Brendan Ryan? Over Ryan Ludwick? Really?

Categories: Cardinals
So I'll go ahead and ask it. The question that has to be on the mind of every single Cardinal fan in the city this morning, after last night's loss to Arizona.

Brendan Ryan? Over Ryan Ludwick? Really? 

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Brendan Ryan with the Springfield Redbirds.
I was watching the game last night, listening to Dan and Al try to justify the move, saying that Tony was probably saving Ludwick for later, for that one big swing situation, and I was just yelling at my television. Now, I won't print most of the things that I was yelling; while I don't consider this a family blog, by an means, I also don't necessarily know that I should be putting that level of filth out into the world. Just seems like bad karma, you know? But I will give you the gist of what I was yelling, at Al, at Dan, and most of all, at Tony. 

What could you possibly be saving Ryan Ludwick for?

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Ryan Ludwick in 2008.
So a game that was tied up, with the bases loaded and one out, in the top of the ninth inning, just isn't a big enough situation to use your team's second best hitter? Is that what I was supposed to take away from this? Instead, we got Brendan Ryan, who I'm sure is a wonderful human being, but just flat-out isn't a very good ballplayer. At what point does this guy become the best possible choice to pinch hit with the game on the line? And I don't want to hear Tony's explanation that he was somehow a better match-up. Bullshit.

You have a guy who received MVP votes last season on the bench, who as far as we know, is completely healthy, and instead you send up a guy who wouldn't be on the roster if it weren't for the fact that the manager is obsessed with having as many no-hit backup middle infielders on the roster as possible? That's quality managing right there. It was the 2007 All-Star game all over again, with Pujols sitting on the bench, apparently to take that all-important hypothetical extra inning at-bat that never came. 

You know what? I can handle losing. I can handle it when players don't get the job done. For instance, even though Swingin' Dick Ankiel did his standard I'll-flail-weakly-at-any-slop-you-throw-up-here-no-matter-how-bad-it-is-in-the-late-innings routine and looked like the slow kid from elementary school striking out in the ninth last night, I'm okay with that. Yes, it pissed me off at the time, and honestly, it's still pissing me off a little bit right now, that somehow this guy can't seem to tell the difference between a strike and a change-up in the dirt after about the sixth inning, but I'm still okay with it.

Ankiel is one of the team's big guns, and he just didn't get the job done. Alright. Same way with Josh Kinney. Yeah, he fucked up, with the walk and the hit batsman. And then he grooved a meatball to a power hitter in Mark Reynolds, who did what power hitters do. Nonetheless, Josh Kinney is a good pitcher who just couldn't get the job done. Losing sucks, but when you go down with your best players, hey, at least you took your shot. 

So yeah, I'm alright with the game not going your way when you put your players in a position to succeed, and it just doesn't work. But when you put the game in the hands of the two most marginal players on your entire roster (and two of the more marginal players you're going to find anywhere in baseball, to call a spade a spade), I have a problem with that. 

So yeah, it sure does suck that Carpenter went down. The Cardinals really could have used the win last night, to try and get some of that lost momentum back. Instead, when the game was on the line, two players who barely even belong on the team were the guys taking their shots, with all the good arms burnt, and the big bat just sitting there, waiting for a chance that never came.

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