Yes, the Central standings are looking very interesting these days.
Ah, baseball …
The Cardinals at the moment are the closest to first place they’ve been since May 27, when they were 1 1/2 games back. They’re a season-high eight games over .500 at 50-42.
The Brewers, on the other hand, are struggling right now. Just nine days ago, they began July with a 6 1/2 game lead. They lost that day and have lost six of seven since then, plus are 2-8 in their last 10 games.
Then there are the Reds, who are a half-game behind the Cardinals at the moment and thus 2 1/2 behind the Brewers. They spent the first two months of the season below .500, falling as low as six games under at the end of May. On June 24 they were 38-38 and 7 1/2 games behind the Brewers, but have since gone 11-4 (including winning two of three over Milwaukee last weekend) and currently have their second five-game winning streak of that stretch. This afternoon, they’ll look to sweep the Cubs in a five-game series before the Pirates come to town.
After the season’s first 15 games, the St. Louis Cardinals are 9-6 and in second place in the NL Central. And all 15 games have been against the other four teams in the Central, as the Cardinals finished up their series in Milwaukee by falling to the first-place Brewers 5-1 yesterday.
Before moving on to face the Washington Nationals for four games starting tonight and the New York Mets for four after that, is there anything we can learn from those first of 19 match-ups have with each Central team?
The Cards lost just one of the five series they’ve played, only taking one of the three games in Pittsburgh against the Pirates. Otherwise, they’ve won two of three against everyone else. That’s good to see — and especially good was stopping the nine-game winning streak the Brewers had coming into play on Monday.
The Brewers have to be the surprise of the NL Central so far, even though we’re just in the third week of the season. They have the best record in the majors right now at 11-4 and were the first team to double-digit wins. Their pitching is the best in MLB at the moment, with a team ERA of 2.17, with their starters ERA 2.52 and their bullpen ERA an incredible 1.33. What are the odds, however, that the Brewers pitching will still be so sparkling when the Cards meet them again on April 28?
Looking at the rest of the Central, the Cards overall ERA is 3.51 with the starters at 2.78 (third best in the NL, behind the Braves and Brewers) and bullpen at 5.06. The Reds are slightly better overall with an ERA of 3.50, though their relievers ERA is even worse at 5.18. The overall ERA for their starters is 2.94. In the standings, the Reds are 6-9 and in fourth place. Continue reading →
The St. Louis Cardinals are undefeated at Busch Stadium this season!
This expression looks unfortunately familiar. (Photo: St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Just wanted to emphasize that before also mentioning Lance Lynn is 2-0. Yep, the man who’s now allowed 8 earned runs and 16 hits in 11 innings is right there among the league leaders in wins. (And, yes, many think wins are a dumb and ineffective stat. But it still exists.)
Happily, there was plenty of offense behind Lynn as well — that’s a better thing to consider — and the 13 hits and 7 runs are what led the Cardinals to a 7-5 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
Since a work obligation kept me from watching the game, Michael wrote this first stanza to describe last night’s game. In catching the game’s highlights, I felt compelled to add on …
Lynn is what he is.
But the offense is what it
Is, bailing him out.
It happened again during today’s Cardinals home opener win on FOX Sports Midwest, as it pretty much has every single game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds since Aug. 10, 2010.
(Hopefully I don’t need to remind you what transpired that day at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. If so, here’s a one-word summary: brawl.)
As the Reds second baseman strolled to the plate in the top of the third inning to a chorus of boos, Dan McLaughlin first said sarcastically about Phillips “they just love him here in St. Louis.” After Ricky Horton chuckled, McLaughlin continued with a familiar (since he says this every single time the two teams play) refrain: “I’d bet they’d love him if he wore the Birds on the Bat.” Horton’s response was “I’m sure we would.”
I know my opinion — no way, not ever — and that seemed to be the popular Twitter reaction among those I follow who were tweeting at the time McLaughlin made his latest comment.
So, what’s your thought? Would you, as Danny Mac assures us is the case, like Brandon Phillips if he was a Cardinal? Or do you too hold a grudge and think Phillips is just an attention-hungry idiot? Vote in the poll below.
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.
1. Lance Lynn is Lance Lynn
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.
After Mother Nature decided we needed to wait over two-and-a-half hours for Wacha Wednesday to begin, we as St. Louis Cardinals fans were treated to our second consecutive pitchers’ duel to begin the 2014 season.
Only this was a little more frustrating.
