Hello folks, how are we doing on this rainy, gloomy Game 2 afternoon in St. Louis? Everybody get enough rest after that snoozing loss in Game 1 last night or did you pass out before the 27th Cardinal out? It was a painful way to start a series in front of 48,000 screaming fans, but when you face Madison Bumgarner‘s electric left arm right now, bad things can happen to opposing team’s hitting skills. Throw in a less than stellar Adam Wainwright and the night seemed doomed from the start. Let’s roll over a few recap points without boring anyone.
*What do you do with Adam Wainwright? At this point in the season, Wainwright needs to be lights out or the other team will win. He is facing the best every time out. When he isn’t sharp, the other team’s guy may be sharp enough to steal the game. Waino did experience some bad defense last night, and it could have been 1-0 instead of 3-0 when he left in the 5th inning. Yeah, you heard that right. The 5th inning. For the second start in a row, Waino couldn’t last 5 innings and that my friends is an alarm being sounded throughout Busch Stadium. Is our ace right or is he seriously pushing the brink of true grit and unhealthy pitching as far as it can go? It’s a serious question because when Game 5 rolls around(it better roll around), do you send Wainwright back out to the mound? If the series is 2-2, 3-1 Cards or more direly, 3-1 Giants, do you run the gauntlet with Waino or do you enlist a tag team duo of Marco Gonzales and Michael Wacha? This is important and feelings and past accomplishments must be left out. Is Waino right or is he getting caught in Michael Wacha 65-70 percent effective land at the moment? Can he be counted on because from here on out, he will face the best of the best. If he isn’t right, he is putting his team at risk of having a long winter to ponder if the right moves were made. Adam Wainwright was bad in August. He was lights out in September. He has been bad to slightly average in October. Make your choice Mike Matheny.
*It gets tiring talking about the right field situation for the Cards. I look back fondly on the Carlos Beltran days or the Allen Craig short era with sad eyes. These days it is an event every single game. Should it be Randal Grichuk or Oscar Taveras? Do you call Mark Whiten and go with him instead? It’s a hot topic and has been for the past two months since Allen Craig left. Randal offers you better defense and a good bat against lefthanded pitching. Oscar has pop against righthanded pitching and average in the outfield. A platoon in September worked perfectly but this time of the year Matheny is sticking with one guy and that guy is Grichuk, the secret spice in the Freese-Bourjos offseason trade. Grichuk is 3-20 this postseason but has started all 5 games because Mike trusts him more than Oscar right now. That’s what it comes down to and I am not saying it’s easy to swallow. I am an Oscar Honk but I can appreciate the tools Grichuk provides. I would write Oscar’s name in every time a righty is on the mound but it has taken enough oxygen out of my head complaining about this situation that I will accept it. Unless the Cards get to the World Series, Oscar Taveras more than likely won’t start a game. He won’t start against Jake Peavy, Tim Hudson or Ryan Vogelsong. Nope. All Randal. Good luck kid.
*Other than the obvious switch in of Oscar for Randal, I like the lineup for tonight’s game. Grichuk drops down to the 8th spot behind Kolten Wong and Jon Jay‘s on base percentage rides up to the #2 spot.
*A little defense would be nice tonight, Birds. Last night, they looked like cold fish on dry land in the first part of that game. Kolten Wong wasn’t charged with an error but fumbled a sure double play ball to allow the Giants to score. Matt Carpenter booted a grounder at third and allowed a run to score. Bad defense can doom a team faster than anything in the playoffs. A few messed up grounders or a dropped fly ball can signal distress and finish a team off. The Cards were rated very high in the regular season on overall defense but have been sloppy at times in the postseason. Fix it, fellas.
*Lance Lynn is my pick for the series MVP so I see him outpitching Jake Peavy tonight. It won’t be easy with the pesky Giants lineup that has more similarities than one would assume with the Cards attack. Peavy has also been hot since August 7th, going 6-2 with a 1.64 ERA. There were two other starts he should have won but got little run support from his teammates. After losing his first two decisions with San Francisco, Peavy has been a solid acquisition. Don’t forget that he was close to becoming a Cardinal twice before he went West. Lynn and Peavy should be a fine duel tonight.
*Will there be a Michael Wacha sighting or was he given a roster spot out of respect for his 2013 endeavors? He can be useful because of his ability to pitch multiple innings but he’s been sitting for a while. How useful is he right now and should he been left off the roster for a more versatile arm like Sam Freeman? Edward Mujica was put on the 2013 postseason roster and barely used due to his “nice” 2013 achievements. This can’t be a regular thing. Use the kid or bench him.
*When will Daniel Descalso get a start? You know it is going to happen at least once. He will start before Oscar or Bourjos. Will it come against Hudson? I don’t support this at all but simply stating it may happen.
Are you ready for Game 2? To quote Ron Burgundy, this one is kind of a big deal. Game 2 usually carries many leatherbound books and contains rich mahogany flooring so the Cards better not waste this chance to even the series. Lynn can’t falter. The offense can’t let Peavy continue his dominance. The sea of red must play some factor. Home field advantage was crucial but won’t look like much if the first two games are lost.
As my good friend R.J. (he is a KC native and big Royals fan) told me this morning, “The Cards better get their crap together. I want an I-70 series.”
First things first, Cardinals. Dispatch San Fran in Game 2 and head to the Bay even. If not, find a good priest and head to the church because October 2-0 deficits are no joke.
Weary but hopeful from the Southern end of The Lou,