I admit it. I thought we didn’t have a chance to win this game. When the Braves scored 3 runs in the first, partly because of 2 errors, I threw up my hands in disgust. 3 runs in the 1st inning? With the kind of offense we’ve been having? Come on. And that third run coming off the bat of Derrek Lee? You had to see that coming. He has changed uniforms, but he’s still a Cardinal killer.
Warning to Cardinal pitchers:
Or have you already forgotten the 4 home runs he belted against us in 3 game against the Cubs, the last time we played them? Walk him. Seriously. Until we have 10 runs, WALK him.
Maybe I’m a horrible Cardinal fan for giving up after 3 runs in the 1st inning, but I don’t think so. This team just doesn’t always instill a lot of confidence. I want to believe. So badly, I want to believe. But when your team goes 4-11 in their last 15 games, they make that difficult. Yet, the Cardinals are still in the hunt. And so I watch. And pray. And yell. And occasionally throw things at my TV. And cheer. And ask Larussa what the heck he is thinking. And many other things because I just can’t give up on this team until all 162 games are played. In the meantime, my heart may give out.
The Reds have done their best to let us back into the hunt after we tried our hardest to give them the division. But the Cardinals playing average baseball right, a step up from the horrible baseball they were playing, have only gained a little ground. We are now five games back. That’s right. FIVE games back. Still a long way from ordering the celebration champagne, but close enough to make me look at the clock every hour hoping that that the 7:15 start time will get here already.
Tonight was one of those nights, where if you didn’t know any better, you would think this was a 1st place team cruising to the playoffs. As my title said, ‘When it rains, it pours.’ When they are clicking, the Cardinals have as intimidating offense as anybody. Even after losing Matt Holliday to ejection, the Redbirds were merciless against the Braves, battering them with hit after hit. In the end they would get into the double digits, putting the Braves away 11-4. Wainwright was solid and effective, going 8 innings and striking out 7, tying the league lead with his 18th win. Production was up and down the lineup, from Skip leading off and going 3-5, Rasmus have a 4 for 4 night with 2 home runs and 3 separate Cardinals going deep. It was a great night to be a Cardinal fan.
It continues to be a long, hard, uphill struggle, but the Cardinals are clinging on to life. Let’s hope they can keep it going against the Braves tomorrow. Carp’s on the hill for us, which means I like our chances.
What an interesting turn of events we have. I just saw that Joey Votto was thrown out of game in the first inning. Votto seems to always be counted for 2-3 hits per game and an RBI or two, so I can’t say that I’m too sad to see him out for a game. This should definitely hurt the Reds chances today of a win. I’ll be interested to hear the details as they are released and to see the video of the whole thing It was a 1-1 count, so it wasn’t even strike 3 he was arguing. Did he say something very insulting to the ump or did the umpire just overreact? We shall see. As for now,the Reds are all tied up with the Marlins in the 6th.
On the Redbirds side of things, it is the story of the home run so far this game. I mentioned two days ago (here) and again yesterday (here) how much I dread seeing Derrek Lee. He loves to bring his best against the Redbirds and after homering in his first two games this series, he has homered two times already in this game. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s 4 home runs in 3 games. Ridiculous. They better walk him next time up.
After Lee’s first home run, Albert immediately answered with a long ball of his own to give him 30 for the year. Let’s hope he can answer back again this inning.
Albert going deep,
These are the kind of games that are heartbreakers. Chris Carpenter vs. the Cubs. Definitely an easy game to get up for. And Chris pitched well. He gave up 3 runs in 6 innings. But it wasn’t enough against Big Z, who was only slightly better than Carp. Zambrano went 5 and 2/3 and gave up 2 runs. They both struck out 3.
Carpenter is a great pitcher and 9 times out of 10, you’re going to right taking your chances with him. He’s rarely going to get beat by giving up lots of hits and walks. But he was one glaring flaw. He tends to give up the long ball. And he did exactly that today…..TWICE. One by Aramis Ramirez and once by (of course) Derrek Lee. I mentioned yesterday that this is a guy who always brings his A game against the Cardinals. This is two games in a row that he has now gone deep against the Cardinal staff. He may not yet be the “Cardinal killer” that Carlos Beltran is, but I still don’t enjoy seeing our staff face the guy.
And the most disheartening part of the whole game? The 9th inning. As the home team, you figure surely you can scratch out a run and at least tie it up, if not go ahead. Especially after Aaron Miles led off with an infield single and scooted on to 2nd on a wild throw by Aramis Ramirez.
So essentially you have a runner on 2nd with nobody out. That HAS to be a run. No excuse. A couple of sac flies, a bunt and a sac fly, a base hit. There are so many options. But instead Brendan Ryan pops out foul to the catcher and Lopez pops up to the third baseman. So now there is 2 outs and Miles still hasn’t moved. All the more maddening was watching Allen Craig swing and miss 3 straight would-be balls to end the game, as Albert Pujols watched from the on deck circle. I really wish John Jay was still at that point in the game. He swings a hot bat and perhaps the outcome would have been different. Those pitches Craig swung at…..they were not even a little close. It makes me sad, but all I can hope for now is that the Reds will lose tonight.
Biggest Marlins fan ever,
The Cubs have a way of coming out all guns blazing against us. And then I found out that Derrek Lee was back in the lineup and he always plays tough against us as well. And the Cubs were true to those expectations for the first inning. After a leadoff out, they got four straight hits to go up 2-0. I’ll admit it. I was worried.
But luckily, it was only two runs as Westbrook wiggled out of that jam and the Cubs stranded two. Westbrook settled down after that though and ended up going 6 innings, giving up 2 earned runs and struck out 3 for his first Cardinal win. I am definitely happy with that. Surprisingly, he was not the “star of the game” tonight on the post-game show. Not only did he earn his first win with his new team, he had quite the day at the plate too. A guy who only had 2 career hits, hit a double down the line and scored his first ever career run. Probably pretty exciting for this life long American Leaguer.
His first win couldn’t have come at a better time as we take the first of this crucial 3 game set and hand Chicago their 10th loss of the year. The Reds made it clear tonight they have no plans in slowing down as they took being swept out on the Florida Marlins. I mentioned yesterday how they were going against a guy who’s competing for the NL Cy Young, Josh Johnson. He was leading the league in ERA. I say “was” because the Reds hung 6 runs on him and they did it early.
In fact, this is the only good news in the Cincinnati win. With Johnson’s ERA quickly rising, Cardinal star Adam Wainwright is now in possession of 1st place in ERA. Combine that with his 1st place wins and he looks better than ever to take home the Cy Young home trophy, as I argued for in this post.
We are still up 1 game in the central and with every game, the race intensifies more and more. You gotta feel good with Carp going tomorrow. I really can’t stand Carlos Zambrano (he’s a bigger idiot than Brandon Phillips in my book), so it would be nice to rough him up a bit. Although that could lead to another scuffle 🙂
Speaking of Phillips, one fan at the game tonight showed a sign addressed to him, saying “thank you” to him with love from Cardinal fans. Gotta love it. As expected, Yadier Molina got a standing ovation tonight from the crowd and he didn’t disappoint. He started off the night with a base hit and ended 1 for 2 with two RBI sac flies tonight.
Two other notes of interest: Colby Rasmus walked four times tonight, including one intentional pass. And the big guns, Pujols and Holiday combined to go 5 for 9, with 2 RBI and 4 runs scored. Pujols also went deep the first inning to give him 29 on the year and 495 lifetime home runs. A couple more and he’ll be in the top 50 of all-time. Crazy.
Wesbrook lookin’ good in Cardinal red,