Just when you start to believe in this team, to think that they've finally found that gas pedal on the team car, they stomp on the brakes. A four game winning streak to get into first place? Let's follow that up with three losses against sub-.500 teams! I feel like I'm a driving instructor
Of course, if Felipe Lopez could figure out how to handle a double play ball, perhaps we wouldn't be having this conversation. Both his wild throw in the second and his inability to field a grounder in the third led to some problems. Jaime Garcia was able to pitch out of the first situation, since the bottom of the lineup was coming up. He did a pretty good job of pitching out of the second, but Casey McGehee took a pretty good pitch all the way over the center field wall. If Lopez fields that ball, though, odds are McGehee isn't up there.
Garcia looked pretty good last night
, for the most part. His ball was moving and, save for the McGehee at bat, he didn't give up much. Three walks was much better to see and I'm thinking without having to face those extra hitters due to Lopez's imitation of Dr. Strangeglove, he might have gotten through the seventh. The Cards need him to be solid down the stretch and it was good to see that it probably wasn't overwork that has gotten to him in his last few outings.
Nice to see Albert Pujols go yard again. Just when you start to get worried about AP being something around mere mortal, he hits August and goes ballistic. 30 HR for the 10th straight year, already 50th all time in home runs and just needs three more for 400. Absolutely incredible.
The Reds won, which means that the Cardinals are exactly where they were before that Reds series--two games back. St. Louis really can't afford to lose Garcia or Carpenter starts, but there's no way they can lose Adam Wainwright starts and still plan on being competitive. Waino going is almost a gimme, one that you have to take.
Wainwright will go this afternoon against Randy Wolf. Wolf being a lefty can give the Cards problems, and even this year, when his cumulative ERA is over four and a half, he's limited to the Cards to a 3.66 mark the three times he has faced them.
Good thing it is the Wagonmaker going, then. He has a 1.30 ERA in day games, a 1.22 ERA at home and a 0.50 ERA vs. Milwaukee in two starts this year. If the numbers mean anything (and I'm not sure they do, but let's go with it), a Pujols home run might be all Adam needs today. Most likely, it's going to be another pitcher's duel, one the Cardinals really must win.
With all the prospects signing, Derrick Goold takes a look at what that means for the top of the Cardinal system
. I don't think you can put anyone ahead of Shelby Miller, especially when you see what he's been doing lately, but it's nice to have some new talent to bolster those rankings. The UCB will be doing their Top 7 Projects come mid-September, so keep an eye out for that and see what we think about the baby 'Birds.
If this isn't enough for you, a couple of more opportunities to put up with me. This week at Baseball Digest, they are running a series on competitive balance in baseball, with a focus on the economic side of things. The first in the series
ran yesterday, and you should be able to see my entry today at BD if you look for it.
Secondly, it's Wednesday which means another UCB Radio Hour
at Blog Talk Radio. Tonight, Bill from i70baseball and myself will be talking with Rob Rains and, possibly, former Cardinal Andy Van Slyke. Should be a fun time and I expect we'll be able to take some calls if you want to join us on air. If not, the chat room is always open! As always, 9:30 to 10:30 Central and the phone number is 646-929-1758. Hopefully we have a Cardinal win to discuss as well!
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