I confess, I am a bad baseball fan. When Felipe Lopez grounded into that double play to end the ninth inning, I just assumed the game was over. I didn’t expect the bullpen to be able to throw another shutout inning, let alone seven of them. I left to go out to dinner, expecting that Motte would come in throwing fastball after fastball and give up a merciful home run.
And now I kind of wish he did, because the game was still on when I came home two hours later. I hurried through the box score and the play by play, discovering strange move after strange move by Tony La Russa, baserunning gaffes, and the beginning of a scoreless inning by Felipe Lopez.
There’s really too much to write about and I’m sure that other places will cover it far more in depth. Better fans, fans who didn’t have plans that evening, can tell the story with far more detail and insight than me.
I will say this, though. La Russa made some mistakes and he’s getting toasted for it by the fans. However, no manager plans for a 20 inning game.
I go back and forth on whether I like La Russa. He makes some infuriating decisions, but so does pretty much every manager in baseball. Whenever he fouls up, I remember he’s not serial career destroyer Dusty Baker. He’s not Joe Girardi, who would have found a way to keep Adam Wainwright in the bullpen after 2006. He’s not Trey Hillman, who will undoubtedly use Yuniensky Betancourt’s strong first week to keep him in the lineup all season.
La Russa has been with the Cardinals for so long, he’s the devil I know. He’s going to make too many bullpen moves. He tries a different lineup every day. He keeps his backup catcher in an undisclosed location just in case Yadier Molina’s plane goes down. He thinks that a “surprise hit and run” is a good idea and not what got Josh Hancock killed. And he fucked up last night.
I’d still rather have him than risk who he could be replaced with.