Attention, everyone worried about the St. Louis Cardinals offense through the first two games: the bats are still there, the Cards know how to use them, and they can indeed still hit and score runs. They just needed another long rain delay to figure that out …
And another long delay was definitely in store before the Cardinals 7-6 win over the Cincinnati Reds. Once it finally began, it was about as crazy as the amount of time they spent waiting to play on Wednesday and Thursday. No pitchers’ duel this time, although some great pitching to close it out. And here are seven things we learned.
Your opinion of Lance Lynn’s performance yesterday depends on your opinion of Lance Lynn. To his legion of detractors, it was just another typical start and emphasized why you can’t stand him. Of course he had a bad inning — this time it was the first, when he allowed back-to-back mammoth home runs to put the Reds up 3-0 — and of course his luck from last year of getting tremendous run support continued.
If you like Lynn, yes, the bad inning frustrated as it always does but he settled in after that and gave up plenty of hits but limited the damage.
2. Trevor Rosenthal is Trevor Rosenthal
The situation doesn’t seem to matter — Trevor Rosenthal will just deliver … and then just smile about it once is job is complete. Four-out save in a one-run game? Entering the game to face Brandon Phillips, with Billy Hamilton just dying to steal a base now that he’s finally on? Five pitches, end of inning. Ninth inning with Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier due up? Seven pitches, game over, that’s a winner! Trevor is Trevor, and there shouldn’t be any detractors of his out there. Right?
3. Matt Adams doesn’t care about the shift … or Reds fans
All series, the Reds thought they could contain Matt Adams by shifting the defense toward right field. No big deal. He’ll just hit it left. Two of his three hits — a second inning single and a fourth inning double — were to left. His sixth inning double was to right, and was his first hit of the series that didn’t go to the left side.
Then there’s the whole trying-to-catch-the-foul-ball incident that’s getting plenty of attention from everywhere: Deadspin, Yahoo, CBS Sports, NBC Sports, ESPN … and no doubt countless other blogs too. But if a fan of any team deserved shoving — even though this guy really didn’t do anything to Adams except catch the ball — it’s a fan of the Reds. (You know you agree.)
4. Jhonny Peralta wanted you to notice his first Cardinals hit
Sometimes it’s easy to overlook the first hit by a new guy to the Cardinals, if it’s just some run-of-the-mill single. Jhonny Peralta made sure you noticed his first, by homering to left field. Nice work, Jhon. But let’s not wait so long for the second hit — and, now that your first is out of the play, an ordinary single will be just fine.
5. Pat Neshek seems like a really great guy — but not a great pitcher
Yes, there’s a small sample size to deal with in just two appearances but it’s really difficult to be impressed with what Pat Neshek has done on the mound as a Cardinal thus far. On Opening Day, he faced one batter and walked him. Yesterday, he came in with two on (after Kevin Siegrist was ineffective) and promptly gave up Todd Frazier’s second homer of the game to make the score 7-6.
But I did enjoy listening to Danny Mac and Ricky’s conversation on FOX Sports Midwest (yes, really) while Neshek was in the game about his baseball card collecting and of course am very happy his newborn son is now home and doing well. (This picture from Neshek’s Twitter is just adorable.) Sounds like he’d be a terrific guy to hang out and chat with — which would be more fun than watching him pitch right now.
6. Jon Jay might be trying just a little too hard
It probably is difficult for Jon Jay to adjust to being a bench player this season, which makes it understandable that he’d want to make a good impression during his first start of 2014. At times he did, like when he drove in the tying run in the fourth inning. Right after that, though, not so much when he was caught stealing. And his adventures in the field made us realize why we already like Peter Bourjos out there regularly.
7. Matt Holliday can always makes things interesting
In addition to being involved in the adventurous outfield play with Jay, he had some fun at the plate too.
The single was the result of a replay challenge, which Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch described:
A home-run review by the umpires, which went to New York headquarters, sanctioned the original call and Matt Holliday’s seventh-inning drive off the top of the right-field wall was only a single, loading the bases. But that was better than what the Reds’ outfielders tried to sell the umpires as it appeared that leaping center fielder Billy Hamilton might have touched the ball and then deflected it to right fielder Jay Bruce, who made a diving catch of the carom.
The 403-foot out was an obviously very long fly ball hit again to Hamilton to the very deepest part of center that he caught at the wall — just in front of the 404-foot sign.
To avoid any further outfield adventures, Mike Matheny replaced Holliday in the bottom of the eighth — Bourjos entered the game to play center, Jay moved to right and Allen Craig moved to left. Considering two of the final three outs were fly balls Craig caught, perhaps a wise move?
Now the Cardinals head to Pittsburgh and a weekend series at PNC Park to begin their 2014 battles against the Pirates. Last year’s games, of course, were many and entertaining — culminating in the full five games in the National League Division Series.
First up to face the Pirates is the guy who struggled against them last season, Shelby Miller, so here’s hoping for a new beginning this season. Opposing him is Gerrit Cole, who made two starts against the Cardinals in 2013 — both in the NLDS. Game time is 6:05 p.m. Central.
Christine Coleman is the lead writer for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates and like AMF on Facebook if you don’t already.