The Giants went are now one game away from the World Series after dumping the Cards, 4-3. Much will be said of LaRussa's decision to intentionally walk Barry Bonds in the eighth instead of bringing in a left-hander to face him. The walk brought Benito Santiago to the plate. Santiago's subsequent home run was the difference in the game. I cannot blame LaRussa here because no matter who is pitching, Bonds will draw the walk.
LaRussa's poor decision making runs deeper than that. His decision to bring 12 pitchers (plus the injured Scott Rolen) coupled with his reluctance to actually use them has plagued the Cardinals throughout.
Case in point, Andy Benes popped up attempting to bunt in the fourth, killing a rally. He grounded into a force in the sixth to end that inning as well. I'm not saying that you necessarily replace him the first or even the second time, but LaRussa's limited bench made the decision for him.
When right-hander Rick White did relieve Benes, he retired one man and then gave up a double to left-handed J.T. Snow. If you have 12 men on your staff, why don't you bring in a left-hander to face Snow?
While many will criticize LaRussa for not bringing a lefty to face Bonds, I blame him for not bringing in a fresh right-hander to face Santiago the second time. White had already been in for 2-1/3.
Finally, LaRussa's continual overuse of the bunt helped stymie the offense. Four were attempted tonight, 2 of which were "successful". Neither of those successes resultant in a run, however. Each was with no outs, and one was a sacrifice to third by the pitcher in the second.