Cardinals 12, BREWERS 3: Pujols Burns Marcum | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

Albert Pujols has had talent surrounding him in St. Louis, but really, there’s a reason why his teams win so often, and he displayed that at Miller Park tonight. Pujols put together a historic performance, going 4-for-5 with three doubles and a homer, effectively accounting for seven (three runs scored, five RBI, one of which was himself) of the Cardinals 12 runs. From the Milwaukee perspective, enough said.

That put the Brewers in a bad enough spot; it didn’t help that Shaun Marcum was off his game again. Perhaps one could argue that, on this night, Pujols would have rocked even Bob Gibson circa 1968. But Marcum remains a different pitcher over the past month than the one who laid claim to “staff ace” status in April and May. Thanks to a 4 IP, 5 ER performance, Marcum has now allowed 30 runs in 33 innings on 46 hits and a 19-to-12 strikeout-to-walk ratio. As Marcum pitched his 210th inning of the year, it simply seemed more and more like his arm is dead.

Marcum tried to rely on his fastball (21/72 four-seamers, 31/72 two-seamers), didn’t throw the changeup much (11/72), couldn’t throw the changeup for strikes (3/11), and didn’t have enough of a difference between the fastball and changeup (average MPH of 86.9 and 81.5 respectively). That kind of difference works for Felix Hernandez, but he throws his fastball in the mid-90s and his changeup around 89. When the ability to change speeds goes for Marcum, the ball leaves off the bat of Albert Pujols (or Jon Jay, or Yadier Molina).

The Brewers have lost the home field advantage, as will be the cry around Wisconsin sports talk radio. But the Brewers have won at least one game in every series at St. Louis this season, and one win in St. Louis swings the home field advantage back to the Brewers. Game Three in St. Louis has the potential to be the game of the playoffs, as two staff aces coming off an excellent series (Yovani Gallardo, 14 IP, 3 ER) and the best and start of the postseason so far (Chris Carpenter’s Game Five shutout in Philadelhpia) square off at Busch Stadium.

MLB has been telling legends are born in October for the last month or so. If you want a due date, it is October 12th.

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Tell us what do you think.

  1. Cnute says: October 11, 2011

    I wish RR had started anyone but Marcum & saved him for game 3 in St. Louis, where he’d be much more comfortable than at home, where he has been awful.

  2. Mike D. says: October 11, 2011

    Agreed, Cnute. I even think that starting Gallardo (do you know, Jack, if he had not had his rest?) would not have been overcautious, that’s how big Game 2 is when the Brewers’ homefield advantage is so sharp. If we’re 2-0 going into St. Louis, a win there means we don’t even have to stay unbeaten at home to win; now we have to win one there just to be in a position where we still have to win both remaining Miller Park game (obviously if we take two in St. Louis, then homefield was never really such a huge deal in any case). The difference between heading back home just needing one of two and heading home having to have both can’t be overstated. Not going nearly all-out to win Game 2 is the difference between pressing your advantage, which is always the key to victory, and just relying on it, which always gets you beat.

  3. mary says: October 11, 2011, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel site, did a poll on whether Marcum should be allowed to pitch if the series goes home. Out of around 500 people responded to the poll. Approximately 3/4 said “no”, the remainder,” yes” votes were Cardinal fans.

  4. Jordan says: October 11, 2011

    It’s time to shelf Marcum, maybe let him come out of the bullpen for the remainder of the season. He’s no longer a viable option in the rotation and has become a liability the last 1/3 of the season. Give Narveson a shot. He’s rested and fully healed at this point, and has proven that he has good stuff.

  5. Alex B says: October 11, 2011

    Mike D, Gallardo pitched on Friday 10/7, 4 days is “normal” rest in pitching today and would put his next start on Wednesday 10/12 (game 3). Pitching Gallardo for game 2 would mean he would have 2 days rest instead of the normal 4. I think that anything more than an inning or two of relief (which Grienke was prepared for on Friday) would be inviting disaster not just in game 2, but for the next game Gallardo would pitch as well. RR had a choice between Marcum, Wolf, and Narveson (and I guess we could through Estrada as a choice as well). Marcum has pitched better on the road than at home, but Wolf had just gotten shelled on Wednesday (7 ER 3.0 IP). Marcum didn’t fare much better Tuesday (7 ER 4.2 IP) and that was on the road. Personally I would have rather have seen Wolf (based on Marcum’s home performance) but Gallardo wasn’t going to pitch before game 3.

  6. Kris says: October 11, 2011

    Not a bad idea Jordan. Narveson still has plenty gas left in the tank and Marcum, well, doesn’t. Will Roenicke actually consider it is the question. I’m sure Marcum will probably try and convince them that he’s fine but those numbers (pitch velocity and not being able to locate pitches) indicate fatigue to me and obviously Jack.

  7. Philboyd says: October 11, 2011

    I’m not that impressed with Narveson’s pitching thus far in the playoffs, he’s already given up a couple of home runs in just a few innings. Although Estrada got touched up a little last night, I think he’s the better alternate starter if we’re looking for someone outside the 4 man rotation. And anyone who throws a pitch to Pujols that is above his knees again (as they did 4 of 5 times last night) should be pulled immediately.

  8. Alex B says: October 11, 2011

    Pitchers IP H R ER BB SO HR PC-ST ERA
    NLDS Game 3
    M Estrada 1.0 1 0 0 0 2 0 16-9 0.00
    C Narveson 1.0 0 0 0 0 3 0 13-11 0.00
    NLDS Game 4
    M Estrada 2.0 2 0 0 0 3 0 28-20 0.00
    C Narveson 1.1 2 3 3 1 2 2 31-17 11.57
    NLCS Game 2
    M Estrada 2.0 3 2 2 0 3 0 37-25 9.00
    C Narveson 2.0 1 1 1 0 3 1 27-19 4.50

    2011 Postseason
    M Estrada 5.0 6 2 2 0 8 0 81-54 3.60
    C Narveson 4.1 3 4 4 1 8 3 71-49 8.31

    Based on how Estrada and Narveson have pitched in their appearances this postseason, I would rather see Estrada Game 6 than Marcum or Narveson.

  9. Mike D. says: October 13, 2011

    2 days is clearly not enough rest. I wasn’t sure if he’d pitched in Game 5 or not. But they needed to find a way to go all in for Game 2 some way or other. I don’t know what that might have meant, but it can’t have meant going with a spent Shaun Marcum and using the home field advantage as the thing that gave them hope that this would work out. As I say, that’s relying entirely on home field advantage, not using it as an actual advantage. Now they’re in a hole. I didn’t have a good feeling about putting such pressure on Gallardo to get a win in the very first game in St. Louis. Even leaving Game 2 aside, I think they should have written Game 3 off as an acclimation game for getting used to playing away in a hostile stadium chock full of fans rooting for the opponent in such a high-pressure, high-visibility, high-stakes atmosphere. This would have meant doing anything but using Gallardo tonight.

    I realize I’m coming off as a big second-guesser, but this was my thought process going back to before Game 2 (I just didn’t carry it forward into my take on Game 3 in the last comment). Not to be a downer or a backseat manager, but I’m not sure what else there is to do when you’ve gone from up 1-0 to down 1-2. Root hard for Randy Wolf to get his location back, I guess.


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