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Cardinals Solve The Mystery

Posted on September 22, 2009 at 1:40 PM
Filed Under: Heroes and Goats | Houston Astros | St. Louis Cardinals
Sorry for the delay in today's post, but the power went out at my house last night and, as far as I know, hasn't returned yet.  Perhaps I need to have Mark DeRosa come by.

You knew it was going to be a good night when the Cards scored three runs off of Wandy Rodriguez in the first inning.  I mean, the Cards had only scored six runs total off of Rodriguez in his four other starts against them, so they were figuring him out early.  Then DeRosa came along and smacked two home runs, reminding people just why the Cards did trade for him.

Even Albert Pujols was able to solve Rodriguez, coming just inches away from his first long ball against him.  You know that he's going to be studying these at-bats this offseason, trying to make sure that he can tag Rodriguez sometime in 2010.  However, AP is still three HR from 50, as he's not gone deep since his two home run game against Milwaukee on the 9th.  He's still been producing since then, of course, but at a .306 BA/.444 SLG rate, not quite up to his norms.  But he's hit three doubles in the last two games, so he's probably just about ready for a hot streak.

You also have to like what you saw out of Kyle Lohse last night.  Yes, he gave up two homers, but it was in Houston, not necessarily known as a pitcher's park.  Plus they were solo shots.  He limited the damage, enjoyed his lead, and came out with a successful appearance.  Obviously, he hasn't earned back his #4 starter role for the playoffs yet, but he did take a big step toward that.  I think that management is going to be really looking for reasons to give him that slot so they can use John Smoltz as a reliever, so if he can have another two starts that are similar to this one, he'll probably get the job.

Looking at last night's game, it's hard to pick a Goat.  Lohse and those that followed him, Jason Motte and Kyle McClellan, pitched well.  Motte continues to make the case that he's turned the corner and can be a bit more trusted than he was in the middle of the season.  Every St. Louis starter had at least one hit, and DeRosa, Pujols, Skip Schumaker, Jason LaRue and Matt Holliday had two or more.

So it's pretty much a make-up call, but I'm going to apply the tag to Ryan Ludwick.  My fellow UCBer from Stan Musial's Stance took issue with him not being the Goat Sunday, with good reason.  So since he just went 1 for 4 in this one, we'll give it to him.

Lots of discussion right now about the future of TLR.  Jeff Gordon says that he'd leave one of the best jobs in baseball behind if he did call it quits.  TLR says he's too busy to think about it, though you expect it's crossed his mind a few times.  It's hard to think about anyone else running the ship, but I guess we'll find out at the end of the year whether that's an adjustment we need to make.  Personally, it works either way for me.  He's done a great job here, but losing some of the drama wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing.

If they'd get some help from Milwaukee, the Cards might be able to cut their magic number to one (which would be a tie for the title, something that LaRussa won't acknowledge).  Joel Pineiro takes his turn on the bump against Yorman Bazardo.  Pineiro has struggled with the 'Stros hitters historically and has struggled so far in September as well, so even though he's had a good bit of success against Houston this year, there's no assurance that will continue into tonight's game.

Bazardo hasn't ever faced the Cardinals before and is sporting an 8.50 ERA.  He's given up 24 hits and 13 walks in 18 innings.  If you've followed the Cardinals for any length of time, you know that this is a script for the youngster to throw six scoreless innings at the club.  If they can be patient, they'll be able to figure him out or get runners on.  Patience, however, is not necessarily what they are known for.

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Like the blog! I hope we are all wrong and the Cards do well against this new pitcher they've not seen before *fingers crossed!

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