Maya done in fifth, Cardinals pulling away from Nationals

Before we get any further, one caveat: Not all the events of the fifth inning were Yunesky Maya’s fault. After he’d given up a single to Ryan Theriot, a ground rule double to Colby Rasmus and intentionally walked Albert Pujols, he got what should have been an easy double play ball off Lance Berkman. But Danny Espinosa was late getting to second, and by the time he got a feed from Ian Desmond, he couldn’t get Berkman at third.

That’s it, though. The rest of the inning was either Maya getting himself into trouble, or getting himself back into trouble after the Nationals missed a chance to get him out of it. He’s done for the night now, having allowed nine hits and six runs in 4 2/3 innings. He’s still only got one quality start in the majors, and has made it through the sixth inning just twice.

It’s likely Tom Gorzelanny will replace him in the rotation this weekend, and it’s still tough to see where he has the potential to grow into a consistent major league starter. His pitch to Rasmus on the double was another belt-high offering, and he threw a similarly flat fastball to Yadier Molina on a RBI single. He’s had little movement on his pitches all night, and he still doesn’t have anything resembling a consistent out pitch. He’s signed for two more seasons after this one, but so far, he doesn’t look like much of an investment.

The Cardinals lead the Nationals 6-1 after five innings.