The 2008 Cardinals are young, hungry, strong, tough and resilient. Their ability to improvise, overcome, adapt and bounce back from adversity has been tested over and over. It was tested again this week.
The little two-game series against the Brewers was probably the BIGGEST series the Cardinals have played this year. The Brewers are the team to beat for a team trying to make a playoff run. We could not afford to lose ground.
The first game was a humiliating 12-0 loss. Just one of those nights where everything the Brewers did worked. Everything the Cardinals did flopped. Wellemeyer kept us in it, but got no run support. Then the Brewers had a run against the Cardinals bullpen, and there was no catching up.
The second game started much the same. Good starting pitching by Wainwright. The Brewers able to eek in three runs. The Cardinals leaving runners in scoring position. In the 6th, Ryan Ludwick finally broke 14 2/3 innings of scorelessness against the Brewers with a solo home run. But, when the Cardinals had the bases loaded in the 7th and couldn’t come up with a run, the game seemed lost. Then the tide turned.
The Brewer reliever, Villanueva, thought he’d really done something we he got out of that bases loaded inning. He made the mistake of gesturing toward the Cardinals dugout. Pujols took exception to the lack of respect. Villanueva then made the mistake of saying something foul in Spanish to Pujols. The umpires put out the flames, but the fire still smoldered.
The fire translated into an amazing 8th:
· Franklin‘s strong pitching allowed no runs.
· Pujols came up to bat and hit a lead-off double.
· Ludwick copied with an RBI double.
· After a three K night, Glaus finally got a piece of one for an RBI single.
· Molina hit behind the runner to sacrifice himself and advance the runner.
· Glaus beat the throw to home on Aaron Miles’ pinch hit grounder. (Why isn’t Miles playing everyday?)
· Looper came in the game to put down a sac bunt.
· Lopez scored Miles on a single.
The Cardinals lead 5-3. Would it be enough?
It might have been an even more amazing 9th:
Rookie, Chris Perez came in to shut the door. The anticipation and expectation hung in the air as heavy as would in any game 7 of the World Series.
Chris Perez slammed the door hard, fanning 3 of the 4 batters he’s faced. The Cardinals fans went home happy.
Tonight the Cardinals played the kind of game that winners play. They kept themselves in the game, took advantage when the chance presented itself, and finally went for and got the kill.
Now, on to Houston! I’m looking forward to this series because will be in the stands watching Saturday and Sunday’s games live! I’m excited to check out Minute Maid Park, and watch the Cardinals take the Astros.
Six innings. 72 pitches. 47 strikes. 25 balls. 1 run. 5 hits. 1 walk. 4 K’s. Batting 3 for 5 with 1 RBI and a run. And, most importantly a win.
Going up against his boyhood home team, the Atlanta Braves, Adam Wainwright gave us far more than we could have asked for or expected from a guy coming back from the DL. Seems like he was trying to make up for lost time. Or, trying to make the Braves question once again, what were we thinking when we traded Adam Wainwright to the Cardinals.
He could have gotten a win with only four Cardinal runs on the board, but the Cardinal bats were hot-hot-hot, putting up 18 runs on 26 hits–most hits for the Cardinals since 1929.
When we faced the Braves in Atlanta, we took three out of four, but they were missing two of their best: Chipper Jones and their fine young catcher, McCann. Although they are a team that has struggled this year, I would never have guessed that a score this lop-sided was possible, especially with those guys back.
It was one of those nights when the stars seem to align and everything the Cardinals touched turned to gold. All they had to do was make contact, and the ball would fall. Nothing fancy: a bunch of singles, few doubles and quite a few walks.
Molina led with 4 RBIs. Pujols and Ankiel had 3 a piece. Schumaker and Ludwick both had three runs. Molina and Izturis both hit 4 singles a piece. The only extra base hits were doubles hit by Pujols, Glaus, Mile, Lopez and Joel Pineiro–who got in on the hitting fun when he came into to finish out the game for Wainwright, pitching 3 innings and getting the save.
By the same token, the Braves couldn’t get a break. The Cardinals defense was a nearly impregnable fortress. The only bright spots in their day were a pinch hit solo home run by Norton, a little 2-run surge in the 9th, and the arm of their catcher, McCann, who caught two Cardinal runners in a row trying to steal 2nd.
There’s been much discussion about what Wainwright’s role will be in relationship to Carpenters availability. Tonight, Adam made a very strong case that he is a starter.
Lots of St. Louis Cardinal Pitcher headlines this week. One good, one bad and one ugly.
The good news is Adam Wainwright is back! I’ve missed him and can’t wait to see him back on the mound against the Braves.
Izzy. Jason Isringhausen has at the very least a season ending injury. We’ve all wondered all year what’s up with Izzy? In previous seasons, he was the rock-solid closer. This year he has struggled. Maybe the injury has been impeding him all along.
As sad as it is to see his season end, watching a fierce competitor like Izzy struggle, well that’s been heart-breaking. To all the so-called fans that boo-ed him: shame on you. A “what have you done for me lately” fan is no fan at all in my book. We are talking the Cardinals all-time saves leader here and don’t forget it.
I would love to see Izzy strong and back next year, pitching his game and finishing his career strong. But, if I never see him throw another pitch, by memory of Izzy will forever be this: 9th inning. Up one run. Izzy taking the mound, and just knowing the game was won.
The 5-game suspension of Kyle Lohse for “intentionally throwing at a batter’s head”. Ridiculous. He did not intentionally throw at Volquez head, and here’s why:
1. In a tight 1-0 ballgame where we can’t seem to buy a run, Kyle Lohse is not going to hit the easy-out pitcher and put him on base.
2. If Kyle Lohse had being trying to hit Volquez in the head, then he wouldn’t have missed.
Was he trying to come inside and rattle Volquez a bit? Sure. Just like Volquez did him in the previous inning. Making a guy thing you might be trying to hit him is really far more effective than actually hitting him. Since when is rattling someone’s mental cage a baseball crime?
On the other hand, Volquez not only let balls fly at our batters, but actually hit Felipe Lopez after both benches were warned. Were the throws intentional? I couldn’t say, but he was quoted as saying, “I don’t want to hit a pitcher,” Volquez said. “If I’m going to hit somebody, it’d be position players.”
So, he’s admitted that he would hit a position player, and in fact, he did hit a position player. Where’s his suspension? I mean, if they are only allowed to play candy-a**ed, nicey-nice, politically correct baseball, where is his suspension?
The appeal is on. Hopefully, Lohse will prevail.