October 16, 2019

A Cardinal Weekend

June 7, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The Cardinals had a good weekend against the Brewers, though it could have been better.  Their slipup last night on ESPN’s game of the week dropped them back into a tie for first.  I go over this series and the Reds series in my weekly column, but let’s take a look at them here as well.

For Friday, what more can you say about Adam Wainwright?  He keeps pushing himself into the conversation for best National League pitcher.  If you look at the last two years, who would really compete with him?  Tim Lincecum has dropped off some this year.  Roy Halladay was in the AL last year.  Ubaldo Jimenez has been amazing this year, not as much last year.  For the two year span, Waino is tops.
I was really glad to see him be able to come out and get that shutout.  He’s talked about it before, wanting to go out in the ninth to get one but be unable to due to pitch counts.  So for him to be able to finally check that off on his career accomplishment list had to be a major high for him.  However, with the way he’s developed as a pitcher, it likely won’t be the last.  That JD Drew trade is just a gift that keeps on giving.
With him rolling like that, he didn’t need much offense, but the Cardinal bats have been awoken and now, for the most part, the offense isn’t the problem.  They were able to put up eight runs in a game started by a lefty, so you know things are starting to come together.
Speaking of coming together, Colby Rasmus is on fire.  Hitting a bomb off of a lefty in this game?  Hitting .500 with three home runs over the two series with the Reds and Brewers?  Those new contacts are obviously helping him out well, especially when you factor in that all the games this weekend were started by a left-handed pitcher and he had little trouble with any of them.
On the down side in Friday’s game, Yadier Molina had another 0-fer game.  While he’s still hitting around .250 and the defense is still there, after the last couple of years I’ve been spoiled into thinking Molina’s more of a .280-.300 hitter, so it’d be good to have him get some hits to fall in.
Saturday’s hero has to be Colby Rasmus, who drove in three runs, including the game-winner.  When Matt Holliday got out there in the 11th, I didn’t give the team much of a chance, since Aaron Miles and Molina were coming up, but both of them came through and set it up for Rasmus to win it.
The Goat, in my book, is pretty darn obvious.  If Dennys Reyes isn’t going to get left-handed batters out, his value to this team drops precipitously.  For the second straight outing, he wasn’t able to get the left-handed hitters that he was brought into the game for out and it hurt the Cards.  I know that the tying run was allowed by Kyle McClellan, who got tagged with a completely-unfair blown save, but it was Reyes’s run.  He can’t be letting the lefties get on and he surely can’t be walking them, as he did with Jim Edmonds.
Being that I was already in a bad mood from seeing Reyes’s futility, when I returned from mowing my yard and saw Miles was in the game for David Freese, I about blew my top.  I was glad that at least there was a reason, though I wasn’t happy to hear that Freese had rolled his ankle.  Doesn’t sound like it’ll be terribly serious, so hopefully he’ll return soon.
More positively in this game, Albert Pujols went yard at home for the first time since early April.  It’s interesting to see that, even if AP isn’t quite having a career year for him, he’s still in Triple Crown contention.  After Sunday, he was third in batting average, a point behind Joey Votto (and do we really expect Martin Prado to finish in the top spot?), tied for first in home runs and tied for first in RBI.  Man, imagine where he’d be if he hadn’t had that two-week span where he was barely hitting.
Last night’s loss was pretty disappointing.  For the second straight time (and, coincidentally or not, in the second straight game where the opposition had seen him before), Jaime Garcia came out with a rough first inning.  Granted, there was an error mixed in there to give him an unearned run, but when the first three guys get a hit, you can’t expect that inning to end well. Kudos to Garcia for batting and keeping the team in the game, though.  After that bump, he only allowed a home run to Rickie Weeks.
Rasmus and Pujols both go yard and get the club within one before a Ryan Ludwick double and a Randy Winn (more on THAT in a bit) sac fly tie it up.  Unfortunately, opportunities never were cashed in and, when you get late into the game or into extra innings, it doesn’t take much to win and Milwaukee did that, getting the sac fly to put the go ahead run on the board.
Matt Holliday has to go down as the Goat in this one, I think.  Jason Motte did have a bad 10th inning and take the loss, but the game should have never been in that situation.  He popped out with Pujols on third in the seventh and grounded into a fielder’s choice with two on in the ninth.  A hit in either situation would have changed the outcome of the game, in all likelihood.
Give the Hero tag to Albert Pujols for his 15th home run plus turning one of his two walks into a triple by stealing second and going to third on the error.  If Holliday gets the two-out hit, that might have been the biggest play of the game.
The off-field news of the weekend was that the Cardinals signed Winn and sent down Jon Jay.  This was met, at least from what I saw on Twitter, with a lot of head-scratching, and my scalp got the same treatment.  I understand the “they need at-bats” argument that the team has used to send down Jay and others, but I’m not sure I buy it as much in the case of Jay.  He’s had his tour of the minors, he’s 25, I don’t know that there’s a lot more everyday play can do for him.  He’s already proven that he can handle the role, hitting .302 and starting to show some power in the bigs.
Winn, on the other hand, can be generously noted as being past his prime.  Perhaps he still has something in his bat, though his results with the Yankees didn’t indicate that.  We’ll have to wait and see, but this really seems like an unnecessary move.  Unless……
My first inclination when hearing about this move is that Jay (most likely, though it could be any of the outfielders) is going to be part of a deal for a starting pitcher.  Winn allows for depth as well as letting Jay showcase himself in Memphis with the knowledge that at least some of that production can translate to major league results as well.  If I had to place a bet, I’d say Jay is traded before the end of July, but we’ll have to wait and see.
As of this morning, the starter for tonight’s Dodger game hasn’t been announced.  Sounds like it’ll likely be Blake Hawksworth, though, letting PJ Walters get a little bullpen time.  Being that Adam Ottavino has already been announced as taking his next turn, you have to wonder where Walters fits in.  Then again, since Brad Penny is likely out for another month or so, there should be plenty of mixing and matching in that slot.  Unless the Cards are proactive and make a move, something I don’t expect to happen.
The Dodgers are sending out to the mound Carlos Monasterios, a guy that honestly I’ve not heard of before, I don’t think.  He’s got solid numbers for this year in 14 games (three starts) and when you factor in the pitching park that LA plays in, it could be a long night for the offense.  Hopefully whomever pitches for the Birds can make it the same way for the Dodgers.

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