After the last week, a win is a win is a win and you can't complain too much about it, but yesterday's victory against the Mets was a little more nerve-wracking than you'd care for when you are drawing up the plans.
I mean, having an appeal be one of the biggest plays of the game? If the umpire misses that call (and, you have to figure, a lot of times they would have), there's a runner on second in the ninth with nobody out. Jason Motte might have been able to work his way out of that kind of situation, but thank goodness Carlos Beltran was watching so that he didn't have to.
Still, the biggest part of that game may have been Joe Kelly, who gets the Hero tag for throwing six scoreless innings, something we've not seen out of the starting rotation lately. He gave up a two-run shot in the seventh, but still left the game in good shape. That had to be a shot in the arm for these guys, who didn't have to see themselves behind for the first time since last Sunday against the Reds. Kudos go to Motte as well for getting out of the eighth inning jam with a strikeout and coming back after the appeal to lock down the ninth.
Offensively, Skip Schumaker had a good day with a home run as one of his two hits. Jon Jay continues to do well in the leadoff slot with a 1-2 day (also a HBP and a sacrifice bunt). Matt Holliday and Allen Craig had two hits and Matt Carpenter had two RBI. It wasn't the biggest offensive game the Cards have had, but it was enough consistent offense to keep them ahead of the Mets.
Downside, our Goat has to go to Mitchell Boggs, who allowed a two-run home run that tightened the game up and then put the tying run on before leaving the game for Sam Freeman, who put the go-ahead run on before Motte came in. If there is fatigue on Boggs's part, the Cards are going to have to get him rested up, because if they are to go far in the postseason (assuming they get there), that late inning relief really needs to be on their game.
We already knew that Shelby Miller was going to get a callup and, in fact, it should be official today. It sounds like, though, that Miller might actually get a start along the way in September. That's surprising, but not terribly so. What is more surprising is that Chris Carpenter is likely to do the same. I expected the Cards would be looking to get Carp in as a reliever, have him throw a few innings, so they'll know what they are getting. Instead, they don't necessarily want to activate him unless he can throw 90 pitches or so, which apparently is not out of the realm of possibility. How fun would a game be started by Carpenter, then turned over to Miller? I don't think anyone in Cardinal Nation would dislike seeing that!
Another person that Cardinal fans are anxious to see is Oscar Taveras. While the chances are slim that he's going to make the big leagues, I don't think they are quite as slim as they were before. John Mozeliak said he'll play the Texas League playoffs for Springfield and then the situation will be reevaluated, not bringing him up unless he can get playing time. If Beltran continues to have the knee problems and the offense sputters some more in the next week or so, there would have to be consideration given. Again, I don't think it happens, but I think the chances went from 10% to 25% with this news.
Rafael Furcalthinks that he can return this season, getting an injection of platelet-rich plasma and going through an aggressive rehab instead of doing surgery. I had something similar a few years ago when I had Guillain-Barre Syndrome. That was IVIG instead of PRP, but I know that it made a significant difference and fairly quickly. Obviously a nerve situation is different than a strained ligament, but I could see how Furcal would be willing to give it a shot (pun not intended). Still, though, it seems very, very unlikely we'll see Furcal again until 2013.
Cards send out Jaime Garcia to try to keep the positive momentum going. Garcia is pitching at home, which tends to be a better situation for him than on the road.
Garcia's done fairly well in limited time against these guys. Of course, there's a lot of the current Mets that he's not faced, so we'll have to see what they are able to do with him. If we get Good Jaime, it should be a low-scoring affair from that side of the contest, at least.
The Mets run out Matt Harvey, who has never faced St. Louis in this his rookie year. While the Cards were able to get some runs off of yesterday's rookie Met starter, that doesn't mean they'll be able to do the same with Harvey. Harvey is basically the Mets' Miller, putting up three wins and a 2.76 ERA in his 42.1 innings in the bigs, but had 112 strikeouts in 110 innings at Buffalo before his callup.
Should be a good game to watch. We'll see if St. Louis can adjust to Harvey's heat and get into the Mets bullpen earlier rather than later. Holding on to the wild card may depend on it!
The BBA has, as a secondary aim, the goal of producing year-end
awards in a similar fashion to the Baseball Writers of America. These
awards can be found at the official site in October with links back to the voters,
ensuring transparency and, most likely, the onset of some good baseball