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Momentum Is A Fickle Thing

Posted on May 8, 2013 at 7:10 AM
Filed Under: Chicago Cubs | Heroes and Goats | St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals go to Milwaukee and can't score less than six runs a game, inspiring hope that the offense was starting to click and the Cards were going to go on a run.


Lance Lynn made one mistake on the evening, but that kept him from being able to run his record to 6-0 for the second consecutive year.  A fourth-inning, two-run homer by Nate Schierholtz was all the Cubs needed to take the game 2-1.  Someone pointed out that Lynn lost the game even though he never threw a pitch with a runner in scoring position.  Ironically, it was just last Tuesday when the Cards won a game without a runner in scoring position, with Matt Holliday playing the Schierholtz role.  Baseball is a fickle game.

A lot of attention, and rightfully so, will be focused on Yadier Molina trying to steal third in the eighth inning off of Carlos Marmol.  I can understand, generally, what Mike Matheny was trying to do there.  Marmol is erratic--we know from first hand experience that he can throw a wild pitch at the wrong time--and the extra base might have helped.  Plus, Pete Kozma was at the plate and while he could chip in a single at the right time, he's hitting eighth for a reason.

All that said, it still seems like a fairly crazy thing for Matheny to try to do.  Sure, the offense was struggling, but Marmol could have easily walked Kozma or something of that nature.  It seems like the risk of Molina being thrown out and ending possibly your last threat of the game would have overruled the benefit of one extra base.  With the quotes from Dale Sveum after the game about being aware of Molina's sneak attacks on the bases, I don't know that we'll see Yadier trying to steal too much against them the rest of the year.

Lynn has to take home the Hero label, even if his winning streak snapped.  Seven innings, eight strikeouts, four hits and two runs is going to win you a lot of games.  He's put up four very good outings in a row, putting to rest (at least for a while) any worries about inconsistency from him.  We'll have to wait and see if the weight loss means that he can take this success deeper into the season than he did last year.

I'll give the Goat to Matt Holliday, who went 0-3 with three men left on base.  David Freese actually went 0-4, but Holliday followed a two-out single by Matt Carpenter and double by Carlos Beltran with a groundout, something that would turn out to be key.  Do hate seeing Freese have back-to-back hitless games, though, as it makes you wonder if he wasn't quite out of his slump (or that Milwaukee pitchers were just that bad).

Kudos also go to Allen Craig, who came into May with no home runs and now has hit two in three games.  He's already been driving in runs, but it's good to see his power bat is warming up as well.  Matt Adams returned last night as well, so Craig might be traveling around the diamond again soon.

Jason Motte had his Tommy John surgery yesterday, and as is the case in just about every news report after a pitcher's surgery, it was successful.  Successful in this case has a pretty low bar--I would assume that Motte walked out with both arms still attached.  Whether he'll be able to pitch again at his normal level still remains to be seen after rehab, though there's no particular reason to think that he can't.

Cards have an afternoon affair in Wrigley this afternoon before another day off and back home to Busch.  Jake Westbrook goes for win 101 in his career.

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SH SF IBB HBP
David DeJesus 37 32 9 0 0 1 3 4 1 .281 .378 .375 .753 0 0 0 1
Alfonso Soriano 32 30 3 0 0 0 1 2 3 .100 .156 .100 .256 0 0 0 0
Starlin Castro 23 22 7 1 0 0 2 1 3 .318 .348 .364 .711 0 0 0 0
Darwin Barney 17 16 3 1 0 0 0 1 0 .188 .235 .250 .485 0 0 0 0
Dioner Navarro 11 11 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 .273 .273 .273 .545 0 0 0 0
Nate Schierholtz 7 7 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .143 .143 .143 .286 0 0 0 0
Ryan Sweeney 6 6 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 .167 .167 .167 .333 0 0 0 0
Cody Ransom 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0
Anthony Rizzo 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .333 .333 .333 .667 0 0 0 0
Welington Castillo 2 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 .500 .500 1.000 1.500 0 0 0 0
Luis Valbuena 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 .000 .500 .000 .500 0 0 0 0
Scott Hairston 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0
Jeff Samardzija 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1.000 0 0 0 0
Total 145 134 29 3 0 1 7 10 13 .216 .276 .261 .537 0 0 0 1
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/8/2013.

Good numbers for Westbrook there, assuming he can deal with Starlin Castro.  Of course, the Cubs offense wasn't really the problem for Lynn last night either, was it?

St. Louis will face Carlos Villanueva, whom most of us remember from his days with the Brewers.  Perhaps that Milwaukee connection will help out?  Villanueva does sports a 2.85 ERA this year, so he's been fairly effective, especially for a Cubs pitcher.

