Notes from a Desert Downer

What was worse than Stanford's 12-3 Sunday defeat at Arizona? Being in Tucson to watch the implosion in person. Our man in Arizona took in the rubber game between the Card and Cats and offers up some thematic notes on yet another disappointing performance. There was trouble on the mound. There was trouble at the plate...

Starting Your Own Troubles

With two outs in the bottom of the third inning, Matt Manship hit Brad Boyer, initiating a two out rally.  After Colt Sedbrook advanced Boyer to third off a single up the middle, David Plante smoked a line drive to first basemen Brent Milleville, who couldn't come up with the catch, allowing the runner on third to score.  After a brief discussion in the press box, the play was ruled as an error on Milleville, although the call could have gone the other way.  Had Manship avoided to hit Boyer and picked up the out, there would have been no need for the hit/error debate.

Manship would also get behind early in counts.  Bill Rhinehart's solo homerun to lead off the bottom of the third came on a 2-1 count.  With one out in the bottom of the fourth, Manship walked Sedbrook and hit Plante.  Manship fell behind 3-1 to Jason Donald before giving up a full-count ground ball single to score Sedbrook.

More Pitching Woes

Manship left the game trailing 3-2 after 5 1/3 innings of work and with runners on first and second.  David Stringer gave up hits to the two batters he faced before Sean Ratliff ended the inning with two consecutive outs.

Rhinehart started the seventh with a single of Ratliff before he was relieved in favor of Nolan Gallagher. Gallagher got a four-pitch strikeout against the first batter he faced, giving Cardinalmaniacs™ hope that Mark Marquess finally found the reliever that would stop the offensive onslaught.  However, Gallagher would record no outs against the next four batters he faced, letting Arizona move ahead 9-3.  Erik Davis was then brought in from the bullpen but gave up a run on a single and allowed another to score off a sacrifice fly.  Blake Holler was finally able to end the inning with a one-pitch ground out before he gave up a run off a single to pinch hitter Travis Peep in the eighth.

In the last two games, the Stanford pitching staff was torched for 26 runs.  They received little help from the defense in those two games, as the defense committed five errors.

Double Plays and Runners Left On

It's difficult to overcome an early deficit when you keep hitting into double plays and leaving runners on base.  Ryan Seawell led off the game with an opposite field single before John Hester hit into a double play.

Stanford left two on in the second and fourth innings.  Hester hit into his second double play of the day to end the fourth with Jim Rapoport on second and Seawell on first.  The Cardinal left one on in the fifth after driving in their first two runs of the game to make the score 3-2 in favor of Arizona.

The Wildcats responded with three runs of their own in the sixth.  Needing an answer, Austin Yount fouled off a pitch with a 3-2 count before doubling along the left field line.  Seawell was then hit by a pitch.  However, Hester hit into his third and final double play of the evening.  Chris Minaker's single scored Yount before Michael Taylor's strike out ended an inning that started with potential but finished with only one runner crossing home.

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