The Cardinals continue to miss Ryan Ludwick's bat. Considering he was the team's best hitter with runners in scoring position, his absence has been noticed. Jon Jay, Brendan Ryan, and Matt Holliday were the only players to get hits. Holliday's double in the 9th inning was the only extra base hit by the Cards. Last night, I was willing to give Astros' starting pitcher J.A. Happ some credit, since he only gave up two hits, and pitched a complete game shut out. So it might be appropriate to give tonight's starting pitcher for the Astros, Wandy Rodriguez, the same credit. But I'm not going to do that, because I don't think those pitchers are that talented, I just think the Cardinals' offense is THAT bad right now.
Overall, Cardinals' starting pitcher Chris Carpenter had a solid outing. In seven innings he gave up 6 hits, and kept the Astros in check for the most part. But in a sloppy 3rd inning, Hunter Pence hit a triple off of Carpenter with two runners on. The triple was somewhat of a blooper, as it landed on top of that ridiculous center-field hill in Minute Maid Park. Instead of the ball rolling back down the hill (or bouncing off the wall, if it was a normal park), the ball stayed put at the top of the hill, until Colby Rasmus was able to retrieve it. The Astros scored 3 runs that inning (3rd), but only two of those runs went down as earned runs for Carpenter.
About a month ago (maybe longer), most Cardinal fans were looking forward to the playoffs, because there was just no way a team this talented wouldn't make it. But now, the upcoming off-season is becoming the main topic of discussion amongst Cardinal fans.
Hopefully, General Manager John Mozeliak feels some pressure to make some solid moves, and increase the payroll. He's going to have to do something, if not for the fans, then for Albert Pujols. If Pujols doesn't sense any urgency to improve the team, then why would he stay in St.Louis?
But the worst thing that can happen this off-season is nothing. If Mozeliak pretends that they have all of the pieces, but they just under-performed, then the Cardinals are in trouble. Another mistake Mozeliak could possibly make is acquiring another worthless player, and pretend it is an answer (Westbrook). But as fans, all we can do is hope that they figure something out. A real third-baseman that actually wants to play baseball, and a middle-infielder who can actually hit (Dan Uggla?) would be a start.