It was a beautiful 7-1 win for the St. Louis Cardinals over the Atlanta Braves last night.
Wait — it actually was a gorgeous win, with Peter Bourjos having the best game of his Cardinals career so far and Adam Wainwright having a pretty stellar night too, both on the mound and at the plate. It was the kind of game that made us remember those times when these things used to be routine … everything coming together on both offense and pitching in the same game. But, as we all learned long ago, you’ve got to play them one game at a time.
And this one game was definitely a step forward for the now 18-17 Cardinals, with 13 hits to go with those seven runs on offense and the pitching continuing to be such a strength.
But which of our two heroes had the better night?
You’ll actually find both of them at the top of the stats list of the Cards hottest hitters in the past seven days, as Wainwright has hit .600, which includes a double and a single last night plus two runs scored. Overall, he’s hitting .400 for the season — thus well on his way to being The King Of All Pitchers with his stated intention to win both the Silver Slugger and Cy Young Award. He also became the first National League pitcher to six wins this season, joining Mark Buehrle of the Blue Jays who won his sixth yesterday too. Wainwright allowed the one run on six hits while striking out six and walking win. Obviously, a nice bounceback from his previous start last week at Wrigley Field.
Then there’s Peter Bourjos. After his rare-as-of-late start on Monday night in which he went two for four and was rewarded with the chance to sit on the bench Tuesday until entering the game as a defensive replacement in the eighth, he definitely made his presence back in the lineup Wednesday known — from the very first pitch thrown to him by Mike Minor. Continue reading →
No positives after today’s Cardinals game, which was a 3-0 loss to the Cubs.
For the first time since April 8, 2013, the Cardinals are below .500. They’ve now lost four of their last five games.
The offense, as you can tell by the score, disappeared once again. The Cards had only 7 hits today, all singles — with 3 from Matt Adams, 2 from Jhonny Peralta, and 1 each from Yadier Molina and pinch-hitter Mark Ellis. The one best chance they had to score, in the top of the 9th, ended when Jon Jay grounded into a double play with Yadi and Peralta on.
They were 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position. They left 8 on base.
Michael Wacha was good, giving up 2 runs on a 6th inning bomb to center by Junior Lake along with 4 other hits while striking out 6. But he wasn’t perfect, which is what’s needed with an offense like today’s. Randy Choate wasn’t perfect either, allowing a homer to Anthony Rizzo — his first homer allowed since 2012, and his first as a Cardinal.
So, what now?
What’s your one solution to get the offense going?
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.
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.
Umbrellas and raindrops were key parts of yesterday’s home opener but, thankfully, the rain wasn’t enough to delay the game. And the St. Louis Cardinals offense apparently likes being home, as the Cards scored five runs on nine hits to triumph over the Cincinnati Reds 5-3 in damp and drizzly home opening game.
Seven Cardinals had hits in the game — Peter Bourjos had two! — and Yadier Molina showed once again how much he loves driving in runs against the Reds with a three-run first inning double. While Trevor Rosenthal had an uncharacteristic ninth inning, it wasn’t as wild as past home opener adventures in recent years and the Cards won their first opening game at Busch since 2010. Maybe Trevor just wanted to keep us interested …
And while the photo below shows a little bit of that gray and rainy atmosphere, the bunting was out and the Opening Day logo was on the scoreboard and the field — therefore, it was a beautiful day at Busch Stadium.
Here’s a look at the good, better and best of the festivities and the game, and special thanks to Laura for the photos she provided.
Leading off the parade of Hall of Famers was the newest of them all, former manager Tony La Russa wearing his red blazer for the first time. He looked good, and did a nice job greeting his fellow Hall of Famers, Mike Matheny, the coaches and the players as the first one in the home plate receiving line. He and Ozzie Smith even had a polite moment as they shook each others’ hands. And, as Dan McLaughlin and Ricky Horton pointed out on television and which I also noticed when watching, TLR even steered Pat Neshek in the right direction when he was going to walk behind everyone.
From the very beginning, things were much improved for the St. Louis Cardinals compared to Friday night. For that matter, things were much improved in facing the Pittsburgh Pirates Francisco Liriano than they had been during the entire 2013 regular season when they only scored two runs off him in three games.
Last night, the Cardinals scored two runs before they even made two outs in the top of the first and finished that inning with a 3-0 lead. Matt, Matt and Matt all played a role as Carpenter led off with a single, Holliday drove him in following a Jhonny Peralta walk and Adams followed an Allen Craig sacrifice fly and Yadier Molina single with an RBI single of his own.
Allen Craig driving in a run, always a good thing. (Photo: STLToday.com)
And though Liriano settled in and began throwing like his usual self facing the Cards, retiring 13 straight from the second inning through the sixth, Yadi homered to make the final total on the night four runs allowed.
That kind of game is so much better, as the Cardinals ultimately won 6-1 since Jhonny Peralta has apparently decided the only kind of hits he’s going to get as a Cardinal are home runs — he hit a two-run shot in the ninth with Matt Carpenter on base. (Now, if only Peter Bourjos can get that bat going …)
With just a lone run scored by the Pirates, it’s obvious the pitching was much better too. Yes, Pirates Stopper Joe Kelly retains that title once again. And while it wasn’t necessarily the most efficient of outings for him — the run allowed came on a bases-loaded walk, one of four he gave up for the night along with six hits and four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings — it was good enough to get the job done. Continue reading →
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.
With the 2014 regular season just four (Yadi!) days away, this will be the final Cardinals Throwback Thursday post for a while. What better way to make an impact than with a career highlight from the blog’s namesake — the only walk-off homer of his career, which just happened to be a grand slam?
The date was July 20, 2008. It was, believe it or not, Jaime Garcia’s first major league start and second big-league appearance, and the Cards starting lineup that day included Skip Schumaker, Aaron batting second, Ryan Ludwick, Rick Ankiel, Troy Glaus, Chris Duncan, Jason LaRue and Adam Kennedy. Oh, and Jaime hit eighth.
It was a Sunday afternoon just after the All-Star break, the conclusion of a four-game series against the San Diego Padres. The Cardinals had taken the first three games, plus won their final game before the All-Star break, so they had a nice streak going. According to Matthew Leach’s article at Cardinals.com, it was “a definitively miserable St. Louis summer day.”
There’s no prize for having the best record in spring training, no Grapefruit League or Cactus League championships. But, even with games that really aren’t important once March 31 arrives, it’s painful to look at the standings and see the St. Louis Cardinals at the bottom with only two wins to go with seven losses (and, though not listed, two ties).
Patience, right? It’s only March 12. Things will improve, because these are the Cardinals. They are talented. They have depth. They are the reigning National League champions. They’re good enough, they’re smart enough and, doggone it, people like them!
We like them!
Even when we get frustrated by them … which we sometimes do these days. Right?