As the Cards settle in at Baltimore tonight, let’s run down a list of festering topics that are currently itching the cerebellum. Last night’s series win against Boston was good and was their 4th series win in 6 series’ since the All Star Break. A winning streak could take place if the solid play continues. Down the list….
- For all the people seriously worried about Adam Wainwright, look at last night’s performance. He didn’t have his best stuff. He threw 122 pitches in 7 innings and gutted out a win. Waino hasn’t been his sharp ace type self in the second half. In 4 starts, his ERA is up and his hits allowed are up. He has walked 12 batters in 24 innings. However, he still has 14 wins and a 2.28 earned run average. He still has that deadly curve, which struck out Yoenis Cespedes with two on and two out last night. In his last 10 starts, Wainwright is 7-3 and his ERA has only risen 13 points in that time from 2.15 to the current 2.28. The last ten start look is the best way to see how a guy is throwing. Waino has thrown 162 innings so far and that came after a heavy workload in 2013. The concern is warranted but hold the fear. When he has to make a pitch, Waino can do it better than anyone in the league. As Dave Duncan told the boys on 101 ESPN this afternoon, he can throw his curve any time he wants and most of the time drop it in for a strike. He is doing fine. Hurt pitchers don’t pitch like that last night. The man will be beaten up on occasion and that causes the uproar. The results are still there for the Ace.
- Let’s give Tim McCarver a break too. He has been a great upgrade at FSN this year and mixes very well on the broadcast with Dan McClaughlin. I like the fact that McCarver can be objective and critical of the Cardinals. Sure, he wasn’t right about Oscar Taveras taking an extra base last night but I can handle a blunt take even if the ends don’t meet. It’s a lot better than fighting off sleep with home town kissers Ricky Horton and Al Hrabosky spending countless hours humping the Cards leg. I want a broadcaster who can stand up and go “Matt Holliday should have caught that ball” or notice shortstop Jhonny Peralta miss first base on an infield hit. Forget about the fears of offending players and coaches. Give it to the fans because they are listening. Sure, McCarver can drift a bit and say something that doesn’t make sense, but that comes with any sports color analyst. They take play by play and try to squeeze a bit of juice from it. I like what McCarver is dealing so far in 24 games. You may not agree with his opinions but at least he has some.
- Allen Craig is on the disabled list for the Red Sox and is getting his foot looked at again. How many people are shocked? Folks, I am serious when I said the man has been playing hurt in St. Louis for a majority of the season. A theory that has been blasted because I didn’t have proof may not have crystallized but the fact that Craig played one game in Boston before pulling up hurt is revealing. I wish the guy the best but don’t see him coming back in 2014 with any real punch.
- While it was nice to see Joe Kelly get a standing ovation before he could stretch a leg on Tuesday, I was bored by the 5th ovation. Look, the guy was a marginally decent starter who was never going to be a top of the rotation arm. He was good but never great. People loved him here because he was goofy, down to earth and had cool pregame comedy skits. That’s it. He pitched solid on Tuesday and helped the team win. He is pitching for the other team and a team that happened to beat us in the World Series in 2013. My point is, enough already with the Joe Kelly love fest. He is gone. As my fellow sharp as a whip Cards scribe Corey Rudd (@CoreyRudd) asked Tuesday night, “If Joe Kelly got this kind of ovation, what will Albert Pujols get upon his return to Busch?” It better be a 5 minute standing ovation that shakes the foundation. One of the problems in St. Louis is going overboard for marginal talent at times. As long as Pujols gets a better ovation than Kelly, I am good.
- Expected response to the last paragraph. “Albert left and Joe got traded. Same with David Freese. He was traded.” Folks, baseball is a business and it stinks sometimes. Know this. Pujols gave fans the best 11 years a baseball player will ever give a city in our lifetime. Kelly was good for less than 3 full seasons. Freese was good for less than 3 seasons. Pujols chased his emotions and bigger dollars in taking his talents out West, but he still deserves a legendary greeting when the Angels come to town.
- The Orioles will present a challenge to new Cardinals Justin Masterson and John Lackey. While they are familiar with the team, Baltimore has won 7 of its past 10 and Camden Yards is a playground compared to Busch Stadium. On May 22, Masterson was rocked for 5 earned runs in 5.2 innings pitched. In 16.2 innings, Lackey has surrendered 13 runs and has a 1.74 WHIP(average hits and walks per inning). Each pitcher doesn’t handle Baltimore well and will probably need some offensive support. Cards fans will see just how far Masterson has come with his right knee since returning from the disabled list last week. Cards will have their hands full with this Baltimore lineup.
- Orioles slugger Chris Davis hits it a mile or doesn’t hit it at all. Hopefully the Cards strike him out more often than the ball jumping off his bat. He has taken a huge fall in 2014. Davis is batting .198, has struck out 134 times and has a slugging percentage of .398. Sure, he has 19 home runs but this has been a disappointing season for Davis. Let’s hope for more holes in his bat.
- Kolten Wong has turned into quite the young power source in the second half. Wong is bashing lately and doing it at home. Wong has smoked 8 home runs since July 1st and 7 of his overall 9 have come at the anemic home run factory of Busch Stadium. Special season developing for the Cards second baseman.
That’s it folks. Calling it at 1,000 words. Thanks for reading and for more Cardinals instant reaction, find me on twitter at the handle @buffa82.