If you haven’t heard about the bullpen blunder for the Cardinals during game five, welcome back to the world of media. Television reporters have been discussing it, interviewers have posted the question, and MLB Radio contemplated at length; why did Tony Larussa manage his bullpen in that fashion in game five?
Apparently, a disconnect occurred between LaRussa and the bullpen coach. The wrong pitchers were warmed up, or the wrong pitcher was sent in, or the wrong decisions were made… whatever the case, the game turned out wrong for the Cardinals.
Instead of warming both a lefty and a righty, the Cardinals had lefty Marc Rzypczynski as the sole reliever warming in the bullpen. When the bullpen started to figure it out, they got Lance Lynn warm instead of the intended Jason Motte. When it was all said and done, the Cardinals trailed by 2 runs into their last at bat.
Losses are always hard to stomach, and it doesn’t get any easier knowing that the bullpen was mishandled – or mistranslated. Whatever the reasons for it, game five goes down as a loss and the Cardinals head back home on the verge of elimination.
With that said, execution is what caused the loss. It was relief pitcher Marc Rzypczynski on the mound; it’s not as though the Cardinals had Joseph Q. Idiot fresh up from Rookie ball. It was a situation Rzepczynski had been in before, and Napoli was an out he was supposed to get.
But it wasn’t to be for the Red Birds. Mike Napoli hit a two RBI double manufacturing what turned out to be the Rangers winning two runs. Blame the manager, blame a bad pitch, or blame ball off Rzepczynski’s’s leg the batter before that might have gone for a double play.
In this case, people choose to blame LaRussa. Perhaps they blame the bullpen phone, or perhaps even Verizon for crummy service. Nobody blames Rzepczynski for the pitch, or the strike-em-out-throw-em-out double play in the ninth inning. Nobody blames the lack of offense from the Cardinals or failing to capitalize on opportunities.
The Cardinals had plenty of chances to score but they didn’t. The Rangers had plenty of chances to drive home more runs but they didn’t either. It came down to two runs, and despite Alber Pujols being the potential tying run in the ninth inning the Cardinals still came up short.
Rather than looking for excuses or looking for blame, people should just look forward to the next game. Even with the comedy of errors that occurred with telecommunication devices, Mike Napoli is a career .264 hitter who could have well been retired. It doesn’t matter who is on the mound, a sacrifice fly still scores the would-be winning run, and the Cardinals return home down a game.
Focus on game six. Maybe make up some hand signals to accompany the telephone call. Heck, go with Facetime or Skype and draw out on a piece of cardboard who the next pitcher should be.
Just be sure that pitcher can execute, and the offense can drive in runs. At the end of the day, that’s all that baseball comes down to