I had a nice outline of a post saved up for yesterday, but things got in the way and I never got around to fleshing them out. I'm taking advantage of the fact that yesterday was an off day to hit some of the general points that I was going to talk about.
First off, let's look at Tuesday's game. Extra innings on the West Coast aren't really conducive to sleep and I wasn't able to see the end of it. Gotta give the Hero tag to Daniel Descalsofor putting yet another game away, as he seems to be able to get the hits when the Cards really need them.
Also, as Travis from Fredbird Follys pointed out in an e-mail to me as we prepared for Wednesday's UCB Radio Hour, how often do you see a player make his major league debut and outhit the other team, especially when the game goes long? Tony Cruz with three hits was able to do that, as the Padres only managed two in the whole contest. Nice intro to the bigs for the rook.
Another very strong outing by Kyle McClellan and the bullpen did well also, with Jason Motte having three strikeouts and Miguel Batista even putting up two scoreless innings. The latter might have been the biggest hint that the Padres are struggling at the plate right now.
On the down side, Skip Schumakerwent 0-5. He struck out three times and one of the times he actually made contact, he hit into a double play. Pretty much a night to forget for Skip.
Wednesday, the Cards got to play some afternoon ball meaning that a lot of people got to watch the game. I was actually out of town and traveling home through most of it, so I wasn't able to do so. It was another tight contest, as the Cards scored in the first and Brad Hawpe hit a home run for his second consecutive day in the second. Got down to the ninth before the Pads broke through and the Cards couldn't answer. So close to finally putting together a three-game sweep, but we'll have to wait for that a little longer. If you aren't going to sweep people, winning two out of three is a perfectly acceptable alternative.
I'll give the Hero tag to Lance Berkman, who had two hits including driving in the only run of the game. Jon Jayalso had two hits, stepping into the void left by injury and Colby Rasmus's slump.
Goat-wise, I'll go with Tyler Greene. He did have a hit, but he struck out twice and his throw in the ninth that short-hopped Yadier Molina turned out to be the difference in the game. He makes a better throw, Molina puts on the tag and we go into the ninth tied up. Instead, the run scores and the batter makes it to third, where he easily scores on a Ryan Ludwick base hit to give insurance.
There's a lot of talk about Chris Carpenter not being able to get wins, that his record is 1-5, etc. I'm fairly sure that it is driving Pip completely up the wall, as the emphasis on pitcher wins is a personal bugaboo of his. He's right, though. It doesn't matter if Carpenter won or lost, really. Carpenter had one of his effective games on Wednesday and he put the team in position to get the win. The offense didn't support him, that's all. If he gets even 2-3 runs early, the whole complexion of the game would have changed.
Carpenter is probably going to be a bit erratic this year. You'll see some vintage Carp but you'll see some games that make you wonder if he's losing it. Right now, with the rotation as strong as it is, the Cards can afford to take the bad with the good.
It might be a little early to claim Albert Pujols is back. After his strong opening game in San Diego, there wasn't much heard from him. It could have been the pitching, it could have been the ballpark, but if that was a turning point in his season, it's not going to be a continuous one. We'll see if this weekend at Colorado helps out somewhat.
Matt Holliday may have to go on the DL, which would be a very unfortunate thing for the Redbirds. It's becoming apparent that this team runs this year not on Pujols, but on Holliday's bat. When he was out the first week of the season, the team struggled. When he was out in San Diego, the team struggled. It's hard to believe that is a coincidence. You'll see some remarkable stats in Bernie Miklasz's column today about how important he is to the team.
Nick Punto is eligible to return June 3, but unlikely to do so. Being that there is an entire glut of middle infielders, this wouldn't seem to be an issue, but Punto has produced more than some of the others and, even though he's only been healthy a limited amount of time, he's worked his way into the good graces of the team. Hopefully his injury won't keep him out an extended period of time.
The daughter is calling me, so the matchup numbers will have to be the last part of this. Be sure to check out Wednesday's UCB Radio Hour or last night's Padres Trail if you want to hear some more from me. Not sure why you'd want to do that, but I'm glad if you do. Have a great weekend and I'll hopefully be back in this space before it is over!
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