Do you like good pitching? You got that last night in St. Louis. Of course, that’s not a huge surprise. There’s not been very much bad pitching from guys wearing Cardinal red all season, especially if you are talking about the starting rotation.
Do you like plays at the plate? There were a couple of those last night as well, with the Cardinals for once not losing runners with their aggressive baserunning. Some nice slides led to some nice runs.
Do you like power displays? The Cardinals had you covered as well. Two long balls rocked Busch Stadium and had everyone cheering.
All in all, it’s tough to find a better all-around game than last night’s outing against the Diamondbacks. If you couldn’t find something to like out of that game, odds are you were a Cubs fan (or, perhaps, a Reds or Pirates fan frustrated that your team can’t get any closer to the front runner).
When the team pounds out 14 hits and the starter only allows one run, it’s very difficult to narrow down just who the Hero should be. You could go with Matt Carpenter, who had three hits in the leadoff role and, not coincidentally, scored three runs. That’d be reasonable. You could go with Yadier Molina, who used some borrowed time to go 2-4 with a home run and two RBI. Nothing wrong with that. There’s also Lance Lynn, who threw seven innings, allowed just the one run, and struck out six while allowing only five hits. We talk a lot about Adam Wainwright and of course the rookies get their share of attention, but Lynn is a potent part of this rotation as well, getting his eighth win with a 2.76 ERA to go along with it.
All of those would be excellent choices and that’s not even including Allen Craig (2-4, RBI) or David Freese (2-3, RBI, continued his hitting streak). However, I’m going to go with Carlos Beltran for today’s Hero selection. Beltran went three for five while scoring a run and driving in three, including a two-run homer to cap the scoring. If Oscar Taveras (who apparently didn’t make it back to the lineup last night as they were hoping he would, since he’s not mentioned in the Prospect Preacher’s report) can be a realistic option in center field, I think it a strong possibility the Cardinals work out a way to bring Beltran back for a year or two.
Which might not be good news for Jon Jay if he continues to want to play in St. Louis. Jay, who “beats out” Pete Kozma for our Goat last night as the only two without a hit in the lineup, may be too pricey to be a backup outfielder. Jay’s picked the worst time to have the worst run in his career (he’s .081 in his last ten games) as it gives the club the idea that he’s not indispensable. With Taveras hopefully able to start there and Shane Robinson able to be the backup, Jay might be feeling the pinch. Whether that has anything to do with his lack of production this season or if he’s just being figured out now that he’s been around a bit, I don’t know. He also just may be another streaky one, as he tore it up at the beginning of May.
Speaking of streaky, perhaps Matt Holliday made the first steps toward an upward offensive climb last night. He seemed a bit more patient at the plate, walking twice and getting a solid base hit. It’s incredible to see what this offense can do and not be firing on all cylinders. It’s almost unfathomable to think what would happen if everyone were hot at the same time.
Before last night’s game, Molina was hit with a one-game suspension and a fine for contact with an umpire during his tirade on Sunday. That’s not unreasonable, I don’t believe. Granted, he shouldn’t have been in that situation because he shouldn’t have been tossed, but if you run into an umpire, you are going to get suspended. The powers that be have to show that the umpires are the ultimate authority and you can’t do anything to them. That said, is it possible Molina’s suspension would be dropped on appeal? Possible. I figure it’s more likely that, if the Cards win today, he drops it and sits out Wednesday or Thursday, giving him an extra day of rest and not risking MLB making a decision quickly and costing him a game against the Reds.
Chris Carpenter threw to live hitters yesterday for the first time in his comeback process. The most telling comment might come from Robinson, given that he faced Carp last year in the same situation. Robinson notes that he is much better this year, which is very encouraging. It’s tough to jump fully onto the “Carp’s coming back!” bandwagon, but every report makes it tougher and tougher not to climb on board.
The hype and buzz around the second game aren’t nearly as high, but Michael Wacha takes the mound again tonight, trying to get his first major league win. Wacha looked sharp against the Royals, but is stepping up in competition going against the team leading the NL West. It’ll be fun to see how he does against those guys.
The Cardinals will try to score more than two runs for him this time, facing Tyler Skaggs. Skaggs has only one start this season to his name as well, allowing no runs in six innings to a potent Texas team, striking out nine in the process. Skaggs threw six games last year, but none against St. Louis so he’s an unknown lefty. Time will tell if he’s too good to be their kryptonite–after all, they can beat the Clayton Kershaws, but they struggle against the lesser lights.
Young pitching on display at Busch Stadium. Sounds like….well, every other night this year almost, huh? Should be a good one!