Cardinals Drop Four Straight The Tough Way, Regain Tie For First
By Editorial Staff
The two current NL Central powerhouses have been hot for at least the last month, but the fires seem to have died down at least for the time being.
Friday night the Cardinals waltzed into Milwaukee in the middle of their hot streak, riding the wave brought on from the resurgence of Albert Pujols and his major comeback to become player of the week for the first time this season. The Brewers were at one point 21-8 for the last month and not looking back. From here they went on to sweep the Cardinals and gain sole possession of first place for the first time this season.
Narveson cut down Lohse and the Cards 8-0, Saturday Greinke battled in his first time facing them as a Brewer 5-3, and alas, Sunday a four run 6th overpowered the club to close out the series 4-3.
A day of travel Monday looked to be what they needed to put the sweep behind them…or so we thought. The Cardinals came in Tuesday night looking terrific. Albert hits a two run home run in the first, Berkman a solo shot in the fourth, and although the Nats were able to bring one in the bottom of the fourth but the Cardinals came back in the fifth to take a commanding 6-1 lead.
Apparently I turned off the game far too early and figured it was over a little prematurely. The 7th was the stab the Nationals need to put the Cardinals down for good. Jaime Garcia was pulled after six full innings up 6-2 and was in line for the win. Miguel Batista came in for 2/3’s of an inning and gave up 5 runs on 4 hits. Trever Miller then came to give up one more run and was charged with the blown save.
What is to gather from all of this? Is this mere coincidence or just a rough patch?
The Cardinals are still playing .559 ball and in line currently to tie the Braves and Brewers for the third best NL record behind the Phillies (.612) and Giants (.561). At the beginning people said the Reds and Brewers would be battling for first and the Cardinals would be left out of the mix. All along I felt they were more than a worthy adversary to come back and reclaim their rightful place in the Central.
For a good bit it looked to be only the Phillies and Cardinals pulling away in the NL. The Phillies have that phenomenal pitching staff and sometimes questionable field crew with tons of injuries and questions abound. Looks to be like the Cardinals are headed that way as well.
All of our pieces just seem to be hitting at weird times. Sometimes we’re cohesive and undoubtedly the best team in the league, other times we have some people performing and getting mixed wins here and there, and other times the entire team just seems to shut down.
This time of year is when many of the front runners begin to dip a little and hopefully this is a little premature, but at this moment we have reason to be concerned with the way things are going.
– Albert is BACK in a big way
– We have outstanding bench players always ready to go
– Kyle McClellan and Matt Holliday are due back in the next game or two
As we get our role players back, the Cardinals look to once again put together that incredible lineup with an ace pitching staff to try and not only regain sole possession of first but try to build upon that lead.