012 playoff pen featuring current 2+ fWAR starter Shelby Miller and setup king Trevor Rosenthal? They’re the Cardinals, they do whatever they please.