After the lost weekend in Los Angeles against the NL West’s first place Dodgers, facing the last place San Diego Padres was a nice way for the St. Louis Cardinals to get back on the winning track. The Cardinals completed the sweep with a 6-3 victory.
This was the fourth sweep the Cards were involved in this month — and now the second positive one, after sweeping the Diamondbacks May 7-9. Following that, the Braves swept the Cards.
Last night’s game also helped several players get back on a good track as well.
After beginning the season with a 6-0 record, Lance Lynn stumbled a bit during his last two starts. And while he wasn’t at his best last night either — he gave up three runs in the first inning, including a lead-off homer to Will Venable — he settled in after that and pitched five scoreless innings.
Plus the Cardinals immediately tied the game in the bottom of the first against old pal and former Cardinal Jeff Suppan — something that Lynn appreciated, according to Mike Still of Cardinals.com:
“They carried me, offensively, defensively and that’s all,” Lynn said. “I’m just trying to make pitches, and they carried me.”
(Okay, so I only included that quote because of the visual image of Cardinals like Rafael Furcal and Skip Schumaker, who combined to score the first run of the game, physically trying to carry Lance Lynn. Our Wolf Pup is obviously not a small boy.)
Also looking more like themselves again last night:
- Carlos Beltran: He hit a two-run homer in the fifth that put the Cardinals on top 5-3. It was his first homer since Mother’s Day.
- David Freese: After his two-day break, Freeser was back in the lineup and went two-for-four. He had an RBI-single in the first inning, then a mammoth home run in the seventh (his first since May 11). And he had this to say after the game: “I slowed everything down mentally, physically,” Freese said. “I tried to get back to the basics. I’m not going to overthink what happened tonight. I got a couple hits. We won the ballgame, which is obviously the most important thing. But just a refresher [for me], and it was a nice night.”
- Marc Rzepczynski: After three straight outings in which he allowed runs, Rzep pitched a scoreless one. He gave up a single to the first batter he faced in the eighth, but the runner was quickly erased on a double-play, which was followed by a strikeout.
Matt Adams also had a good night, with two hits and an RBI. And, though obviously a rookie not even in the big leagues for a week, he certainly sounds like one of the gang already, in this from Mike Still:
While Lynn slowly walked off the field with eyes fixated on the grass after the top of the first, his teammates were gearing up to erase the Padres’ lead. “You could tell that we still had that competitiveness,” said first baseman Matt Adams, who finished the game 2-for-4 with a double and his first career RBI. “We wanted to go out there and battle, get to [Jeff] Suppan. Everybody had good at-bats. Seeing the first three or four hitters go up there and have good ABs, it kind of sparked a light in the dugout for the rest of the guys.”
We need a nickname for Matt Adams. Yes, I know (thanks to Twitter) Patch is what his minor league teammates call him. But there’s got to be something better … something along the lines of Wolf Pup for Lance Lynn (which was courtesy of our friend Teraesa last year). Ideas?
All in all, a nice win and a nice series for the battle-worn Cardinals — who, despite the addition of Matt Carpenter, only have seven players on the DL compared to those poor, poor Dodgers with eight. However, even their long list pales in comparison to the Red Sox, with 13. Why doesn’t ESPN ever talk about the Red Sox?
Speaking of DL, Lance Berkman is undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery this morning (as I write this, actually) in his hometown of Houston. Read more about that from Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. UPDATE: LB’s surgery was moved to Friday, according to a press release from the Cardinals, due to a conflict in the surgeon’s schedule.
Finally, the Cardinals begin a four-game series tonight against the last-place — yes, last-place — Philadelphia Phillies. They’ve had injury problems of their own. Besides Ryan Howard, who we last saw make the final out of the NLDS last October and rupture his Achille’s tendon, the Phillies have eight other players on the DL. Wait, that makes nine. So more than those poor, poor Dodgers???
Anyway, Jake Westbrook gets the start for the Cardinals tonight and faces Joe Blanton. Game time is 7:15 p.m. Central.
Christine Coleman is the senior St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.