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SH SF IBB HBP
Yadier Molina 19 18 3 0 0 0 1 0 1 .167 .211 .167 .377 0 0 0 1
Matt Holliday 12 10 3 0 0 2 3 2 2 .300 .417 .900 1.317 0 0 1 0
Ty Wigginton 10 10 2 0 0 0 0 0 4 .200 .200 .200 .400 0 0 0 0
Adam Wainwright 7 7 1 0 0 1 1 0 2 .143 .143 .571 .714 0 0 0 0
Jon Jay 5 4 3 0 0 0 0 1 1 .750 .800 .750 1.550 0 0 0 0
Carlos Beltran 4 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 .000 .250 .000 .250 0 0 0 0
Daniel Descalso 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0
Jaime Garcia 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0
Allen Craig 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000 1.000 2.000 0 0 0 0
David Freese 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0
Total 63 58 13 0 0 3 5 4 13 .224 .286 .379 .665 0 0 1 1
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/8/2013.

Not a good look for the Cardinals either.  Holliday's really the only one with much extended success against him.  Could be a low scoring game, though it is a day game at Wrigley, so you never know when things will just explode.  Worth watching to see!

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Heroes
Carlos Beltran (6)
Yadier Molina (5)
Matt Holliday (4)
Jon Jay (4)
Matt Carpenter (3)
Daniel Descalso (3)
Jaime Garcia (3)
Pete Kozma (3)
Shelby Miller (3)
Adam Wainwright (3)
Allen Craig (2)
Lance Lynn (2)
Tyler Lyons (2)
Edward Mujica (2)
Jake Westbrook (2)
David Freese (1)
Joe Kelly (1)
Seth Maness (1)
Trevor Rosenthal (1)
Michael Wacha (1)
Ty Wigginton (1)

2012 Top Hero: Matt Holliday (17)
2011 Top Hero: Lance Berkman (24)
2010 Top Heroes: Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols (24)
2009 Top Hero: Albert Pujols (28)
2008 Top Hero: Albert Pujols (25)

Goats
Jon Jay (6)
David Freese (5)
Mitchell Boggs (4)
Joe Kelly (4)
Pete Kozma (4)
Matt Carpenter (3)
Allen Craig (3)
Daniel Descalso (3)
Jaime Garcia (3)
Yadier Molina (3)
Matt Adams (2)
Carlos Beltran (2)
Matt Carpenter (2)
Matt Holliday (2)
Lance Lynn (2)
Seth Maness (1)
Shane Robinson (1)
Fernando Salas (1)
Adam Wainwright (1)
Jake Westbrook (1)

2012 Top Goat: Rafael Furcal (11)
2011 Top Goat: Ryan Theriot (12)
2010 Top Goat: Brendan Ryan (14)
2009 Top Goats: Rick Ankiel and Todd Wellemeyer (13)
2008 Top Goat: Troy Glaus (13)

Cardinal Nation Approval Ratings (March 2013)
Yadier Molina 96.2% (up 8.8%)
Chris Carpenter 89.8% (down 0.3%)
Derrick Goold 89.1% (up 6.3%)
Matt Holliday 88.4% (up 0.9%)
Allen Craig 88.3%
Adam Wainwright 88.2% (down 3.7%)
Jose Oquendo 87.1% (up 2.4%)
Jason Motte 86.9%
John Mozeliak 86.5% (up 1.1%)
United Cardinal Bloggers 85.2% (up 6.3%)
Bill DeWitt 85.1% (up 5.3%)
Mike Shannon 85.1% (down 0.2%)
John Rooney 84.5% (up 3.0%)
Mike Matheny 84.4% (up 3.3%)
David Freese 82.9% (down 2.6%)
Jon Jay 81.8% (up 10.7%)
Lance Berkman 80.6% (down 8.0%)
Jenifer Langosch 79.5%
Lance Lynn 79.5%
Dan McLaughlin 76.0% (up 8.0%)
Jim Hayes 73.0% (up 1.1%)
Ricky Horton 65.5% (down 2.0%)
Jaime Garcia 64.1%
Albert Pujols 59.2% (up 4.3%)
Ballpark Village 58.3%
Joe Strauss 54.3% (down 13.4%)

2012
Tony La Russa 88.2% (up 17.4%)
Mark McGwire 82.6% (up 20.1%)
Skip Schumaker 73.3% (up 9.2%)
B.J. Rains 69.5% (down 0.9%)
Kyle Lohse 68.9% (up 13.8%)
Al Hrabosky 66.4% (up 3.2%)
Colby Rasmus 46.5% (down 35.3%)

2011
Dave Duncan 87.9% (up 0.9%)
Matthew Leach 85.5%
Pop Warner 76.7%
Ryan Franklin 72.8% (up 3.1%)
John Vuch 68.9%
Jeff Luhnow 66.4%
Dan Lozano 58.7%

2009
Rick Ankiel 83.9%
Chris Duncan 69.1%


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