Walton's Game Observations – Tuesday

Jason Marquis suffered through his worst outing as a Cardinal as he and his mates lost to the Cincinnati Reds 11-4 Tuesday night. Reds backup catcher Javier Valentin tied his career high with four RBI.

The St. Louis Cardinals were defeated by the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park by the score of 11-4 Tuesday night. The Cards' win streak ended at four games. Their overall record is 45-25 and their road record is 24-13.

Jason Marquis took on Brandon Claussen. Although it looked like Claussen would take the early shower, it was Marquis who pitched terribly. He lasted just 2-1/3 innings. Six of the ten runs allowed were earned. Marquis gave up his 11th and 12th home runs this season while his 2005 ERA grew a half run from 3.59 to 4.10. It was his worst outing as a Cardinal.

The offense did damage early, but seemed to lose their heart as Reggie Sanders' dropped catch allowed the Reds to increase a three-run lead to six runs. After that, the Cards didn't score again in the final six innings. The few offensive highlights were at the bottom of the order as So Taguchi went 3-for-4 and Yadier Molina was 2-for-2.

Inconsiderate Reds fire manager
Dave Miley was dismissed as the skipper of the Cincinnati Reds Tuesday. The timing was terrible. Couldn't the Reds ownership have waited until the Cardinals completed their sweep? And why saddle their poor shiny new interim manager, former bench coach Jerry Narron with two more losses right off the bat? It just isn't fair… (This sounded a lot better when I wrote it before the game.)

Which hitter do you want?
After the first at-bat Tuesday, Player A is 32-for-123 (.260) with a slugging percentage of .358 and on-base-plus-slugging percentage of .613. He has two home runs and 14 RBI. Player B has exactly half that, with one homer and seven RBI. However, he has 70% fewer at-bats - just 36. He is hitting .361 with an SLG of .571 and an OBP of .950. Player A is So Taguchi, and Player B is Jason Marquis. I am not saying that Marquis could replace So. Instead, I am pointing out that So is not and will not put up the numbers to justify being a starter in the bigs. For the record, Marquis hit .292 last season, while So hit .291.

Hungo the stat man
Discussing the All-Star Game balloting, Al Hrabosky noted that Derrek Lee "is a notorious second half player", pointing out that if he keeps his first-half numbers up, he'll end up with a great season. Uh, Al, did you notice that Lee hit .249 in the second half last season? As a point of reference, Albert hit .361 and out homered and out RBI'ed Lee after the 2004 break. Over his career, Lee's second half power numbers are a fair bit less than his first half results. Other than that, he's "notorious", I guess.

Japanese lesson
Japanese native White Sox second baseman Tadahito Iguchi has started off well in the US this season, his first playing here. Just wondering if a shortened version of his name could be "Ta-guchi"? ;-)

K-Rob receives release
Former Cards outfielder Kerry Robinson received his release by the San Diego Padres. He had been playing in Triple-A and had a clause in his contract that allowed him to be released if he wasn't in the majors. Sadly, he doesn't appear to realize he won't be on anyone's major league roster anytime soon.

DeJean cut
The Mets released former Cardinals reliever Mike DeJean. After breaking his leg last season, DeJean had a 6.31 ERA in 25-2/3 innings pitched for the Mets this season.

Want one of those powder blues?
Gameworn jerseys from Throwback night will go on sale starting Wednesday here: Devil Rays auctions

Tuesday's lineup – Another new position for Seabol
Eckstein, Grudzielanek, Pujols, Sanders, Rolen, Seabol (rf), Taguchi (cf), Molina and Marquis. Scott Rolen returned from a day off and will also get Wednesday off. Jim Edmonds remained out with his rib injury. Larry Walker's sore neck kept him out for a second day. Hungo called it a herniated vertebrae; a reoccurrence of a problem that occurred first during spring training. Mark Grudzielanek came back from a day off. Scott Seabol made his first-ever start in right field.

On to the game…

Reds first – Lead taken
Rich Aurilia slammed a ball to left with one out. Sanders leapt, but missed the ball. So, who had come over from center, was too close as the ball caromed off the wall and away from them both. Aurilia ended up at third with a triple. Sanders was shaken up, but remained in the game. Casey shot a ball off Marquis to score the run. Ken Griffey shot a ball to the wall in center that So hauled in for the third out. Reds 1-0.

Cards second – Lead changed
Scotts Rolen and Seabol drew one-out walks. So shot a ball off the pitcher's leg to score one and put runners on the corners. Molina's sac fly was deep enough to score Seabol as the ball got away. So took second as a result. Marquis plunked a single into short center that scored So. Cards 3-1.

Reds second – Unlucky 11's
Leading off, Joe Randa homered. It was the 11th home run for Randa and the 11th given up by Marquis this season. Dunn walked and Pena rocketed a ball past Rolen into the corner for a double. Catcher Javier Valentin hit a three-run homer inside the right field foul pole. Four runs in and no outs. Claussen collected his first hit of the season into right. With the top of the order coming up, Duncan came out to offer some wisdom. A double play and the third out quickly ensued.. Reds 5-3.

Cards third – Albert gets one back
With one out, Albert doubled into the left field corner. He stole third easily. On a fly to left by Sanders, Pujols came home, kicking the ball out of Valentin's glove to score. Reds 5-4.

Reds third – Roof caves in on Marquis
Casey and Griffey singled and moved up on a ground out. Dunn walked to load the bases. Then, Grudz made a fielding error on Wily Mo Pena's grounder to score one. The frigging #8 hitter, the catcher Valentin walked to force a second run home. Marquis was pulled for Brad Thompson. He fanned Claussen. Sanders made a diving catch on Lopez' line drive to left for what would have been the third out, but he dropped the ball as he hit the turf. All three runs scored. It was a tough chance, but it had to be made. This game most likely was lost on that play. Reds 10-4.

Cards fourth – A threat
Taguchi and Molina singled with one out. Thompson moved them up via a sacrifice, but Eck couldn't get them in.

Cards sixth – Same two stranded again
So and Molina singled with two out. That ended Thompson's night as Einar Diaz pinch hit. Thompson pitched 2-2/3 shutout innings. His only hit allowed was the ball that Sanders dropped. So stole third. But, he and Yadier were stranded.

Reds sixth – Flores flails
Randy Flores took over as Al and Dan bragged about his effectiveness. Yeah, right. Flores allowed a lead-off single to pinch-hitter Kenny Kelly. He then walked Lopez on four pitches. Aurilia's single scored Kelly. To his credit, Flores collected the next three outs with no more damage. Reds 11-4.

Cards seventh – No continuity
Grudz singled with one out, but was stranded.

Reds seventh – Valentin's day
With two outs, Cal Eldred walked the darned #8 man, Valentin. Can't anyone get this hitting machine out?

Cards eighth – Two more wasted
Seabol doubled to right with one out. Abraham Nunez singled to put runners at the corners. But, Einar Diaz couldn't reach.

Reds eighth – Cal dodges trouble in garbage time
Aurilia and Casey singled off Eldred with one out to put runners at the corners. But, he induced a double play to escape.

Upcoming action (times CDT)
Wednesday @ Reds: Mark Mulder vs. Ramon Ortiz 11:35 am WB11
Thursday vs. Pirates: Matt Morris vs. David Williams 7:10 pm FSNM
Friday vs. Pirates: Jeff Suppan vs. Kip Wells 7:10 pm FSNM
Saturday vs. Pirates: Chris Carpenter vs. Mark Redman 6:15 pm WB11
Sunday vs. Pirates: Jason Marquis vs. Oliver Perez 1:15 pm WB11

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

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