An Ace Beats A King

Matt Harvey might be the current king of New York, but as poker players know, the only thing that beats a king is an ace.

As they said on MLB Network’s Quick Pitch last night, apparently even nature wanted to see the vaunted matchup between Harvey and our Hero, Adam Wainwright.  That 100% chance of rain?  Never happened.  Everyone stayed perfectly dry through the whole contest.

Of course, it might have helped that both pitchers pitched like the rain could come any minute.  While the final time of play was 2:43, both pitchers hummed through the first few innings, with time only being added when pitching changes and other things were necessary.  When the offenses are being shut down, there’s not a whole lot of time coming off the clock.

Wainwright, who is now the first pitcher to record 10 wins, gave up just four hits and struck out six.  He walked two, but one of those was a strategic intentional walk to force the Mets to pinch-hit for Harvey.  Turned out to be a good thing that they did when they got a key insurance run off of his replacement.  Plus he got his 1000th strikeout in the first (the only time anyone could get David Wright out) making him fifth on the all-time Cardinal list.  It’s nice to know that he’ll be climbing that list with a contract keeping him in St. Louis for a long while to come.

Unsurprisingly given the quality of pitcher they were facing, there weren’t just a lot of offensive highlights, though the team did run up 10 hits.  Pete Kozma had three hits, including two off of Harvey.  Matt Carpenter and Allen Craig each had two hits and a two-out RBI, accounting for all the scoring.  Carlos Beltran also had a pair of hits, which pretty much wrapped up the offensive portion of our game.  (Well, at least in the respect of hits and runs.  Carpenter’s pick off/caught stealing in the eighth was pretty offensive to those that were watching.)

Our Goat goes to Edward Mujica, who gave heart attacks to most everyone wearing Cardinal red.  He gave up a one-out home run to Marlon Byrd, which was followed by a double by John Buck.  Three batters and the tying run is sitting on second?  Not good.  Mujica then got a slick play behind him by Carpenter to get the second out and struck out Josh Satin to end the ballgame.  There’s a reason why Jason Isringhausen‘s name was trending for a while in Cardinal Nation yesterday afternoon!

Everyone boarded the plane after the game to head down to Miami, meaning that a decision on who gets shipped out for Jake Westbrook still lingered.  That was a little strange to me.  I understood why they waited until after Thursday’s game, making sure that they had arms in case of some 20-inning affair or some such, but there’s nothing between leaving New York and Westbrook’s first pitch.  Do they really not know what they want to do?  Were they just being extra cautious, making sure Westbrook is going to be OK before sending someone down?  It seems just a little odd to fly someone to Florida, then ship them off to wherever Memphis is playing.  Of course, it’s like most decisions for the Cards these days: not easy, but definitely the ones you want to be making.

So St. Louis has only lost one road series (the first one against Arizona, which they really should have won and would have with this bullpen) and one home series (the one against Pittsburgh over UCB Weekend, which we bloggers will take no blame for).  It wouldn’t appear that would change this weekend as the Cards play their spring training roommates the Marlins, but this is baseball.  Just when you have it figured out, here comes the curve.

With so many good pitchers going through St. Louis now, it’s easy to forget that Westbrook had a 2-1, 1.62 mark when he was shut down.  Granted, that ERA was a little deceptive and he’s not going to bring the heat like some of his replacements have, but it shouldn’t be a significant drop off from Michael Wacha or Tyler Lyons (whomever it may be) to Westy.

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SH SF IBB HBP
Placido Polanco 33 31 11 1 0 0 1 1 2 .355 .375 .387 .762 1 0 0 0
Juan Pierre 18 17 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 .059 .059 .118 .176 1 0 0 0
Greg Dobbs 12 12 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 .167 .167 .167 .333 0 0 0 0
Logan Morrison 12 8 1 0 0 0 1 2 0 .125 .417 .125 .542 0 0 0 2
Giancarlo Stanton 12 12 2 0 1 0 1 0 2 .167 .167 .333 .500 0 0 0 0
Miguel Olivo 10 9 2 1 0 0 0 0 2 .222 .300 .333 .633 0 0 0 1
Jeff Mathis 6 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0
Ricky Nolasco 4 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000 2 0 0 0
Justin Ruggiano 3 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .667 .667 .667 1.333 0 0 0 0
Total 110 100 21 3 1 0 3 3 11 .210 .255 .260 .515 4 0 0 3
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 6/14/2013.

If you wanted to be unkind and take an easy shot at a struggling franchise, which is pretty much what blogging is for, you’d say that Westbrook is just extending his minor league rehab tonight.  He’s not had a lot of trouble with these guys in the past and former Redbird Placido Polanco isn’t what he used to be.  (Remember he was part of the Scott Rolen trade?  That seems eons ago, doesn’t it?)

If the Marlins were to pick a pitcher, though, it’d be Jose Fernandez, who takes the ball tonight.  Fernandez, who proves that not every rookie pitcher wears the birds on the bat, has a nice 3.17 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP and .208 BAA.  It’s likely he’ll be the Marlins’ All-Star representative, so it could be a tough one again for the offense.  He’s only given up a total of one run in his last two starts, but both of those were against the Mets, so it’s hard to judge.  For a better comparison, he gave up just two runs in seven innings when he faced Cincinnati in his own ballpark.

Hopefully we’ll see a fun weekend down in Miami!

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