Has Anyone Ever Called Waino Bueno?

Some nights, four errors by the opposing team are just what you need to win.  Some nights, eight runs are crucial to getting the W.  Some nights, 14 hits are a big deal.*

Those nights don’t have Adam Wainwright on the hill.

*Of course, some nights you win the World Series, but that’s not relevant at the moment.  Well, as irrelevant as winning the World Series ever can be.

Wainwright threw a two-hit shutout and garnered a couple of hits on his own.  He went into the ninth looking for his first one-hitter (and that one was an infield single that according to Twitter–I didn’t see it–could have been debatable had it been the only one of the game) but Adam LaRoche at least avoided that indignity for the Nationals.

There was plenty of other shame to go around for the Nats, though.  Four errors on the night, and that’s just what actually was officially recorded.  There were numerous other iffy plays, non-error errors, and just generally bad play.  If you are a Nationals fan, you probably aren’t reading this, but you have to take heart that there’s little way any of the other games in this series could get any worse.  It was a perfect storm of things in this one, best represented by the fact the Cards scored eight–but still left 15 on.  Baserunners were like pennies last night, plenty of them to go around.

Which means that there were a number of good offensive performances as well, even when you factor in the Nationals’ sloppy play.  The top three men in the lineup–Matt Carpenter, Kolten Wong, and Matt Holliday–all had two hits.  Matt Adams just had one, but he drove in three.  Jhonny Peralta also had two knocks and Wainwright, well, he had as many hits as he gave up, if the Washington faithful really want to be depressed.  He even doubled in the ninth, trying to make a bid for that Silver Slugger he really wants.  He’s hitting .444 on the year now, with that double and two RBI, plus a walk, so he’s well on his way to getting it!

Everybody got a hit and there was no bullpen to look at, so it again becomes tough to pick out a Goat.  (I didn’t explicitly note it above, but I think it’s pretty obvious Waino got the Hero tag.)  It’s a rare occasion, but I think I’ll give it to Yadier Molina this time.  He went 1-6 and left six on, though did have an RBI.  Allen Craig went 1-5 without the RBI, but he only left one on.  Coin flip it if you want, but I’ll reluctantly take Molina.

Joe Kelly got an MRI on that hamstring yesterday and found out that it was “just” a strain.  As we noted during the day yesterday, the club placed him on the 15-day DL, which hopefully will be enough for him to heal up and just miss a couple of starts.  The general idea now is that someone will come up from the minors on Monday to take his start, most likely Patron Pitcher of the Blog Tyler Lyons.

This makes a lot of sense, and I don’t say that just because I want to see that big 70 on the mound again.  The argument for moving Carlos Martinez to the rotation is interesting, but given this is a short-term assignment (apparently), it seems not worth disturbing the relief roles and the good work the bullpen is doing (well, some of it) for a temporary fix.  If Kelly doesn’t heal as quickly as they expect, that could be revisited.

Which is somewhat the problem that I was afraid of with Martinez getting into the pen–he’s too valuable to take out of it.  It’s a long time from now until then, but it’s going to be interesting to see what the Cards want to do next spring if Martinez spends the entire year being that shutdown reliever.  Will they be able to move him back to the rotation?  Again, way down the road, but something to watch.

It’s been–maybe not curious, but at least a bit surprising–to see Jon Jay playing a lot of center in the last few days.  Mike Matheny said he wanted to play the hot hand, as it were, and Jay’s put together the better at-bats.  Given Peter Bourjos‘s acquisition, not many of us thought we’d see a lot of Jay, but with Bourjos struggling at the plate, Jay’s taken advantage of his opportunities.  It’s still not a platoon and it’s not where Jay is going to be the starter, but he’s getting more playing time than expected.

Which maybe the best position for Jay.  After all, he was the fourth outfielder in 2010, but played well enough to get Ryan Ludwick traded.  He returned to the extra outfielder role in 2011, but played well enough to get Colby Rasmus traded.  After taking on the starring spot, his production slipped somewhat, but now, back out of the spotlight, he’s producing again.  Maybe he needs that challenge?

Jaime Garcia will throw in a game situation Saturday, being limited to 35 pitches.  The most interesting comment was that they are putting him on a spring training-like program and this would be considered halfway through.  If that keeps up and there are no more setbacks, you’d figure he would go on a rehab assignment in about three weeks, get a couple of starts, and be ready to be with the Cards maybe by the beginning of June.  If that’s the case, it’s going to be fun trying to figure out how to fit him into the picture.

Cards and Nats go at it again tonight, most likely with the Nationals playing a cleaner game, but no guarantee there will be more hits.  After all, the last time Michael Wacha faced them, Ryan Zimmerman broke up his no-hitter with two outs in the eighth.  Sure, he’s not likely to do that again.  However, it’s Michael Wacha, so you never rule anything out, right?  Besides, Zimmerman is on the DL tonight….

