Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cards Need Big Weekend vs. Cubs to Get Back on Track

When the Cardinals started this homestand, they surely didn't envision going 1-5. The Cardinals have fallen on hard times, getting swept by Atlanta and losing 2 of 3 to the Marlins. Now the Cardinals face a crucial series with the Cubs, not so much because they are in danger of losing the National League Central, but because they simply need to right the ship before going on a tough nine game road trip.

Goal #1 will be to improve offensively. In this homestand the Cardinals have scored 2 runs or fewer in four of their six games. The Birds did put up 11 in their win against Florida, but the Cardinals need to be much more consistent with the bats. The Cardinals will face tough pitchers throughout the playoffs, so the bats need to be hot going in.

The Cardinals do not get a break as they will face Cardinal-killer Ted Lilly, Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano. The Cardinals will throw John Smoltz, Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright against those Cubs pitchers.

If the Cardinals can right the ship with their bats, the pitching should come through.

The Cardinals magic number is 8, the smallest of any division leader. Who would have thunk it?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Could Carpenter and Wainwright both win 20?

With Chris Carpenter's one-hit shutout of the Milwaukee Brewers, he improved his record to 16-3 (Cy Young anyone?) and improved his ERA to 2.16, which is best in the majors. The Cardinals n now boast the top two pitchers in the NL in wins (Wainwright with 17 and Carpenter with 16) while four other NL pitchers are tied for third with 14 wins. With 23 games left on the Cardinals regular season schedule, each pitcher should get 4 more starts. Carpenter would have to win 3 of those 4 and Wainwright would have to win all 4, but there is a possibility that both could end the season with 20 wins. It is not likely, but it is possible - which makes you wonder, when was the last time the Cardinals had two 20-game winning pitchers?


John Tudor went 21-8, Joaquin Andujar went 21-12, and oh by the way, Danny Cox was a not too shabby 18-9. What happened to the '85 Cardinals - you should know if you don't. They got robbed, I mean, beat by the Kansas City Royals in the I-70 World Series in 7 games. A fate that may be very similar for this year's Cardinals. (Beat, not robbed) Let's face it folks, as good as the one-two punch of Carpenter and Wainwright is, teams such as the Phillies, Yankees and Red Sox have similar one-two punches that are just as good, with lineups that are daunting.

Whenever and wherever the Cardinals end their season, one thing is for sure: Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright deserve a lot of the credit for how well this Redbird team is doing, and my guess is that one of them will receive some hardware for their efforts.

Go Cardinals.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Cardinals Bats Pick Up Wainwright's Poor 5th, Cards Reach 80 Wins

Well, maybe Adam Wainwright won't win the Cy Young. Do you think he cares? Things were going splendidly through 4 and 1/2 innings for the Cardinals - the Birds had a 5-0 lead and Adam Wainwright was once again pitching very well. Then something happened that hadn't happened since June 21st - Wainwright gave up more than 2 runs in a game. An amazing run of 13 starts without giving up more than 2 runs was ended when Wainwright gave up a whopping 6 runs in the bottom of the 5th to the Pirates. The Pirates then led 6-5.

How would the team react? Would they pick up their 16 game winning pitcher? Of course they would. Albert Pujols delivered a three-run home run off Denny Bautista, his 43rd of the season and the Cardinals would never relinquish the lead, on their way to a 14-7 drubbing of Pittsburgh.

Adam Wainwright, even with the poor performance improves his record to 17-7 and continues to lead the majors in wins.

The star of the evening, however was Ryan Ludwick, who was a triple away from the cycle and had 2 home runs, 2 doubles and a single (13 total bases - wow), along with 5 RBI's.

The Cards improve their record to 80-56 and are now 11.5 games above the 2nd place Chicago Cubs. The Cubs don't even deserve to be in second place, having only a 67-66 record. Shameful. With the division race all but over, the Cardinals have their sights set on the National League's beast record. If the Dodgers lose this evening, the Cardinals would be tied for the best record in the NL.

The Cardinals are on an amazing run. Since July 26th, the Cardinals are 27-8, which is better than a .750 clip. In series versus other teams, the Cardinals are 10-0-1 in that span (they split a two-game series with the Mets). That after going a mediocre 53-48 to begin the season.

The additions of Holliday, DeRosa and Lugo have proved to be very positive for this team, and has given them a shot in the arm that will hopefully carry them to the World Series. But let's not count our chickens just yet.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cards Capt a 20-6 August with a Win vs. the Nationals, Wainwright Earns 16th Win

The Cardinals continued their winning ways on Sunday with a 2-1 win over the Washington Nationals. Adam Wainwright was effective but not spectacular as he gave up 3 hits and 3 walks but only one run over 6 innings. An Albert Pujols RBI single driving in Colby Rasmus in the sixth gave the Cardinals a 2-1 lead, and the bullpen kept the lead the rest of the way to give Adam Wainwright (16-7) his MLB leading win total. Ryan Franklin came in in the eighth with two outs and recorded a four-out save, his 35th of the year.

