Frustrating weekend of St. Louis Cardinals baseball? Absolutely.
Most disappointing series thus far in 2013? Yep.
Discouraging that the consecutive-series-wins streak came at the hands of the — gasp — Miami Marlins? Of course.
The end of the baseball world? Nope.
The Cardinals, even after losing 2 of 3, still have the best record in MLB at 44-25. They are still atop the National League Central standings and have 2 1/2 game lead over the Cincinnati Reds and 3 game lead over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Even with the starting pitching struggles over the weekend, the Cardinals still maintain the best starter ERA in the majors at 2.97. And, while it’s cutesy and all to refer to the Marlins as a minor league team, truth is they have a winning record in June at 7-6.
(Just as a frame of reference, the other “minor league” team so many love to mock also — the Houston Astros — are 8-7 this month and have won 4 straight.)
And, while not a fact but instead just a trite expression, a baseball season is a marathon and not a sprint.
Sure, that consecutive series win streak was terrific. But, to once again be trite, nothing lasts forever. There are going to be bumps in the road. It’s not how you start, or how long a streak goes, but you finish. You’ve got to play them one day at a time … Sorry, getting a little carried away with the cliches. But it is the 25th anniversary of the release of “Bull Durham,” after all.
It’s always easy to second guess and think we know more than those in charge, right? Because of course we do. No need to look any further than the performance by Tyler Lyons yesterday for an example of that. Lyons staying in the big leagues and Wacha being sent back to Memphis — maybe to us as fans it made a little bit of sense of Friday when it was announced, as there is wisdom to Wacha getting more experience in the minors. But it makes no sense when the Cards are losing to the Marlins because of Lyons bad day (that now gives him a 4.65 ERA and 2-3 record).
The same with giving Matt Holliday, Pete Kozma and Yadier Molina the day off yesterday (even though both Yadi and Holliday ended up pinch-hitting in a hey-maybe-these-Cardinals-never-do-just-quit 9th inning). Before the game, it might have sounded OK to give them a rest at the end of a long road trip. But then, as the game went on and Ricky Nolasco was shutting down the Cardinals, those bats certainly would have been nice for more than just cameo appearances.
If only we could be in charge. The Cardinals would be 69-0 this season so far … or, at the very least, 66-3. We might not have been able to do anything about those games Mitchell Boggs lost either — although we wouldn’t have kept him around so long. So maybe they would be 69-0.
Injuries? Pitchers in the rotation and bullpen who wouldn’t be here otherwise? None of that would likely have happened if we were in charge either.
Ah, well. Time to put the weekend in the rear-view mirror and look ahead — to the Cubs, who instead of sweeping the Mets over the weekend had Carlos Marmol give them the gift of a 9th-inning-comeback win yesterday instead.
Four games, starting tonight at 6 p.m. on ESPN and Fox Sports Midwest. And while it’s always easy to want to dismiss the Cubs just because they’re the Cubs, their starting pitching has been perhaps surprisingly good this season. Tonight’s starter, Travis Wood has a 2.65 ERA (though a 5-5 record). Luckily, Shelby Miller’s is better at 2.21.
And, just remember: they’ve got to play them one day at a time.
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.