There really isn’t much analysis needed of last night’s game 2 12-4 pounding; for me it was clear from the beginning that Jordan Zimmermann was missing his spots. After a clean 1st inning (which included a relatively lucky strike-3 call on leadoff hitter Jon Jay) the potent St. Louis lineup teed off on mistake after mistake from Zimmermann. A scorched line drive to third, then a well struck single up the middle, then a double off the wall, all seemingly within a blink of the eye. Only Jay’s bloop hit to drive in the 2nd inning’s fourth run was not “well struck.”
Zimmermann was missing his spots, plain and simple. Instead of getting a ball on the corner, it was drifting over the plate. Instead of keeping the ball at the knees, it was floating upwards into the hitting zone. St. Louis can hit the ball. They’re in the top 3 in the NL in most standard offensive measures (BA, wRC+, OPS, wOBA). And, as we saw last night, they can power the ball pretty easily against mistakes.
When Craig Stammen relieved Zimmermann and couldn’t stop the bleeding, I stopped watching. Yes our team has shown it can make up leads, but for me a 7-1 lead in the 4th against a playoff team is pretty much the definition of insurmountable. I was rooting to just leave Stammen in the game to save the pen frankly. We did get a chance though to get everyone in the bullpen an inning; kinda like the way you manage little league. So there’s that.
So much for home/away, day/night and days rest split analysis. When your starter can’t execute, you don’t have much chance on the night. Its one of the reasons we play 162 games (these off-nights for good pitchers even themselves out over time), but also one of the reasons the playoffs are such a crap shoot (Aces get blown out and 5th starters pitch lights out in the playoffs all the time).
Lets just hope that scoring 12 runs made the Cardinals really tired (you know, from all the running around the bases they had to do) so they’re at a disadvantage in game 3.