The St. Louis Cardinals dropped their second game in a row to start the season Saturday, losing 11-3 to the San Diego Padres after a big inning magnified by some tough infield hits and an unspeakable intentional walk ahead of Ryan Ludwick sank Jake Westbrook. Clayton Westbrook picked up the win after a shaky start by the Padres; Albert Pujols homered in the loss.
I understand the appeal of the intentional walk. This is another Baseball Mogul realization; for some reason playing as a fake manager has made me behave remarkably like a real one, feeling beholden to my pretend players’ roles, thinking, “it really would be nice to sacrifice bunt out of this double play”, and, most pressingly today, “it really would be nice to intentionally walk a guy into this double play.” So I understand the Cardinals’ desire to get the double play in motion, but to do it while Jake Westbrook is having clear strike-throwing problems only magnifies the truth of the matter, which is that an intentional walk is almost never a good idea.
That they did it again later in the game seemed almost vindictive.
Allen Craig drove in two for the Cardinals in his first game in relief of Matt Holliday, who underwent an emergency appendectomy on Friday. Craig is the hitting half of a backup-outfield-platoon that also includes left-handed center fielder Jon Jay.