If anyone watched the Cardinals postgame last night, the Cardinals were trying to have people text in for a nickname for Daniel Descalso. I’m going with Demolition Dan. It’s not great, but it serves him well on a game well played. Yesterday I wrote an article detailing what I thought would be the Cardinals best action to take for the injured David Freese. I still think Allen Craig or Matt Carpenter should be the answer. Even with Descalso getting the big hit last night, I still feel Craig or Carpenter should be getting the most AB’s at 3rd. It was encouraging to see Tony LaRussa go with Craig at 3rd base to start the game. I would rather he flipped Colby Rasmus and Craig in the order, but I just want to see power potential at third base.
Descalso ripped a 3-run HR in the bottom of the 7th off of Clay Hensley with 2 out to give the Cardinals the 2 run lead, 7-5, that the bullpen held onto for the win. He deserves some credit here for the perfect time to hit his first big league HR. Descalso has also been solid with glove, both at 2nd and 3rd base. There were a couple of hard hit balls that I don’t think Skip Schumaker would have gotten to on this night. Descalso is now hitting .237 with an OBP of .288 with 1 HR and 9 RBI’s in 59 AB’s.
I don’t think Descalso is the long term answer at 3B until Freese returns, but I do see a spot for Descalso on the team long term. That spot is at second base. In 2010 at AAA Memphis, Descalso hit 9 HR’s, had 71 RBI’s, batted .282 with a .350 OBP. The most impressive thing was that he had 47 walks to 48 strikeouts. So I do think Descalso might be a better option at 2B in the future than Skip Schumaker. Offensively they are pretty similar, but defensively Descalso is the better player. I’m not just judging it by a small sample size. Descalso is very fluid out there, and clearly has better range than Skippy. Descalso has been at second base for the majority of his career, and it appears he can take a weak spot for the Cards defense and turn it into a strength. Hopefully the Cards can go back to making Skip the 4th or 5th outfielder, and in the near future the Cards and LaRussa can close the book on the Skip experiment at second base.
Aside from the heroics of Desclaso, Eduardo Sanchez notched his second save in as many tries. On the final batter he faced, he did something Ryan Franklin cannot do, fooling a hitter with good stuff and movement and recording a strikeout.
It was great to see the Cards win a game when so many things went wrong. Kyle McClellan had a shaky outing, and the Cardinals left the bases loaded four times. Albert Pujols continues to disappoint at the plate, going 0 for 5 and hitting into another DP. Pujols looks a little lost up there, and there’s no way to sugarcoat it. I think most of us feel, including me, that he will come around like usual, but he looks as off balance as I’ve ever seen him for an extended period of time. If his struggles continue for another month, then I think we can start to worry.
I am a little confused about the decision that Tony LaRussa made when he used Jon Jay to pitch hit with the bases loaded instead of Mark Hamilton. Right now, Hamilton really isn’t more than a pinch hitter. If Lance Berkman is going to be pulled late in the game, Jay seems to be the only real solid option. That move did two things. It removed Jay from the possibility of subbing for Berkman in the final innings, and it left the player on the bench with the most power potential, only to be used later with 2 outs and no one on base. If the Cardinals don’t win the game, I think the move is looked at a little differently. Tyler Greene did not look comfortable at all in RF on the ball he took a bad route to and caught way off to the side.
Getting back to Descalso, it was great to see an unexpected player get such a big hit. It’s very encouraging to see the Cardinals score runs late in the game this year. Maybe Dan can be the everyday third baseman until Freese returns, but I’d still like to see Allen Craig get most of the AB’s there.