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 →
When you think back to the 2006 NLCS between the Cardinals and the Mets, chances are you recall Game Seven. Which makes sense, as it was a tremendous and intense game — to stroll down memory lane: the Mets took a 1-0 first inning lead, the Cardinals tied it in the second, the score remained 1-1 until the ninth inning although the Cards would have taken the lead if not for Endy Chavez catching Scott Rolen’s homer. The ninth inning was epic just in itself as Yadi homered after Rolen singled to definitely put the Cards on top 3-1, then rookie closer Adam Wainwright gave up two singles and a two-out walk to load the bases before Carlos Beltran stepped to the plate and Waiwright threw just three more pitches …
Game Seven’s majesty wouldn’t have happened, however, without So Taguchi’s heroics six days earlier in Game Two at Shea Stadium.
After winning Game One, the Mets took a 3-0 first inning lead thanks to a rough night from Chris Carpenter — he gave up five earned runs and walked four in five innings pitched. The Mets led 6-4 in the seventh inning and David Eckstein and Chris Duncan quickly grounded out and flied out to start the inning. That Guy Who Used to Play First Base then singled and Jim Edmonds walked, bringing up Scott Spiezio and his little red facial hair thing — starting at third base for the game instead of Scott Rolen. The Speez launched it very deep to right, off the top of the wall, and ended up at third with a game-tying triple.
The game remained tied 6-6 until Taguchi, who entered the game as a defensive replacement for Duncan in the eighth, stepped to the plate. He was facing Mets closer Billy Wagner, who had 40 saves during the 2006 regular season. And Taguchi had two homers during 2006 (although he hit one in Game Three of the 2006 NLDS, his only at-bat of that postseason thus far). The count went full. And then …
Yesterday’s game against the Mets feature a few big bombs (um, HELLO Pete Kozma! I see that grand slam power. Bravo, buddy!). But the one that meant the most came from our favorite Molina. And, not just because it was his first homer since returning to the lineup after the World Baseball Classic.
See, Mets fans thought they’d be cute and try to get under Yadi’s skin. Their taunt of choice was a simple, yet to-the-point chant of “Over-rated! Over-rated!” as Molina stepped to the plate.
Hold there, for a moment.
Just in case we’re not clear, here are a few basic definitions of this choice word: