The St. Louis Cardinals ended a rough seven-game road trip with an impressive 5-2 record after losing to the Cincinnati Reds 4-3 yesterday afternoon on a walk-off pinch-hit single by Chris Heisey.
The Redbirds were unable to get on the board in the first inning in this one, but still were able to gain the lead first. In the top of the third inning, Jaime Garcia singled with two-out and made it all the way home on a triple by Rafael Furcal. Jon Jay was the next batter and hit a long drive to center that carried a bit in the wind for a two-run homer.
Garcia was unable to get consecutive outs very often during his 4.2 innings. He allowed 11 hits and one walk. He was up to 81 pitches when the tying run scored on a bunt single by Wilson Valdez, his second such hit of the game.
With the game tied in the ninth, manager Mike Matheny took Marc Rzepczynski out for Fernando Salas to face pinch-hitter Heisey. This may seem like a good move as Heisey is a right-handed hitter and Salas throws from the same side. However, Heisey hits righties much better than lefties to the tune of .284 vs. .180 (he has 150 at-bats against lefties so there is enough of a sample size). The problem is Rzepczynski wasn’t throwing strikes so it is possible Matheny felt his lefty didn’t have it yesterday. Regardless the pitch Heisey hit was up and over the plate and any major league hitter could have drilled it.
It is fortunate the Cardinals have an off day today as they prepare for their home opener. The starters have been pitching well but not particularly deep into games and it could begin to tax the bullpen. This has been a knock on Garcia in particular. He is a very inconsistent starter, with excellent games mixed in with clunkers. Overall, he has been effective in his two seasons, but he needs to develop a rhythm with his starts in order to provide more length on a consistent basis.
The Cardinals are very happy to be 5-2 after the opening season road trip. They displayed plenty of power in the seven games hitting a major league leading 12 home runs and have a collective .885 OPS. They lead the National League with a .301 batting average. The pitching staff, led by the rotation has a 2.93 ERA (2.25 for starters) holding hitters to a .215 batting average (.204 for starting pitching).
BERKMAN OUT WITH SORE CALF
According to MLB.com reporter Jeff Wallner, Manager Mike Matheny told Lance Berkman the night before last that he was not going to start Wednesday’s game “even if he woke up with someone else’s calf…” Berkman was unsure if the calf would be ready for Friday’s game.
EARLY SEASON LEADERS
After seven games here is a peek at the statistical leaders for the Cardinals.
- AVG – David Freese (.429)
- HR – Freese, Carlos Beltran (3)
- RBI – Freese (10)
- Wins – Kyle Lohse (2)
- ERA – Jake Westbrook (0.00)
- Ks – Lance Lynn (8)
Adam Wainwright will take the mound tomorrow in the Cardinals’ home opener. Prior the game there will be festivities celebrating the Cardinals’ World Series victory. The Redbirds will receive their rings, yet another sting to Chicago Cubs fans who haven’t been able to celebrate a World Series Championship since 1908. We’ll provide a complete series preview in tomorrow’s Rants Daily.
Tags: Adam Wainwright Cardinals Carlos Beltran Chris Heisey David Freese Fernando Salas Jaime Garcia Jake Westbrook Jon Jay Kyle Lohse Lance Berkman Lance Lynn Marc Rzepczynski Mike Matheny Rafael Furcal St Louis Cardinals