I’m pretty sure this is not how the Cardinals were hoping a meeting of old roommates was going to go. It’s been 60 years since the Orioles were the Browns, playing in Sportsman’s Park. A few things have changed since then, mainly that these aren’t the hapless Browns anymore.
Friday (12-2 loss)
Hero: A.J. Pierzynski. One of only four Cardinals with a hit, his two-run homer kept the Redbirds from being shut out. You gotta take the small victories where you can in a miserable outing like this.
Goat: So many possibilities on the offensive side, but really, when you allow five runs in two-plus innings, you are a lock for this tag. For the second straight start, Justin Masterson got hit around but this time he didn’t have the offense to bail him out. He also allowed two of the six–SIX–home runs the Orioles hit. To put that in perspective, before the Baltimore series it had taken St. Louis six games to hit six home runs. And that’s a good run for this team!
Notes: Again, so much ugliness. Almost nobody got a hit. Oscar Taveras struck out twice. Nick Greenwood and Sam Freeman got lit up. Take everything that could go wrong for the team and you wind up with a game very similar to this one. Thankfully it was just one game and you move on to the next one, right?
Saturday (10-3 loss)
Hero: Jhonny Peralta. 2-4 with a run and an RBI. There was a bit more offense in this game, but there still weren’t just a lot of options to choose from.
Goat: When you are the focus of the biggest trade of the season for a team, going out and allowing nine runs in five innings isn’t comforting. John Lackey apparently had a whole lot of nothing on the mound Saturday, giving up an early two run lead and doing so via 13 hits, including three home runs. Hopefully that’s the only bomb of a game we’ll see out of him this season.
Notes: Daniel Descalso got a start and got three hits. Somehow the world didn’t end, but I’d be keeping a close watch on the skies for the next week or so. Taveras had another rough game with a couple of strikeouts. Jon Jay went deep early and drove in a run late. Good work by Seth Maness–it may not have mattered to the outcome of the game, but it’s nice to see a scoreless outing from the relievers.
Sunday (8-3 win)
Hero: Pat Neshek. On a day when the offense finally showed up, albeit one single at a time, it was Neshek who shined. Coming into a 4-3 game, he threw two perfect innings, striking out four of the six batters he faced and keeping the Cards in the lead. It was a great place for him to step up, which is what he’s been doing all year long.
Goat: Tony Cruz. On a day when the offense put up 17 hits, Cruz went 0-5 and struck out three times. Perhaps that’s a function of not playing everyday or perhaps that’s what the Cards were afraid of and why they went out and got Pierzynski. (By the way, saw George Kotteras signed with Toronto. Perhaps he’ll get more than a game’s worth of at-bats with them.)
Notes: Kolten Wong with a four-hit day. Descalso added a couple more hits. Peralta with three hits, a run and a RBI. Up and down the lineup, people were getting on base. Again, 14 of the 17 hits were singles so it wasn’t exactly fireworks going on out there and, until the late surge, St. Louis wasn’t being very efficient in their run scoring, but when you’ve suffered through the first two games of this series, you’ll take it.
Lance Lynn did a good job of making sure this didn’t turn into another offensive outburst by Baltimore. He allowed more hits than we’ve come to expect from a Lynn start and didn’t have his best outing, but he came up big when he had to, striking out six in less than six innings of work. Dan Buffa will be writing about Lynn later today, but it’s pretty clear Lynn has made a significant step in his development this season.
With the ugly weekend behind them, the Cards look at a week that holds Miami and San Diego, two teams that are both sitting just south of .500. While we know from experience looking at teams as easy wins can backfire–just look at what happened out at Petco Park a couple of weeks ago–this would seem to be the time to put up some big red Ws.
Milwaukee has the Cubs and Dodgers this week, Pittsburgh the Tigers and Nationals, Cincinnati Boston and Colorado. (We are not talking about the wild card right now, you hear me? We ARE NOT.) If St. Louis can come out and play like a team that deserves to be in October, they could make up some ground pretty easily, it would seem. That’s a big if, though. You never know which team will show up.
They start off with the Marlins and Shelby Miller goes out there hoping to keep things rolling for himself. Miller has been much more of the pitcher we thought we’d see this year–save maybe for less strikeouts–over the past few games, which means there’s less worry when he takes the mound. (I said less, not none.)
The Marlins haven’t seen Miller a lot (save spring training, I’d figure) but that’s a good thing, because if they had, at this rate Miller would be out of the league. Granted, most folks have just seen him in one game, but that’s an ugly bottom line. Let’s hope Miller can clean that up a little bit with his outing tonight.
Cardinals will have to face Tom Koehler. Koehler is coming off allowing four runs in six innings to the Pirates, but the game before that hurled seven scoreless innings at the Reds. St. Louis hasn’t seen much of him, but what they have seen, they’ve liked.
If these tables mean anything (hint, they don’t mean much) this is going to be another offensive game. The Cards need to figure out a way to gain some traction because it’s starting to get a bit late around here. Two games in the standings isn’t much, but it only takes one to keep you home in October!