Shane Robinson hasn’t gotten a lot of attention this season, and probably rightfully so. He hadn’t done much, hitting just .100 before he was sent to Memphis in late April and, now that he was recalled this week, flying out as a pinch-hitter on Wednesday night to drop his average to .095.
Then came last night.
Robinson started in right field (with Allen Craig at first and Matt Adams getting a day off) and definitely made a big impact: three hits and two RBI that tied the game in leading the Cardinals to a 4-2 win and sweep of the Diamondbacks. He also scored the final run of the game on Matt Carpenter’s RBI single.
Great to see for Shane? Definitely. Plus his success — two singles and a two-RBI double — boosted his batting average all the way to .200. Progress!
Also great to see: Allen Craig driving in the go-ahead run in the seventh, after he singled in the sixth. Craig still isn’t the Craig we’ve gotten used to, but he’s showing signs at times. Progress!
Plus all four runs by the Cardinals came with two outs. With those, the Cards as a team are now hitting .217/.320/.343 with two outs and runners in scoring position and .235/.322/.334 with RISP overall. Progress!
With just two runs allowed, the pitching obviously went well — although you certainly wouldn’t have known that if you glanced at Twitter during the first inning, when Lance Lynn allowed two runs on three hits and a sacrifice fly. Calamity! Lance Lynn is the worst! OMG! Release him! They’re doomed! Continue reading →
Welcome back, Cardinals offense! You were greatly missed. Yes, it was definitely nice to see runs being scored — more Sunday, 7, as the Cardinals beat the Pirates 7-0, than they had in Wednesday through Saturday’s games combined — and even a home run for the first time in 366 at-bats since Allen Craig last launched one on April 16.
And while things are starting to get better at the plate, just like Michael wrote they would on Saturday, one game is apparently not enough of a jumpstart, since two roster moves were announced late Sunday night. Promoted to the Cardinals are infielder Greg Garcia and outfielder Randal Grichuk and one of the subsequent demotions, Shane Robinson, is not a surprise. But the other is: Kolten Wong.
“This will give him a chance to play every day and if he gets back on track, that would be helpful,” said Mozeliak.
Back to yesterday, in addition to the offense, it’s always good to see Adam Wainwright be Adam Wainwright, isn’t it? Here’s more on him and six other highlights from the series-winning victory.
1. The Cards manufacturing a first-inning run
Matt Carpenter did a very Matt Carpenter-like thing (guys doing what they typically do was a theme of the day) and doubled to lead off the game for the Cardinals. While there was plenty of Twitter outrage when Jon Jay then bunted him over to third base, the move immediately paid dividends: the Cards took a 1-0 lead on a Matt Holliday sacrifice fly. With the way the offense had been struggling, the move was understandable at the moment — regardless of opinions on Mike Matheny and his bunting strategies. Continue reading →
Friday is usually eagerly anticipated, since it’s the end of the work or school week and the start of the weekend. So far in 2014, the St. Louis Cardinals certainly don’t seem to like Fridays — they’ve yet to win a game on that day.
The losses have been frustrating too, such as that 12-2 bullpen nightmare in Pittsburgh and last week’s in 11 innings after the Cards battled back to tie the Cubs in the ninth. Add last night’s L to the list.
Maybe it was the baseball gods’ revenge after all the mockery of the Nationals four errors on Thursday. Perhaps it was the assuredness that of course the Cards would win since they had an eight-game regular season winning streak against the Nats and Michael Wacha on the mound.
But baseball is baseball. And all Friday nights the Cardinals spend in Washington, D.C., are not fantastic.
Some games Matt Carpenter will miss a catch in a crucial situation for his second error of the night to load the bases for the Nats with none out in a 1-1 game. Sometimes Michael Wacha will bounce a changeup in the dirt in front of home and — difficult as it is to believe — Yadier Molina won’t get it, and then make a throw past Wacha so that two runs ultimately end up scoring to give the Nationals a 3-1 lead. Some nights, after a fantastic 12-pitch at-bat by Jhonny Peralta where he advanced the two runners to second and third while grounding out, Matt Holliday swings at the very first pitch Drew Storen throws and fouls out. And, at times, games end when Shane Robinson grounds into a double play with Matt Adams waiting on deck to pinch-hit.
So it goes
The good thing? Not much time to dwell on this one, since it’s about three hours until the Cardinals and Nationals play again at noon Central Time. Lance Lynn goes for the Cards against Jordan Zimmermann.
Even better? The Cards have done very well in their two Saturday games so far in 2014.
For the first four innings, Game Four of the World Series was good from the St. Louis Cardinals perspective.
Then it wasn’t.
And, since we all know there are nine innings in a game, we’re now looking at a 2-2 Series tie after the Cardinals lost to the Boston Red Sox 4-2.
Through the first four innings, Lance Lynn was terrific — facing only the minimum number of Red Sox after the one base runner he did allow (David Ortiz, of course, on a second inning single) was erased on a double play.
Plus the Cardinals scored a run in the third when Matt Carpenter singled with one out, advanced to second when Jacoby Ellsbury let the ball get past him in center field for an error and scored when Carlos Beltran (of course) singled.
