Yesterday, we pointed out that Peter Bourjos had good numbers against Aaron Harang and probably would get the start last night, giving him an opportunity to try to do something to get out of the purgatory that he’s currently in.
There’s no doubt that he took advantage.
Bourjos went 2-4 with a run and an RBI and hopefully earned himself another look or two with his performance yesterday. With Jon Jay scuffling and Randal Grichuk still feeling his way in the big leagues, there’s no dominant center field option. Bourjos deserves as much rope as the other two have gotten, so Mike Matheny should leave him out there for a couple of days (at least) to see what he can do with that kind of playing time.
I’m giving Bourjos the Hero tag because of what he did and what it meant to him, but I was really drawn to assigning it to Pat Neshek. Shelby Miller had a fairly tolerable start, but ran out of gas in the sixth (which is an issue) and left the game with runners on the corners, nobody out, and the tying run to the plate. Neshek made sure that things didn’t get terribly ugly, getting three outs in a row and only allowing a sacrifice fly out of the mix. It’s not easy to get thrown straight into the fire, but Neshek has proven he can handle it. He’s not allowed a run of his own since April 9 against the Reds and on the year has 17 strikeouts in 14 innings. He’s become quite the weapon out of the bullpen and those early moans the fans made when he was called into the game have completely disappeared.
Miller threw 86 pitches, but did seem to hit the wall when he couldn’t get anyone out in the sixth. He didn’t have an excessive number of walks (just two) but allowed six hits, so he was almost always pitching with someone on. Miller’s not gone past six innings this season and, in fact, in more than half his starts he’s not gone that far. It was early September of last year when he got outs in the sixth inning. Whether it’s conditioning, whether it’s getting more efficient getting outs, I don’t know, but that’s a lot of stress on the bullpen. It’d be very nice to see some seven inning starts out of the youngster. Still, this start was a good one and it’s nice to see him with a few more strikeouts as well.
Our Goat for this one will have to be Big Fill In The Blank. Matt Adams had possibly the roughest night of his season, going 0-4 and striking out three times. The silver lining was that he didn’t leave but one on base, so it wasn’t that he was destroying rallies with these strikeouts.
It was nice to see back-to-back wins for the first time in two weeks. Atlanta is scuffling, but they are a good team and to beat them–especially without using Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha–was a nice achievement for this team. It kinda felt like a game that could get them on track, though we’ve seen such games before and it’s not had lingering repercussions. Mostly because baseball games really are separate, discrete data points that don’t have as much to do with each other as we like to think.
Looks like Jaime Garcia‘s elbow is OK and he’ll probably make his next rehab start. The club says they are encouraged by how the swelling is going down and there doesn’t seem to be any lasting damage. This is Garcia, of course, so he’s bucking his personal odds if that’s the case, but it’s good to hear. Even though getting him into the rotation at the big league level is still a bit problematic, it’d be good to get him on the path to have to make that choice.
It continues to sound like Oscar Taveras isn’t going to be making his major league debut anytime soon, which is disappointing but not at all unexpected. I honestly think John Mozeliak will make a trade to clear some room before Taveras gets the call. That said, Taveras cares not for your deadlines and crowded outfields, getting three hits and three RBI in Monday’s game. (That was at Colorado Springs, so discount the 15-2 Redbirds win accordingly.)
Cards try to go for three in a row and keep Atlanta on the ropes tonight behind Tyler Lyons, Patron Pitcher of the Blog. Lyons hasn’t started in a bit, though he got a few innings out of the bullpen in the interim. He’s pitched fairly well (save one inning in Pittsburgh) but hasn’t gotten any support. Lyons hasn’t faced the Braves, but they have hit much better against lefties than righties this season, so that’s a cause for concern.
Gavin Floyd makes his first appearance since April 27, 2013 versus Tampa Bay, when he allowed two runs in 2.2 innings and soon after had Tommy John surgery. Floyd, signed by the Braves in the offseason, doesn’t have a lot of experience with this current Cardinal crop, having been in the American League since 2007.
Unsurprisingly Jhonny Peralta has seen him the most and, thankfully, has had good success against him. I am a bit surprised that Bourjos hasn’t seen him, given his time in the AL, but hopefully last night’s outing will get him a start today as well. Can’t hurt, right?