Ok, so it wasn’t that bad a showing from the 2012 NL Central Champions. Bronson Arroyo was decidedly un-brilliant, giving up three runs in five innings, starting with a solo home-run by the Cardinals pitcher Jaime Garcia, the second of his career. But BA really wasn’t all that bad, especially considering the peripherals. 6 hits, 1 walk, and 6 strikeouts isn’t great, but the game remained close into the ninth inning.
Alfredo Simon in the sixth and seventh innings was worse, allowing another run. He just pitched poorly, allowing 3 hits and walking 2 – I’m really not looking forward to seeing him anytime in the playoffs. Of course, I know that he really hasn’t been that bad this season, especially when you compare his numbers with, say, Jose Arredondo. I guess it’s good that we’re using this time to get some of our other bullpen options some more rest. J.J. Hoover had an easy, uneventful inning in the 8th. I know Hoover has control problems of his own, and doesn’t have Arredondo’s experience, but I’d still almost have Hoover on the playoff roster.
Offensively, two runs scored is obviously slightly pathetic, but it wasn’t so terrible as it sounds. The worst performances were turned in by Joey Votto, who no one should be worried about, and Ryan Ludwick, who is probably still a little rusty. And hey, Drew Stubbs actually got 2 hits! Assuming a three game hot streak doesn’t convince the management to bat him second again in the post-season (maybe a bad assumption to make), we can all be happy about that, right? Probably my least favorite part of the night was Jay Bruce getting caught stealing. I mean, sure, the numbers say it’s only the third time he’s been caught stealing this season, but my gut says that he’s been a horrible baserunner. Also saying that, baseball reference’s tracking of outs made on the basepaths – where Bruce leads the team with 9. (But that’s not much worse than Votto’s 8, or Rolen’s 7.)
Mostly, it’s hard to care too much at this point. Yes, we all hate the Cardinals with the fire of one billion suns, but we’re also the division winners easily, while the Cards, at best, get to try their luck in the wild card. Right now, the Dodgers are leading by one run, and a win will keep their wild card chances alive, but the Cardinals’ magic number is down to one. Would I like the Dodgers to win their next two, while the Reds take the final two games to eliminate St. Louis? A little. Ok, maybe a lot. But the Reds have nothing to play for, and the Cards have everything. We’re probably just as well off trying to wear down the pitching, to try and add a little stress their playoff schedule.