Posted on May 19, 2008 at 11:29 AM
Filed Under: Baseball
| Heroes and Goats
| St. Louis Cardinals
| Tampa Bay Rays
Let me get this out of the way: I'm no fan of interleague play. I think of it as a cheap promotional gimmick that causes more controversy and issues than it's worth. Listening and watching the games this weekend, it was hard to think of them as games that count. It was more like the team was back in spring training, playing some exhibitions.
Still it's always good to win a series, no matter who you are playing against. It wasn't easy, but the fact the Cards were able to take two of three from the then-first place Tampa Bay Rays should give them some confidence as they head on the yearly West Coast road trip.
There's not much point to recap--everyone's pretty familiar with the games by now, I'd figure--but we've got some hardware to hand out.
Friday, the only Rays win of the series, you'd have to go with Chris Duncan
as the Hero, since he was pretty much the only bit of offense out there, capped off by his fourth homer. Troy Glaus did have a couple of hits and Chris Perez was outstanding in his first outing.
For the Goat, you might choose a number of players, but with an 0-4 ending his 42-game on-base streak and an error to boot, it's one of those rare nights off for Albert Pujols
. I almost went with Skip Schumaker after his fourth-inning at bat resulted in a double play after two were on with none out, which was a big blow to the Cardinals' chances.
Saturday was a wild one, from what I can tell. I was at the zoo with the family and missed most of it, but obviously when you have a two home-run day (including a walkoff) like Ryan Ludwick
had, well, that's Hero material. The Goat is a little up in the air. Duncan had an 0-5 and left five men on base on a day where everyone was getting hits. Another shaky outing by Adam Wainwright almost gives him the tag. Thirteen baserunners in less than six innings is a recipe for disaster, though it's possible conditions affected him as well. If not, the Cardinals have problems, because if Wainwright starts struggling, this team is in a lot of trouble. But Randy Flores
allowing three runs in a third of an inning really takes the cake. The whole bullpen seemed to struggle on Saturday.
The last game was a pretty interesting one as well. I got to watch most of it and didn't think the Cards were ever going to mount the rally they needed. It would have been fitting if Pujols would have driven in a number of runs with the bases loaded in the sixth, being the closest thing to Stan Musial the team has, but that wasn't to be and I thought that'd be their last chance. This team plays the hard nine, though, and it was good to see.
Obviously, Skip Schumaker could have gotten the Hero tag for his walk-off hit and Aaron Miles could have gotten it for his game-tying double. But I want to go a different direction and give it to the newest Cardinal, Chris Perez
. In only his second game, he was given the ball after the team had tied it up in the eighth. Not only was he able to keep the game tied, he didn't even make it that agonizing, throwing five strikes and turning it over to the offense.
Our final Goat would be Troy Glaus
, who went 0-4 and had a big strikeout in the fifth, ending another potential rally. That said, Glaus has been coming on of late and it's very good to see.
So the Cardinals head out to San Diego trailing the Cubs by two games. And, as a gift, they miss Jake Peavy, who is out with an elbow issue. Instead, they'll face Will Ledezma. Ledezma has only started one game this year, usually working out of the pen, so it's not that likely he'll be around much past the fifth if the Cardinals are able to get the men on that they usually do. However, the Cardinals seem to struggle against pitchers like this, especially when they've not seen them much before
. They'll possibly have to continue their patient at-bats, because that ballpark in Petco isn't usually that conducive to hitting.
The Cardinals throw Todd Wellemeyer at the Pads. If you thought the Cardinals didn't know much about Ledezma, that's a wealth of first-hand knowledge compared to the Padres and Wellemeyer
. I don't think we'll be able to make many judgment calls there.
The Padres have definitely not had the season that people expected, as they have the worst record in baseball, but they still can be a dangerous team. Hopefully the Cardinals will be able to extend their misery for a few more games. And there's still time for the Padre YNOT
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