Wainwright Handed First Home Loss As Brewers Sweep Cards


With a pair of tightly contested 3-2 victories, the Milwaukee Brewers completed a quick two game series sweep of the Cardinals in St. Louis. In a series dominated by pitching, the Cards came out second best. The Brewers have had tremendous struggles with their rotation this year, but starters Dave Bush and Randy Wolf were able to keep the St. Louis bats in check for the most part. The Redbirds managed only four runs on ten hits in the series, and they fell behind three nothing in both games. To make matters worse, they were a combined one for ten with runners in scoring position throughout the series. That is a recipe for disaster for any team.

However, Jamie Garcia and Adam Wainwright pitched well in their own right, but ended up with losses because the offense could not support their efforts. All of Garcia’s runs were unearned, due to an error by third baseman Felipe Lopez on a potential inning-ending double play ball. As crazy as it sounds, opponents have scored seven unearned runs in Garcia’s last three starts.

While Wainwright was charged with the three runs that crossed the plate in his outing, they were scored late in the game and came along with seven strikeouts in as many innings. Wainwright’s first home loss of year also snapped a remarkable 25 1/3 scoreless innings streak. All great things come to an end sooner or later, but there’s no doubt that Wainwright has established himself as the best pitcher in all of baseball so far this year.

Although it was a short, two game series against a sub-par opponent, its importance should not be underestimated, especially in the midst of a heated playoff race. Every game for the remainder of the season, regardless of the opposition, is very crucial and should not be overlooked.

After a promising sweep of the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ballpark last week, the Cardinals are riding a four game losing streak and will be forced to overcome a two and a half game deficit in the N.L. Central or a two game deficit in the Wild Card. They continually put themselves in tough positions by giving the division lead away soon after they work hard to get it.

While this back and forth division race has provided loads of excitement, it would certainly be reassurance to the fans if the Redbirds could maintain a division lead for an extended period of time. Match-ups against mediocre teams such as the Cubs and Brewers are simply must win games for the Cards, especially at home in Busch Stadium.

The most surprising statistic this year for the Cardinals is the fact that they have a record of 10-5 against the division-leading Reds, but are a shocking 15-17 against the Brewers, Cubs, and Astros. The Redbirds should be taking advantage of the weaker teams in the division, but they have struggled instead. Whether they have taken these teams for granted or this record is merely the result of some poor performances, it is simply unacceptable. St. Louis could have the division well in hand if they had seized the opportunities to beat these teams all season long.

I am still confident that the Cardinals will win the division when it’s all said and done, but they must avoid stretches of three or more losses in a row at all costs. There is no doubt that the team will face some adversity during the final 43 games of the season. The National League is as competitive as it has been in a long time, but the bottom line is that the Cards need to take it one game at a time, play to their highest capabilities, and consistently put wins up on the board.

It would be a major disappointment to everyone in St. Louis to see such a talented team miss the playoffs completely because they failed to capitalize on the opportunities they were given.