Bullpen fails Cards over weekend

BY foxsports • July 16, 2012

The Cardinals' three-game sweep by the Reds at Cincinnati had some familiar themes.
A former Cardinal beat them. After left fielder Ryan Ludwick hit a 10th-inning homer to win Saturday's game for the Reds, 3-2, third baseman Scott Rolen delivered a two-run, two-out bases-loaded single to win Sunday night for Cincinnati, 4-2.
The bullpen failed. In each of the three losses, the Cardinals' bullpen faltered. After contributing to three runs in the seventh inning on Friday and right-hander Victor Marte tossing Ludwick's homer on Saturday, right-handed Mitchell Boggs allowed Rolen's game-winning single in the eighth on Sunday.
But, besides another familiar theme, Reds lefty Aroldis Chapman fanning eight hitters in three innings over three games, the main memory of the series will be the Cardinals' invisible offense. In three games, the Cardinals scored only seven runs. They didn't have a hit with men in scoring position in eight at-bats on Sunday.
Catcher Yadier Molina had six hits, including two homers and two doubles in the series. The rest of the club had two extra-base hits in the series.
The most notable miss by the Cardinals came in the eighth. With the score tied at 2-2, left fielder Matt Holliday and right fielder Carlos Beltran both singled. But first baseman Lance Berkman was called out on strikes, Molina flied out and third baseman David Freese tapped to the mound.
Right-hander Jake Westbrook (7-8) pitched strongly until the eighth inning but he walked first baseman Joey Votto and then, after a wild pitch, nicked second baseman Brandon Phillips with a pitch, putting two on with one out.
Left-hander Marc Rzepczynski made a kick save on right fielder Jay Bruce's grounder and second baseman Skip Schumaker got the out at first. But, righty Mitchell Boggs walked Ludwick intentionally after falling behind 3-0 and then gave up the winning single to Rolen.
Westbrook, however, took the blame.
"I hadn't walked a guy all night, and I walked (Votto)," Westbrook said. "Then I hit Phillips, which ultimately cost us the game."

1B Lance Berkman made his first start since suffering torn cartilage in his right knee on May 19. He reached on 1B Joey Votto's error in the second inning, then came all the way around to score standing up on C Yadier Molina's double to the gap in left-center. But, after a walk in his second plate appearance, Berkman's night trended downward as he hit into a double play and struck out.
INF Tyler Greene, whose playing time has shrunk at both second base and shortstop, where he almost never plays, is 0-for-12 as a pinch hitter after fanning against Cincinnati LHP Aroldis Chapman on Sunday night. Greene has 49 strikeouts in 161 at-bats. "The unfortunate thing is that you have one shot," said Greene. "The toughest part of it is understanding the big picture -- that you might get one at-bat within several days. As a player, you're so used to getting three or four at-bats in a game to build off." Manager Mike Matheny said, "We all know he can play middle (infield). How that plays into the lineup every day I don't exactly know."
LF Matt Holliday had a double and a single, extending his hitting streak to 14 games at 21-for-54 (.389). Since June 16, he is 41-for-93 (.440).
RF Carlos Beltran, who was 1-for-21 before singling in his final two at-bats on Sunday, will get one day off and maybe two at Milwaukee during the next series. Beltran, a Home Run Derby contestant and starter in the All-Star Game at Kansas City, really hasn't had a break lately.
The Cardinals lost all three games at Cincinnati but struggling LHP Marc Rzepczynski may have had a breakthrough. He retired all four men he faced, including Reds RF Jay Bruce twice.
The Cardinals' record in one-and two-run games.
"There has to be urgency. We're fighting. But it's time to win these ball games." 3B David Freese, after another one-run loss for the Cardinals.

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