Friday August 17, 2012 St. Louis Cardinals 1 Pittsburgh Pirates 2
Jake Westbrook pitched 7 2/3 innings, allowing 2 total runs, with only 1 earned. Most nights, that would be good enough for just about any team, but not the St. Louis Cardinals on this night. James McDonald and the Pittsburgh Pirates relievers allowed a total of 4 hits on the night, scoring their 2 runs in the 4th on a wild pitch and passed ball. It’s tough to lose a 1-run game any day, but even worse when that’s the way it comes to pass.
The Positives: Not much good to say about this one other than Westbrook’s start. He, Scrabble, and Salas did what they could, but the Redbirds couldn’t seem to find their stroke.
The Negatives: The wild pitch and passed ball seems somewhat of a microcosm of the St. Louis Cardinals season thus far. 10 strikeouts and 10 LOB on the night certainly doesn’t help either. The Cardinals absolutely have to find a way to win games like this, and fast!
Player of the Game: James McDonald and Pirate relief take home the award this night. The Pirates pitching stymied the Cardinals, as they could not overcome the wild pitch and passed ball.
Saturday August 18, 2012 St. Louis Cardinals 5 Pittsburgh Pirates 4
Yadier Molina returned ready to lend a helping hand, and boy did he ever. His 2-run ground rule double in the 5th scored what would prove to be the winning run on the night. Though Lance Lynn only could muster 4 1/3 innings, Barret Browning, Trevor Rosenthal, Edward Mujica, Mitchell Boggs, and Jason Motte were fantastic in making sure they picked him up.
The Positives: Yadi’s return. That says it all right there. Sorely missed since his departure with a sore back, Yadi’s return was a good one. 3-4 on the night with a huge 5th inning hit, he was everything the Cardinals hoped for in his return.
The Negatives: Lance Lynn and Lynnsanity seem to be all but over. The pitcher looks like a shell of the pitcher that went 10-2 in his first 12 decisions. He has not won a game in August, and since June 13, his ERA has gone up over a run per 9.
Player of the Game: Yadi-Mo, all the way. His 3 hits, and 2 2-out RBI were all the difference in this one, as the Cardinals improved ever so slightly in one-run games.
Sunday August 19, 2012 St. Louis Cardinals 3 Pittsburgh Pirates 6
This marathon of a game was such a heartbreaker for me that I woke up this morning hoping that I was dreaming in the 19th. It’s not easy to lose, especially when a game turns into 2 games and an inning. I’m just hoping this didn’t take whatever wind was in the sails of the Redbirds right out of them. Jaime Garcia was absolutely splendid in his return from a 64 day absence, and it looked as though he was well on his way to his first win since May 16th. 8 innings, 5 Hits, 2 Runs, 0 Walks, and 10 Ks was his line. At first glance, one would wonder how it could even be that the St. Louis Cardinals didn’t win.
Matt Holliday and David Freese each were 0-fers on the day, and the middle of the lineup was a mere 4-28 on the day. You’re just not going to get it done any day of the week with that lack of production from your main guys.
The Positives: There weren’t many things going right for the Cardinals on the day (and night) other than Garcia’s start and the tremendous relief provided by Joe Kelly.
The Negatives: Barret Browning’s outing was miserable to say the least. After crisp, clean innings by Cardinal relief, it took just 28 pitches for Browning to really make a mess of things. He allowed a monster shot from Pedro Alvarez after getting a fly out from Michael McKenry. As if that wasn’t enough, he then loaded the bases on a Clint Barmes single, Jose Tabata double, and Josh Harrison walk. Andrew McCutchen took advantage of him, singling home 2, giving the Pirates a 6-3 lead, and eventual win.
Player of the Game: Pedro Alvarez’s blast quieted the St. Louis crowd, and the tired players and crowd seemed deflated. Alvarez’s wife even blessed herself with the wrong hand. It was deflating to see the ball clear the wall by a good 5 rows, and McCutchen’s 2-run single only added to the hurt.
Looking Ahead: The St. Louis Cardinals will face the Astros and Reds in the coming week, and they need to win every game. That is certainly easier said than done, but they need to find a way to make that happen if they have any hope of a division crown. The Cardinals are much better a team than the showing lately, and I look for them to rebound before it’s too late. If it comes to a one-run game, let’s hope that the Redbirds can improve upon their woeful 3-9 record to date.