This idea of a feast or famine offense isn’t at all a new thing. We’ve been talking about this for years, it seems like (and it definitely pre-dates the Jeff Albert era, if you are wondering) and one of the last times I wrote on this topic, I said we needed a new term because we kept using that phrase over and over. Being that yesterday was Star Wars day, using the glittering jewel center of the galaxy and the dustball on the Outer Rim seems to be a perfectly timely way of finding a new nomenclature.
We talked yesterday about a lot of offensive issues. We talked about how the Cards had trouble reaching five runs, for instance. So, of course, they go out and put up five runs in the first inning. We talked about how T.J. McFarland might be done, so of course he has a scoreless inning with just one hit allowed. We talked about Paul Goldschmidt starting to hit and Nolan Arenado cooling off some, so Goldy goes 0-2 (though he did walk three times) and Nolan goes 2-4 with a home run and five RBI. I should have talked about my low bank account and how I never will be in The Mandalorian as well, I guess.
If Adam Wainwright had not been on his game yesterday, though, things might have gotten a little dicier. After all, the Cards put up five in the first (the Tony La Russa special) but then went quiet for a long stretch of the game, only stirring again in the seventh. They were able to score five runs over the last three innings, which is pretty solid as well, but we’ve seen so many games where they score a clump in the first and then don’t again that folks could have gotten concerned.
That is, if Wainwright wasn’t completely dominating the Royals. He was, which made those first inning runs seem gigantic. Wainwright wound up allowing just one hit and one walk in seven innings, efficiently moving through the Kansas City lineup. Waino threw less than 90 pitches (only getting two strikeouts does keep the pitch count down) and got ball after ball hit to the good hands of his infielders. Fifteen ground balls in seven innings, including one double play? That’ll do most every day.
You have to give the Hero to Nolan Arenado for his performance, but Wainwright was right there as well as Tyler O’Neill. TON has been really out of sorts, but he had the RBI single on Tuesday and then yesterday had a triple, a home run, and three RBI. If he’s starting to find it at the plate, things are going to go a lot better for this team. Having him, Goldschmidt, and Arenado all hitting at their capabilities will if nothing else put a lot of baserunners on at the top of the lineup.
Even Paul DeJong got in on the action. No, he didn’t get a hit, but he did draw a walk and then drive in a run with a sacrifice fly. Given some of the games he’s had lately, I’m sure that’s at least some small consolation. With Edmundo Sosa out for a little bit, DeJong’s going to be playing every day and maybe he can find something in the process.
The Goat in this one has to be Albert Pujols. Before the game, he said to reporters that he was “going to do some damage” but the only damage he did was to his batting average. He went 0-4 and left two men on before being pinch-hit for with Corey Dickerson in his last at bat. The early returns on Pujols were good but he’s starting to slide into more of the area we kinda expected him to be in. Whether it’s a slump or just what we’ll have to deal with remains to be seen.
Cards head out to San Francisco for a quick West Coast swing. The Giants have proven that 2021 wasn’t a fluke and this is going to be a tough series for St. Louis, but if they can come out of it with a split or better I think they’ll feel pretty good about where they stand. We’ll see how it shakes out!