Ian Desmond 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Bryce Harper 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Adam LaRoche 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000 .333 .000 .333 0 0 0 0 0
Anthony Rendon 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Jayson Werth 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Gio Gonzalez 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Total 17 16 0 0 0 0 0 1 6 .000 .059 .000 .059 0 0 0 0 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/18/2014.

The Nationals get to the head of their rotation, throwing Gio Gonzalez.  St. Louis was able to get to him in spring training, for whatever that’s worth, and he’s coming off allowing six runs to the Braves.  However, he threw two-run baseball over seven innings the last time he saw the Redbirds in the regular season (last September), but lost because, well, Michael Wacha was on the other side.

Jhonny Peralta 19 14 3 1 0 1 2 4 3 .214 .368 .500 .868 0 1 0 0 1
Peter Bourjos 13 13 2 0 0 0 0 0 4 .154 .154 .154 .308 0 0 0 0 0
Jon Jay 13 10 3 0 0 0 1 2 2 .300 .385 .300 .685 0 1 0 0 0
Yadier Molina 11 10 2 2 0 0 1 1 1 .200 .273 .400 .673 0 0 0 0 0
Allen Craig 10 9 1 0 0 0 1 1 2 .111 .200 .111 .311 0 0 0 0 0
Matt Holliday 10 8 1 1 0 0 1 2 2 .125 .300 .250 .550 0 0 0 0 2
Daniel Descalso 6 5 2 1 0 0 0 1 3 .400 .500 .600 1.100 0 0 0 0 0
Mark Ellis 6 4 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 .000 .200 .000 .200 1 0 0 0 0
Shane Robinson 5 4 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 .250 .400 .250 .650 0 0 0 0 0
Adam Wainwright 4 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 .000 .250 .000 .250 0 0 0 0 0
Matt Adams 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .333 .333 .333 .667 0 0 0 0 0
Matt Carpenter 3 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 .333 .333 .667 1.000 0 0 0 0 0
Michael Wacha 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Tony Cruz 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Total 106 89 17 6 0 1 7 14 26 .191 .295 .292 .587 1 2 0 0 3
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/18/2014.

If both pitchers live up to their billing and the defense behind them is sharp, this could be a tight duel this evening.  Nobody’s had just a ton of success against Gonzalez, though I still remember a spring at-bat where Adams was able to get a hit off of him, which gave me a little more confidence about Adams hitting lefties.  So far, that’s held up and hopefully he’ll be able to do the same this evening.

Come back later this morning for the latest UCB project, my picks on who, from the official ballot, should get into the Cardinal HOF.  Enjoy your weekend!

  • Ben Chambers

    The problem with Matheny saying that Jay is the “hot hand” is that in the 5 games Bourjos played in before he was taken out 3 of the last 4 games, Bourjos went 7-19 (.368), including going 1-3 with a triple, walk, and run scored. Yet, at the time, Jay was a .188 hitter on the season at the same time. How was Jay the hot hand?

    • Cardinal70

      Well, Jay’s 4/12 with a home run and three runs scored when he’s played recently, so he’s the hot hand now. Bourjos will get in there today against a lefty–a strong game, maybe the hand switches.

      Jay was always going to play more than a regular platoon and if he takes advantage, he’ll play more. Do I think there’s a major conspiracy to keep Jay on the field? No. I think by the end of the year Bourjos will play a majority of the time, even if it’s not 75% of it.

      Plus it’s all about where you draw your sample. Bourjos did exactly what you said, but five of those hits came against the Reds. In his last four starts, he was 3-14 (.214), so perhaps Matheny saw him slipping into some bad habits at the plate.

      • Ben Chambers

        I didn’t think that Jay would play more than a regular platoon, except that I thought he would get more starts in RF and LF than he has. The problem is that Jay being a lefty, they’re going to face more right-handed pitching than left-handed, and Jay getting the start last night against a righty who was having a terrible game, and for that matter, not a great season, but Bourjos goes tonight against a lefty who has been fairly good and is having a fairly standard season is going to be a harder test.

        Bourjos is faster all around, and that can be a weapon on the bases as well as an advantage in the field. Taking him out might as well be giving runs to the other team (for reference, see ball that dropped in center in Milwaukee which I gave Bourjos at leas a 65% chance of getting to, but Jay wasn’t even close). In my opinion, Jay has to hit astronomically better than Bourjos to take him out of the field. If Bourjos could have hit .250 (3/12) instead of Jay’s .333 (4/12) in those games, which is easily plausible, I would rather have had Bourjos in the field and got one less hit.

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