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Friday, July 31, 2009

Game Notes: Dodgers 5, Cardinals 3, 30/07/09 - The Big Come Down

Posted By on Fri, Jul 31, 2009 at 2:56 AM

Page 2 of 2

-- On a positive note, Kyle Lohse looked much, much better than he had previously. He had good command of all his pitches, threw a couple of really nice breaking balls, and just generally looked like the Kyle Lohse we all came to know and love last year. Lohse is going to be very important to the Cards down the stretch, as the Cubs have suddenly decided they're going to stop losing. The Cardinals are going to need all their starters pitching well if they expect to win enough games to outpace the Northsiders. 

-- Kyle McClellan is quickly becoming the new Brad Thompson for me, a pitcher who I'm less and less impressed with the more I see him. His walks per nine this year is up from 3.09 to 4.87, and while his ERA is still very good at 2.84, his FIP is nearly a run and a half higher, at 4.20. Worse yet, K-Mac has made ten appearances in July, and has allowed at least one baserunner seven times. Last year, both McClellan's slider and curveball were plus pitches, being worth 3.2 and 4.1 runs above average, respectively. This year, the slider is worth 0.7 runs, while his curveball has been worth 0.1 runs, essentially meaning it hasn't added any value at all. I know he's a great story, being a local product and all, but I can't shake the feeling K-Mac may not actually be all that good a pitcher. 

-- Unfortunately, I'm also starting to get that same feeling about Dennys Reyes. In the tenth inning last night, Reyes came in to face Andre Ethier. He got two quick strikes, then pulled what I like to call a Flores: get ahead of a hitter, then throw the same crappy breaking ball out of the strike zone over and over until you walk him. That's just what Reyes did, then predictably gave  up a hit to the right-handed hitting Casey Blake. To Reyes' credit, he did strike out James Loney, but he had already violated one of the cardinal rules of the reliever: you don't walk the first hitter you face. 

-- And finally, why is Todd Wellemeyer still with this team? Was there anyone surprised when he gave up the game-winning hit last night? Wellemeyer is a bad pitcher, period. He was always worse as a reliever than as a starter, so how does moving him to the bullpen solve any problems? The Colonel needs to be sent down yesterday. And hey, if you're so worried about losing him to the waiver wire, don't be! One, I doubt any team is going to take him, and two, they would be doing us all a favor if they did. At least PJ Walters is young and still has some upside; Wellemeyer is just busted. 

-- In the end, I can't really complain about how the series turned out. If you had told me the Cardinals were going to take three of four from the team most people see as the class of the NL, I certainly would have taken it. And it was an outstanding series, for the most part. Unfortunately, the Cards had the sweep right there in front of them, and pissed it away with poor managing and poor execution by the bullpen. Three of four is outstanding, but it doesn't change the fact the Cubs are sitting in first place this morning, when the Cardinals could easily have won the game last night. 

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