Let’s just ignore for a moment, the ease with which Ron Washington neutralized Albert Pujols’ bat during last night’s 4-2, Game 5 Texas victory. Tony La Russa’s (mis)handling of the Cardinals pen during the home 8th inning has made the St. Louis manager an object of national ridicule to the degree you’d think he’d picked up another DUI (with Eddie Money on the car stereo) rather than…uh, used the wrong reliever twice in the same inning. Here’s some choice reactions. “In one night, the Tony La Russa Cardinals became the baseball version of the Nixon White House,” sneered Fox’s Ken Rosenthal. “And you thought the fog of war never came to the World Series,” kids the Washington Post’s Tom Boswell, while Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci concludes, “La Russa no doubt will try to explain what happened again Tuesday on the off day, but this is like trying to untangle a huge box of many strands of Christmas lights you simply chucked away last December. It’s not going to be pretty.” But we can leave a few of the best lines to someone all too familiar with Tony’s patented attention to detail, the Post-Dispatch’s Bernie Miklasz ;

Even if crowd noise was a factor, how does anyone get ‘Rzepczynski’ confused with ‘Motte’ or ‘Lynn’ mixed up with ‘Motte.’ Do any of those names sound alike to you? Here’s an idea: Whitey Herzog does those hearing-aid commercials; please have him send a few units to the Cardinals bullpen.

Hey, maybe they should install one of those automated-voice systems on the bullpen phone.
“For Marc Rzepczynski, Press 1.”
“For Jason Motte, Press 2.”
“For Octavio Dotel, Press 3.”
“For Arthur Rhodes, Press 4.”

I don’t know why Ron Washington is smart enough to pitch around Pujols, but La Russa continues to allow Napoli to beat the Cardinals in important situations. Napoli has nine RBIs in this World Series and is slugging .846. Is there a reason why it makes sense to challenge him?