This has happened to the Cardinals before, albeit on a much bigger stage. St. Louis was down 7-6 in the bottom of the 11th inning, with two outs and pinch-runner Jack Flaherty on second base, when Marlins reliever Sergio Romo whipped around for a game-ending pickoff, to the dismay of the home crowd.
Woof. Last Saturday, the Cardinals lost 8-7 when Flaherty tried to score from first; Mets outfielder Jeff McNeil threw a laser to get him out easily at home and end the game. Using a pitcher as a pinch-runner is not rare, but the team should maybe find someone other than Flaherty, or at least not set him up for misery. The poor guy stewed in his mistake as the play was briefly reviewed, then well after that. The Marlins celebrated, the grounds crew started getting to work, and Flaherty was still out there, the loneliest man in St. Louis. Some say he’s still out there to this day. MLB Network cut in to show the sadness:
If it were any consolation to Flaherty—it probably wasn’t—Cardinals manager Mike Shildt did his best to take the blame for the pickoff. Via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
“I put him in that spot,” Shildt said. “I have to take responsibilities for it. It’s the right move. The reality is he wasn’t prepped well enough and I take responsibility of that. Put him in a spot where he wasn’t able to have success. I’ll take responsibility.”
It’s okay, Mike. There’s plenty of responsibility to be spread around on this team.