Game #160 vs. St. Louis

PNC Park | 7:05 | Duke vs. Todd Wellemeyer | Box
Oh no. It’s happening. The Cards won and assured the Pirates of the cellar.
The spirit of Steve Blass inhabited John Grabow in the 8th. The result was three walks, a hit batsman and four earned runs. The inning unfolded with the game tied at one as both Todd Wellemeyer and Zach Duke pitched well. But, Grabow walked David Eckstein and he swiped second base. Rick Ankiel delivered a successful sacrifice. Albert Pujols was given the IBB, but Ryan Ludwick was plunked to load the bases. Grabow then walked So Taguchi to force in the go ahead run. That was it for Grabow. One out later, Steve Pearce made a diving attempt at a ball off the bat of Jim Edmonds. Pearce was unable to come up with it and the floodgates officially opened. All three runs scored.
After giving up just one earned run in all of August (13-1/3 IP), Grabow has given up seven earned runs in September in just 7-1/3 innings of work.
Here are some words I never thought I’d write: Thank goodness for Matt Kata. He had two of the Pirates five hits and drove in the only run.
Jack Wilson went 1-3. If he goes 4-9 over the final two games, his BA will round up to .300. Anything better than that and he’s at .300 naturally. I’m assuming if he has a big day and is sitting on .300 after tommorrow that he’d sit out on Sunday.
As a Bucco fan, the big story from this game is the encouraging start from Duke. He went seven innings and gave up 8 hits but walked nobody and struck out four. That’s good. But, it is, of course, a tad late. I have a bad feeling that I’ll be saying this at the same point of next season, but let’s hope that Duke is going to turn a corner next year.
AP recap at Yahoo! Sports
Pirates Official Site
Cardinals Official Site

Pre-game Thoughts
I can’t think of a worse way to end another depressing season than to drop three straight to Tony LaRussa and St. Louis. Hopefully that won’t happen.
Tonight’s starter is Zach Duke who hasn’t won since June. Duke has had an awful year. His ERA has not been under 5.00 since his third start. He is 3-8. He has only struck out 37 hitters in 100-1/3 innings pitched.
He lost his only start to the Cards this year. He is 2-2 vs. St. Louis with a 4.54 ERA for his career. At home in 2007 he is 1-3 with a 5.44 ERA. None of the Cards have a homer off him. But, David Eckstein, Aaron Miles and Albert Pujols have five career hits off him. Miles is 20-42 against the Pirates in 2007, including one of his two homers on the year.
Like a couple of other career relievers, Todd Wellemeyer has been pressed into a starting role for the 2007 Cardinals. He has started 10 times and gone 3-1 with a 3.95 ERA in those outings. His first ML start came in the 120th game of his career. As a starter, skipper Tony LaRussa has been keeping him on a short leash as he has amassed less than 50 innings in those 10 appearances. Wellemeyer was waived by KC in May and picked up by St. Louis.
He has never started against the Pirates but has pitched 12-2/3 innings in relief and compiled a 4.26 ERA. Of the current batch of Buccos, only Ronny Paulino has more than one hit off of Wellemeyer.
Cards in PNC:
Gary Bennett – 9-34
Miguel Cairo – 14-44
David Eckstein – 23-79
Jim Edmonds – 50-158 with 11 HRs
Ryan Ludwick – 3-18
Aaron Miles – 13-45
Albert Pujols – 78-205 with 20 HRs (his favorite road HR stadium)
Skip Schumaker – 1-13
Scott Spiezio – 6-40
Kelly Stinnett – 6-28
So Taguchi – 22-81


2 Responses to “Game #160 vs. St. Louis”

  1. Randy Linville Says:

    Enough already. LaRuss has Wellemeyer hitting 8th and Brendan Ryan batting 9th. If there’s a reason to break with convention, I’m all for it. I’m not convinced that hitting your pitcher 8th is merited. I’m assuming if it was, then somebody wicked smart – like John McGraw – would’ve figured it out.
    Wellemeyer is 3-21 for his career. Ryan, in his first go around in the Show, is hitting .293 in 174 ABs with an OPS+ of 100 on the nose.
    Wellemeyer has given up just one hit thru four.

  2. CalvinPitt Says:

    The reason I’ve always heard for LaRussa batting the pitcher 8th (which he also did after the All-Star Break in ’98) is that by putting a better hitter in the 9 spot, you increase the odds there’s someone on base when your hitters at the top of the lineup (typically your best) come to bat. In theory, those hitters will succeed at driving in runners more than your 6-7-8 guys would in a normal lineup, so it should mean more runs.
    As I recall, it didn’t work that way in ’98. I’m not sure how it’s been going this year, though I have a gut feeling it’s been working, though not by a huge amount.

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