Losing on a walk-off hit is demoralizing. Players can go through the full range of emotions in an instant. One second, a win is within reach. The next, you’re leaving the field full of disappointment.
The St. Louis Cardinals have experienced quite a bit of that lately. Over the past seven games, the Cardinals have lost on a walk-off hit three times. While every walk-off loss hurts immensely, Thursday’s loss to the New York Mets was especially crushing.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, both teams were tied 2-2. Jose Reyes, who is hitting .231/.294/.394, stepped in with men on first and third. A hit would win the game.
On the first pitch from Trevor Rosenthal, Reyes hit a ground ball to first baseman Matt Carpenter. Carpenter was playing deep, and had to range to his left to reach the ball. He fielded it cleanly, cocked his arm to throw to first and … did nothing.
Rosenthal failed to cover the bag after Reyes made contact. Since he wasn’t over near first, Carpenter had to try and beat Reyes to the base. He couldn’t get there in time. Reyes slid into first and the run scored from third. The Cardinals lost 3-2.
Carpenter was not happy about the play after the game.
Carpenter, on Rosenthal’s lapse: “That just can’t happen. You can make errors. You can strike out. But you can’t do that. He knows that.”
— Jenifer Langosch (@LangoschMLB) July 20, 2017
While it’s not a shock that a player would be frustrated after a loss like this, it’s somewhat surprising Carpenter called out Rosenthal for the error. Had Rosenthal immediately run over to first, the Cardinals would have made it out of the inning. The game could have gone to extras, and St. Louis would have had an opportunity to pick up a win.
At 46-49, it’s been quite a disappointing year for the Cardinals. Thursday’s loss might explain why that’s the case. If you can’t execute the basic fundamentals of the game, you probably aren’t a great club.
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