Because any game that ends with the other team celebrating a walk-off 1-0 win certainly is.
And because even though the Reds pitchers struck out 12 Cardinals (with nine by starter Tony Cingrani) and walked three plus gave up three hits, the Cards couldn’t capitalize and were 0 for six with runners in scoring position when they did have chances. Now, the chances were limited — yet no less frustrating to watch, especially after the two-plus hour delay.
Ah, well. Game two of 162. Too early to be concerned about the offense. Too early to panic over Carlos Martinez allowing three hits in the ninth and the walk-off run. Although of course everyone is panicking anyway, because as fans that’s what we do.
There’s no such thing as too much hype and expectation, right? So let me just add to it — happy Wacha Wednesday!
St. Louis Post-Dispatch/ STLToday.com
Yes, tonight is the season debut of Michael Wacha and, while we as Cardinals fans eagerly anticipate each game, I’m guessing tonight is one even those national baseball writers who don’t or can’t pay attention to every Cardinals game daily because they’re too caught up in the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Mike Trout and Bryce Harper will be tuning in or at least keeping up with. Because they remember last October as much as we remember last October. And they’re curious, just like we’re curious, to see Wacha’s 2014 debut.
Which, obviously, is only one game in a season that will have many, many starts that will be both good and sometimes not so much. Still, it will be exciting to see him back out on the mound once again — no matter the outcome.
Even with Wacha’s brief big league resume, he’s faced the Cincinnati Reds twice — for four innings in relief last Aug. 28 (in an Adam Wainwright start we all want to forget about) and then as a starter five days after that in which the Cards lost 1-0 after he left the game. In 10 innings over the two appearances he didn’t allow a run, gave up three hits in each game, walked three and struck out 10.
When there are nine tight, tense and dramatic innings that end with the St. Louis Cardinals on the right side of 1-0 Opening Day victory over the Cincinnati Reds, it’s pretty hard to be unhappy about it.
When the lone run is courtesy of a Yadier Molina seventh inning homer — after the crowd had already been booing him all day? Great.
When Adam Wainwright throws seven scoreless innings and gives up only three hits while striking out nine to not only pick up his first-ever Opening Day win but also the 100th of his career? Even better.
When we get to see Kevin Siegrist, Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal throw 21 of their combined 28 pitches for strikes to get the final six outs of the game — especially when three of those outs are in a messy eighth inning? Fantastic.
Oh, and for Johnny Cueto to pitch nearly as well as Wainwright by allowing just Yadi’s homer and two other hits while striking out eight Cardinals in seven innings — and be the losing pitcher? What more could you want?
Well, sure, you could want to not see the Cardinals defense commit three errors. Yet each of the three who committed those errors — birthday boy Peter Bourjos, Kolten Wong and Matt Adams — also made good defensive plays. The first inning catch by Bourjos was great (and, sadly, not worthy of being a video highlight from the game according to MLB’s website) and proved right away why his speed will be such an asset. Continue reading →
It’s been 151 days since the last St. Louis Cardinals game that counted, which was Game Six of the World Series on Oct. 30. Now, it’s 2014 and a brand-new season begins today. The proverbial slate is clear — even the Cubs, Marlins and Twins still have a chance. (Theoretically.)
That’s the beauty of Opening Day: new beginning, fresh start, all those cliches every sports columnist and blogger trots out every year just for today because those too are part of the baseball tradition … even though the Dodgers have already played three games, the Diamondbacks two and the Padres one. Today, though, is Opening Day for real, because the Cardinals are playing.
And that’s what we’ve been waiting for. Daydreaming and counting down to Opening Day is what got us through the very long and very awful winter with so much snow and Polar Vortex cold which all seems far in the past with the ground now clear and the temperatures warmer.
But, finally, here we are.
Our Cardinals are taking the field at last and facing off against the Reds when 3:10 p.m. Central Time arrives. Yeah, Johnny Cueto is starting and we all rightfully hate him and we’ll no doubt have to hear from Danny Mac and Al what a terrific guy Brandon Phillips is, just like they tell us every single Cards-Reds game, and they’ll have to mention August 2010 and all of that and still talk about Dusty Baker even though he’s gone — but it will be Cardinals baseball and we will be watching it again. Therefore, it’s good.
Ah, Monday morning … right after Daylight Saving Time begins. And just when we were beginning to enjoy the fact it was brightening up after 6 a.m. Patience is now needed again for the longer days ahead.