The Cardinals, who improved their record to a season best 22 games over .500 at 77-55, completed a sweep of the Washington Nationals and are currently 5-1 on this homestand. The second place Cubs, who lost to the New York Mets today 4-1, now own a record of 65-63 and are 10 full games back of the Cardinals.

the Cardinals are off tomorrow, and finished the month of August with an amazing 20-6 record. The Chicago Cubs on the other hand, who play Houston on the last day of August tomorrow, have gone 11-16 in August (so far), so the Cardinals have gained 9.5 games on the Cubs just in August. At the beginning of the month, the Cardinals were in first place but only a half game ahead of the Cubs. In an amazing month, the Cardinals have basically put the Cubs away.

the Cardinals now have September to prepare for the playoffs and hope to earn the best record in the National League in order to secure home field advantage. The Cardinals trail the LA Dodgers by 1.5 games for the best record in the NL, and with an easy schedule, the Cardinals have a good chance of catching them. Go Cardinals!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wainwright Pitches Gem to Lead Cards Past Astros 1-0, Cubs are "Toast"

Adam Wainwright (16-7) pitched 8 shutout innings and Albert Pujols' RBI double in the first inning off Wandy Rodriguez was all the Cardinals needed to make a 1-0 lead stick against the Houston Astros at Busch Stadium on Tuesday.

Wainwright, now tied with CC Sabathia of the Yankees for the major league lead in wins, went eight innings, gave up no runs on 3 hits, 0 walks and 5 strikeouts. Wainwright was just plain nasty and continues to dominate opponents on the mound.

His counterpart on the mound Wandy Rodriguez (12-8) was a hard luck loser, giving up only 1 run over 7 innings. Rodriguez also only gave up 3 hits, with 1 walk and 6 strikeouts. The difference was that the Cardinals were able to tally a run on two hits in the first inning. The first was a single by Brendan Ryan, and then Albert Pujols doubled him in to make it 1-0 after one inning.

Ryan Franklin came in to pick up his 33rd save in the ninth inning. His ERA continues to be very impressive at 1.09. Wainwright's ERA improved to 2.50.

The Cardinals, who improved their record to 73-54, a season best 19 games over .500, gained a game on the hapless Chicago Cubs (62-61), and the Cardinals now lead the Cubs by 9 whole games. ESPN's Baseball Tonight crew dubbed the Cubs "toast" after last night's embarrasing 15-6 loss to the Washington Nationals at Wrigley Field.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Astros vs. Cardinals Series Preview

The streaking St. Louis Cardinals (72-54) begin a nine game homestand when they take on the Houston Astros (61-63) who are 10 games behind but have won 4 out of their last five games and do not fear the Cardinals. Although the Astros are 4-5 against the Cardinals this season, the Astros swept the Cardinals a little over a month ago in Houston, and are 4-2 in their last six against the Cards.

The series will feature three great pitching matchups. On Tuesday, Wandy Rodriguez (12-7) will face Adam Wainwright (14-7). On Wednesday, Roy Oswalt (7-4) will face Joel Pineiro (12-9). On Thursday in the finale, the Astros will pitch Brian Moehler (8-9) against staff ace Chris Carpenter (14-3). The Cardinals have an opportunity to give both Wainwright and Carpenter their 15th wins of the season, which will most likely continue to tie them for the league lead.

The Cardinals need to win, because the Cubs have an opportunity to gain ground as they host the Washington Nationals for a three-game series.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Smoltz Dominates Awful Padres, Pujols Jacks His 40th, Cards win 5-2

Do you think John Smoltz was a good pick up? Well, at least against the San Diego Padres, who have scored the least amount of runs in the majors, but Smoltz was impressive, striking out 9 batters and 7 in a row to lead the Cardinals (72-54) to a 5-2 win over the Padres. The Cards, who won three out of four against the lowly Pads, have now won their last 5 series, and 13 out of their last 16 games. The Cardinals won the season series agianst the Padres 6 to 1.

The Cardinals maintain their 8 game lead over the Chicago Cubs (62-60) who beat the LA Dodgers 3-1 at Dodger Stadium.

In his bid for a triple crown, Albert Pujols hit his 40th homer of the season to lead off the 4th inning agianst Padres reliever Edward Mujica.

Although John Smoltz only went 5 innings, the Cardinals held a 5-0 lead when Smoltz left and five relievers were able to keep the lead and the Cardinals won 5-2. Ryan Franklin picked up his 32nd save.