We’ve talked a lot lately about the struggles of the Cardinals. St. Louis seems to be unable to get out of its own way at times and as soon as you think they’ve turned a corner, you realize that corner led to a dead end. Momentum? Never heard of it.
Yet for all of that, there are signs that perhaps, PERHAPS, things are getting better. The Cards have now taken three of four (even though that fourth was about as ugly as someone at Walmart at 2 AM) and while they haven’t gained any ground against the Brewers, they are sitting on the positive side of .500. It’s not a huge thing, but it’s something.
Yesterday could have easily been another one of those games with a good pitching performance and a frustrating loss. It’s not a surprise that Michael Wacha played an integral role in the victory. The surprising thing was the biggest part was played by his bat. Hitless on the season, Wacha slapped a two-out single that drove in runs two and three of the four-run second inning and put the Cards in the driver’s seat, a seat that, with Wacha behind the wheel, they weren’t going to relinquish.
Obviously, Wacha is our Hero for the day. Beyond the RBI single, he helped the cause in his normal way, throwing seven innings and allowing just a two-run homer to Starlin Castro to mar his line. Five strikeouts and no walks meant that the Cards were able to take two of three in this rain-shortened series, even though they didn’t score as many runs total in the series as the Cubs did on Monday.
Wacha wasn’t the only offensive star, of course, though the club did manage only six hits (four walks helped out a lot). Yadier Molina was the only player to get two hits in the game, though how he was able to do that with baseballs buzzing his head like airplanes after King Kong, I don’t know. I have to agree with Mike Matheny–once, you write off. Three times, while it may not be intentional to get up in your headspace, the Cubs really need to figure out a new approach because that one’s not working and is becoming dangerous.
Kudos to Matt Carpenter as well for breaking an 0-16 slump and doing so with a double that made the score 4-0, giving the Cards a much better chance of winning. We all know that 3-0 leads are the kiss of death around here these days, so getting another run was huge.
While Matt Adams went 0-4 and dropped his season average under .300 for the first time all year, the Goat of the day goes to Kevin Siegrist, who just didn’t have much yesterday. Siegrist allowed a hit and two walks, letting the Cubs pull to 5-3 and forcing Trevor Rosenthal to come into the game in the eighth inning and forcing Cardinal fans to not breathe for quite a while. Given Rosenthal’s struggles, putting him into the game with the tying runs on base seemed to be like flicking a lighter close to a open pool of gasoline. Maybe it won’t catch, but you don’t necessarily like your odds. Thankfully, it was a good Rosenthal today, locking down that inning and then pitching a fairly uneventful ninth.
Some interesting news off the field as Bill DeWitt Jr. will be the chair of the search committee looking for a new baseball commissioner. This means Bud Selig actually might retire (though again, nobody’s going to believe that until a new one is actually named). While DeWitt stated that they’ll be looking inside and outside of baseball for the next top guy, most discussion seems to indicate Rob Manfred as the most likely candidate to ascend to that post. Though if DeWitt’s around when we have UCB Weekend, I’d be glad to give him my pitch!
Oscar Taveras Watch: Taveras went one for five in Memphis’s loss last night, but that one went over the wall. He’s now hitting .303/.354/.517 with six long balls. That was the only home he’s hit in the last 10 days, however. With the offense starting to show signs of life, he may get a little more seasoning down in AAA, but it looks like if they need him, he’s pretty much about ready.
The Cardinals try to build on this current run of successful baseball as the Braves come into town. St. Louis took two of three when they marched on Georgia last week and they hope to have the same success defending the home turf. They’ll face Ervin Santana this time after he was held out of the last series with an injury. Santana’s having an excellent start to the season, going 4-0 and putting up a 1.99 ERA. His last start was actually against the Cubs, where he threw seven scoreless. His only one real blemish came against the Reds, where he allowed four runs in 6.2 frames.
The numbers don’t look all that great for the Redbirds in this one either. Mark Ellis has seen him the most, but that’s unlikely to get him the start over Kolten Wong now that Wong is fully recovered from his illness. Hopefully Carpenter can get things going today and the rest of the offense can click into place.
St. Louis counters with Lance Lynn. I’ve started doing some research on a post about The Lynning that I hope to get up this weekend, but one thing that stood out when I was going through game logs was that the fourth inning is bad for Lynn. Really bad. Like me trying to diet bad. In his 74 starts since the beginning of 2012, Lynn’s allowed 52 runs in the fourth inning. His last three starts, the only runs he has allowed have come in the fourth. If Lynn somehow gets into the fifth with a shutout tonight, breathe a little easier. Don’t think the danger is completely passed, but the storm is moving on.
This is a game you don’t feel extremely confident about, but how often have we seen the numbers point one way and the game turn out another? Should be a close game tonight and hopefully it’ll go the right way!