On a day when Jaime Garcia was pitching to his talent level, the St. Louis Cardinals offense kept clicking rapping out 14 hits en route to an 11-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds last night at Busch Stadium.
Garcia was coming off a disappointing performance in his last start, also against the Reds, where he lasted only 4.2 innings. This time around Garcia pitched like the star the Cardinals hope he can eventually become going seven strong innings. He allowed seven hits and three walks which accounted for one run. He struck out four batters.
The Cardinals offense continued to bash opponents pitching. Mat Latos, the Reds’ prize acquisition during the offseason, was the culprit. Latos’ start with the Reds has been anything but what they were expecting when they traded Yonder Alonso to the Padres. Latos allowed eight earned runs on eight hits and 3 walks. His ERA ballooned to 8.22 for the short season.
Rafael Furcal cracked four hits and Carlos Beltran smacked his fifth home run of the season to lead the attack. The Cardinals have six regular players hitting over .300 and their top reserve, Matt Carpenter is hitting .375. Carpenter entered the game for Lance Berkman who re-aggravated the calf which kept him out of five games. It was just the second game back for Berkman. It seems likely that he will end up on the disabled list now giving Carpenter more time at first.
GREENE GETS THE START AT SECOND
Despite there being a right-handed starter yesterday, Tyler Greene was put into the lineup as the team has only faced two lefty starters this season. This is obviously taking at-bats away from Greene and handing them to Daniel Descalso, who has done little to keep them. Greene responded going 1-for-3 with a home run, two runs scored and two RBI.
MY TWO CENTS
For what it’s worth, the way the Cardinals are treating their players with injuries has been both good and bad so far this season. While it seemed they were going to take the completely safe approach with everyone, even when it came to hang nails, they have also made some poor decisions on when to bring players back.
First there was the rush job toward the end of March when all of the sudden it was reported that Allen Craig may be able to make it back by Opening Day. They pushed him, or he pushed himself, in a batting practice session and he aggravated his knee to the point that it swelled completely. Now instead of the possibility of having him ready at this point he fell back to the original estimation. Why do this with such a deep bench?
This is important because it looks as though Berkman is going to have to go on the DL in order to fully allow the strained calf to heal. He missed five games already, but then came back two days ago. It took one and one half games for him to re-injure the calf and is now looking at extended time off the field. At best, Berkman will be down a total of 18 games if he were to go on the DL today and be back at the end of the 15 day stint. The five games already sat were essentially wasted.
For all the good that manager Mike Matheny has done with trying to rest regulars to keep them fresh, he and the organization’s training staff have been unable to correctly determine when a player is ready to get back on the field. Beyond Berkman, Skip Schumaker is supposed to begin a rehab assignment and we have to wonder if he is ready. Of course a lot of the onus is on the player, but the manager has to get the correct information out of his player. This is one downfall of having a new manager, he cannot always tell when he is being told the truth by his players.
We can only hope that Chris Carpenter will be honest, that Wainwright would acknowledge if he was experiencing problems and that perennially injured Furcal and Beltran voice their discomforts when they have them. If they don’t we can’t expect Cardinals trainers or management to make the right call on their own based on what we’ve seen so far in 2012.
Tags: Adam Wainwright Allen Craig Bronson Arroyo Cardinals Carlos Beltran Chris Carpenter Cincinnati Reds Daniel Descalso Jaime Garcia Lance Berkman Mat Latos Matt Carpenter Mike Matheny Rafael Furcal Skip Schumaker St Louis Cardinals Tyler Greene Yadier Molina Yonder Alonso