Rants Daily: Cardinals flex muscle in 11-5 victory over Brewers
Two games down and now two spoiled openers for their opponents. The St. Louis Cardinals moved to 2-0 using a power display in an 11-5 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Cardinals received homers from Yadier Molina, Carlos Beltran, Matt Holliday, and David Freese within a 16-hit barrage. The Cardinals got hits from each of the starters and knocked Yovani Gallardo out of the game after 3.2 innings. Gallardo allowed 6 earned runs on 7 hits (all four homers) and walked 5 batters.
Gallardo came into the game with a poor record against the Cardinals (1-7, 6.00 ERA) and it got worse by the end of his time on the mound.
It looked as if the game was going to go the Brewers way as Jaime Garcia allowed two runs in the first. Rickie Weeks opened the Brewers’ half of the first with a single. Carlos Gomez stroked a RBI triple and then scored on a groundout by Aramis Ramirez. The Brewers looked to be in control after the rocky first by Garcia.
Molina popped a home run in the top half of the second to cut the score to 2-1. Garcia then pitched a 1-2-3 second inning and didn’t allow another hit until the fifth. He ended the game with 6 innings pitched, 2 ER, 5 H, 2 BB and 3 K.
The Cards busted out the whipping sticks in the third. Beltran and Holliday homered on back-to-back pitches. After a walk to Lance Berkman, Freese followed with his homer giving the Cards a 5-2 lead.
The Cardinals would score again in the 4th, 6th, 7th and 9th innings. Rafael Furcal rapped out three more hits, keeping his average at a robust .600. Freese knocked in 3 runs on the day, bringing his total to 5 on the young season.
The moment Cardinals fans have been waiting for since September 2010 has come; Adam Wainwright will be making a start in the regular season for the Redbirds. Wainwright never made it to a regular season game in 2011 after he was hurt in a Spring Training bullpen session. He had Tommy John surgery the next day and gone was the 2011 season. He has progressed as well as anyone could have hoped. He had a very successful rehabilitation and pitched well in Spring Training.
The uncertainty around his outing will be the number of pitches he will be allowed to throw. The most he has thrown at one time since his return was 75, in a live batting practice session on what was his last work day. It is also unknown if Wainwright will suffer from any jitters since this is his first game back that matters. Wainwright has had success against most of the Brewers starters, except for Aramis Ramirez (.381 in 46 PA) and Nyjer Morgan (.583 in 12 PA). Ryan Braun is only a .195 hitter against Wainwright in 44 plate appearances. Wainwright holds a 7-4 record along with a 2.06 ERA in 109 innings in his career against the Brewers.
Zack Greinke takes the mound for Milwaukee. Greinke had a very successful first season for the Brewers in 2011. He went 16-6 with a 3.83 ERA. He struck out 201 batters in only 171.2 innings. He missed all of April last season. Matt Holliday hits especially well off of Greinke; 8-for-18 with 2 HR. Greinke is 5-3 with a 3.75 ERA against the Cardinals in his career.
MY TWO CENTS
For what it’s worth, the Cardinals are putting on a very nice hitting display early on and Rafael Furcal and David Freese are leading the charge. Furcal and Freese are reinforcing the idea that Spring Training stats do not tell the story and more often than not should be ignored.
While it is only two games, I fully admit I am surprised with Furcal. He seems like a different person than he was in Spring Training and this is good news for the Cardinals. During those games Furcal seemed sluggish and aloof. He looks far from that now. Not only does he have 6 hits in 10 at-bats, he has 2 stolen bases. This is a great thing for the Redbirds. It means he is as healthy as he has been in a while. So long as he can get on base at a reasonable clip, he will score many runs for the Cards, especially if he is able to get himself into scoring position.
As for Freese, I’m not so shocked. He has been on a tear since the end of the last season. He was phenomenal in the postseason and he has been every bit as clutch so far this season. It comes as no surprise that as soon as the games started to matter that Freese’s bat would come alive. Right now, it seems that anything in his zone gets pounded. If both men have successful and full seasons, it should translate into plenty of Cardinals’ victories like yesterday’s.
You can ‘Like’ Redbird Rants on Facebook here. You can follow Redbird Rants on Twitter at @FSRedbirdRants and Chris Carelli on Twitter at @Chris_Carelli.