Not concerned that his nascent charity, Waino’s World, and its inaugural big event would create a problem for him on the mound, Wainwright had his big fantasy football draft day/party on Friday, then treated those that had paid the $2500 to participate (plus the rest of Cardinal Nation) to a party on the mound as well.
Before we get into the extraordinary effort on the hill, I do want to tip my cap again to Wainwright for such a unique and interesting fundraising effort for charity. It’s much more interesting than a golf tournament (nothing against those, of course) or some other regular charity options. I don’t play fantasy football (or golf, for that matter) but if I had much more money than I do now, I’d have been tempted to play that, just for the experience of the day plus being able to compete against Wainwright, Matt Holliday, David Freese or Allen Craig. Kudos to the Wagon Maker for this idea and I hope it spreads like he intends for it to.
All right, now let’s talk about that complete game of his. As we talked about yesterday, the fact that Edward Mujica isn’t available a lot this time of year is becoming a bit concerning. Wainwright put those concerns at rest. While it would be inconceivable (and borderline abusive) for Mike Matheny to send anyone else out there for the eighth even after 101 pitches, it seems very comfortable to let Waino throw 128. We know that’s in his comfort zone; he’s really an old-fashioned workhorse.
I wasn’t able to watch the game last night, so I loved this part of Derrick Goold’s recap:
He sprinted out to the mound in the ninth to make sure manager Mike Matheny didn’t have a chance to stop him. Matheny walked out to the field as well and crouched behind the plate to catch Wainwright’s warmup.
I can just see Waino, like a little kid, figuring if he can get there first he can stay out there. What he must have thought when he saw his manager follow him out there!
To go along with going the distance, giving up just one run, and striking out nine without a walk, Wainwright also got the insurance run in with a sacrifice fly. Talk about an all-around day against your hometown team!
As of right now, it seems like Wainwright is likely to be a bridesmaid once again in the Cy Young voting as Clayton Kershaw is having an outstanding year. I’m sure there are arguments for Waino, but it seems like Kershaw has more of them. That said, note that about this time in 2010, Wainwright seemed a lock for the Cy Young. He then had six starts where his ERA was around 4.70 and lost three of them and the momentum shifted. While it would seem unlikely that Kershaw would hit a similar road bump, as Joaquin Andujar said, “Youneverknow.”
Of course, as wonderful as Mr. Wainwright is, he couldn’t win the game all by himself. Holliday broke the 1-1 tie with a laser that might well have left a hole in the outfield stands. Yadier Molina had three hits and extended the batting lead from Chris Johnson (Waino was ticked he gave up two hits to Johnson given the race between the two). Two hits from Jon Jay and while he didn’t get any base knocks, Matt Carpenter gets pointed out for his outstanding catch that kept the Braves from taking the lead.
It’s kinda tough to find a real Goat in last night’s game. I’d have gone with Carpenter save that catch. David Freese struck out in a pinch-hitting role with two on, but that seems a little harsh. I guess we’ll go with Daniel Descalso, who went 0-2 with a walk. Again, it’s a tough one to wear.
As we noted in the aside yesterday, Jake Westbrook has gone on the disabled list and Tyler Lyons has been announced as the starter in his place. Whether Lyons gets more than just the next start is, of course, a bit contingent on what he does on Monday against the Reds. It can either scare you or excite you, (depending on how good you think this minor league system is) to see an untested rookie (or two) making starts against Cincinnati and Pittsburgh during this important stretch. I’ll admit to a bit of trepidation, but I don’t think anyone would rather see Westbrook out there instead. I’m just glad that the Cards have some options and aren’t completely scrambling to fill a hole in the rotation.
Tonight at Busch might be the most interesting pitching matchup of the day as a couple of the good young pitchers in the game face off. (OK, that Max Scherzer versus Matt Harvey battle might get a little more coverage and, in a different year, CC Sabathia versus David Price would be quite exciting.) Shelby Miller takes the hill for the Cards against their young phenom, Julio Teheran.
Miller was inefficient (though fairly good) against the Braves last month, giving up only two runs but not being able to make it through the sixth. Miller hasn’t pitched more than six innings in a start since June 1 against the Giants, so the bullpen will come into play here, most likely. Miller’s got a 4.41 ERA in August in really just three starts (since that two-pitch game shouldn’t count) and he’ll need to be at the top of his game tonight.
Mainly the numbers are from the last start, so can’t really draw anything from that. He did give a home run and a walk to Jason Heyward last time, so his absence from the lineup will not go amiss.
Teheran had absolutely no issues with St. Louis last month, throwing seven scoreless innings and allowing just two hits. Hopefully the recent exposure to him will make for better results today.
The Cardinals gained a little breathing room last night as the Reds fell to the Brewers, meaning they are 2.5 games up on them while still just one game behind the Pirates. Tonight Bronson Arroyo goes up against Wily Peralta in Cincinnati, so you probably give a bit of an edge to Cincy there.
The Pirates, who have matched the Cards by taking the first two of their series out in San Francisco, have the advantage in what seems to be a lopsided matchup, as they have Francisco Liriano going against the shell of what Tim Lincecum used to be. While it’d be nice to see The Freak appear again, the Redbirds are probably going to need a win to keep pace with their competitors. Let’s hope they get it!