Then the fifth inning arrived, as did the beginning of the end. We all know about Lynn and his one bad inning. As an October special, it actually extended over two innings, the fifth and the sixth. Although the fifth inning actually could have been much worse, as a lead-off double by Ortiz (of course) and back-to-back walks to Jonny Gomes and Xander Bogaerts loaded the bases with no outs. Stephen Drew was next, with a sacrifice fly to left to tie the game — and the only run of the inning.
Last night was a “Murphy’s Law” kind of night — not what the Cardinals wanted (or expected) in Game 1 of the World Series.
It was ugly all around. Adam Wainwright struggled as much as Waino ever does. Pete Kozma — in the game for his defensive abilities — had a pair of mistakes through two innings (one of which ended up in an overturned call at second base), and Shane Robinson bobbled a ball that resulted in three early runs. Waino and Yadier Molina reinacted Jon Jay and Carlos Beltran’s lack of communication from the NLCS, watching a pop up drop between them. Beltran made a sensational leaping catch to rob Big Papi of a grand slam in the second inning, only to leave the game with a rib contusion from slamming into the low outfield wall.
With the bases loaded and one out in the fourth, David Freese played the opposite of World Series hero and bounced right into an inning-ending double play. The next inning, with runners at second and third with two away, it should have been Beltran’s at bat. Instead, it was Jon Jay who, despite coming up with some big hits before, wasn’t a likely hero against lefty Jon Lester.
Six is storied number for the St. Louis Cardinals. The retired number of the greatest Cardinal Stan Musial, of course. A serious number, as we all know from the commercials. And October Games Sixes are pretty special as well.
Yes, “Game Six” immediately calls to mind the 2011 World Series — rightly so, as it’s one of the best World Series games in history with the majestic ninth and 10th inning comebacks and walk-off “we will see you tomorrow night!” 11th-inning moment.
Game Four of the NLCS was like an epic action movie — dramatic moments, heroes both predictable and less so who face rough times, villains also predictable and less so, enough tension to keep you interested up until the very end. And, thankfully, the right ending with the heroes emerging triumphant: Cardinals 4, Dodgers 2.
Yes, the win gives the Cardinals a 3-1 advantage in the NLCS. But all Cardinals fans should know well enough nothing is guaranteed yet — didn’t we see a certain movie last year where the “heroes” ultimately wore black and orange, not red as good guys always should? So this epic tale is not finished quite yet …
But the latest installment was ultimately quite fulfilling.
And, as with any good story, it’s outcome was not predictable at the beginning.
To start with, not everyone was happy with director Mike Matheny’s choice for last night’s lead role, Lance Lynn. And those who voiced such displeasure before the game felt like they were the correct ones when Lynn ran into trouble in the second inning — a quick check of Twitter at the time more than made that perfectly clear. Then again a one-out single, walk, line out and another walk to load the bases, albeit to the catcher with pitcher Ricky Nolasco up next, can cause such reactions. But perhaps Lynn just wanted to keep everyone watching involved in the game, as Nolasco was called out on strikes.
All too often, kids come into professional baseball hot off of a collegiate career with potential through the roof. It’s not unusual for the transition to pro ball to take some time. It IS unusual for a guy less than a year removed from his final college game to not only be invited to Spring Training, but also force his way into the conversation about the Big League rotation.
When Cardinal veterans like Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright jump on board, you have to believe there’s something to it.
Cardinals fans know first hand what happens when a guy doesn’t live up to the astronomical expectations. Colby Rasmus? Brendan Ryan? Tyler Greene? Not pretty. And with a rotation of Wainwright, Jaime Garcia, Jake Westbrook, Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller (which left out Joe Kelly and Trevor Rosenthal), there was no need to rush Wacha. Continue reading →
Where would the 2013 Cardinals be without Joe Kelly?
Thankfully, they don’t have to wonder. The “Ferrari in the garage” that is Kelly has been doing what any sports car should: cruising along and providing a lot of happiness (to Cardinals fans, at the very least) along the way.
Last night, the Cardinals won for the seventh time in the eight starts he’s made since officially joining the starting rotation on July 6 — they beat the Braves 6-2. And while the Ferrari didn’t necessarily achieve optimum performance last night, he motored along well enough for six innings and allowed the Braves two runs on a Justin Upton homer, one of seven hits he allowed while striking out three and walking two.
‘He’s like having a Ferrari in your garage,” second baseman Matt Carpenter said. ”He’s settling in as a starter and he’s running with it. I love it when he goes out there and competes. He’s aggressive and he’s pitching with confidence.”
None of us as Cardinals fans enjoy what we’ve witnessed on this 0-4 road trip. Longest losing streak of the season — ugh. But how about a little perspective?
Of course it’s easy to panic and be all doom and gloom and think trades have to be made right this second since the trade deadline is tomorrow and things are terrible today.
And it was terrible to watch Allen Craig and Yadier Molina strike out five times between them last night, a season first. (They did strike out twice each on Opening Day in Arizona — which, after their second back-to-back Ks last night prompted me to see if they’d each struck out that many times in the same game before.)
But we know the team can, and has, played better.
And will again.
So here are some bright spots — in general and from last night in particular.