Elizabeth and I went to see Cardinal ace pitcher, Rick Ankiel, pitch in Oklahoma City on Tuesday, May 15th. Needless to say, by reading the story below, you'll see how badly he did. Elizabeth was devastated as were Cardinal fans all over the country.
There is no instant remedy for what ails Rick Ankiel.
For even the most wishful thinkers, that became obvious on Tuesday night when Ankiel fired eight pitches to the backstop in his first Triple A start since he was optioned to the Cardinals' Pacific Coast League affiliate, the Memphis Redbirds, last Friday.
Pitching in Oklahoma City against the Oklahoma RedHawks, the 21-year-old lefthander threw just 28 of 67 pitches for strikes. He threw four wild pitches and walked six batters in three innings, giving up three runs and two hits.
At the major league level this season, Ankiel was 1-2 with a 7.13 ERA. He walked 25 batters in 24 innings.
Ankiel was removed from the game after firing his first two fourth-inning offerings to the screen and walking the first two batters on nine pitches.
"Some of them felt good," Ankiel told the Associated Press. "A lot of times I get really quick, and when I throw one away you can totally see it in my mechanics. It's something we need to work on and something hopefully that's going to get better."
As he entered the game, Ankiel received a warm applause from the Oklahoma City fans, according to RedHawks director of baseball operations John Allgood.
Soon after, though, Ankiel was in the midst of walking the game's first batter on four pitches, two of which sailed out of the reach of catcher Keith McDonald and another of which skipped passed him in the dirt.
Ankiel struck out the next batter on three pitches, two of them curve balls. Ankiel has relied on his curve ball to throw strikes all season.
The 7,052 fans who attended the game at Southwestern Bell Bricktown Ballpark nearly doubled the normal weekday crowds in Oklahoma City.
"I am looking forward to getting on the mound again in another five days," Ankiel told Allgood.
"I like this team...full of great guys...probably guys I will be long life friends with. I feel comfortable with the staff here. I just plan on getting things right...as soon as possible. (while down in Triple-A)."