The St. Louis Cardinals had a 5-1 week this week, and they moved to 10 games above the .500 mark at 59-49. It was great to see Kyle Lohse pick up 2 wins, as he quietly moved to 12-2 on the season. A look at his game log suggests that he could have as many as 16 wins if the Redbirds would have picked him up in a few other starts. His 2.79 ERA is 9th best in the majors, and certainly comes with the least fanfare. Also with wins this week were Jake Westbrook, Joe Kelly, and Adam Wainwright. The lone loss went to Fernando Salas.
Tuesday July 31, 2012 St. Louis Cardinals 11 Colorado Rockies 6
The St. Louis Cardinals finished the month of July on a high note. In 25 games, they were a decent 15-10, but need to have a solid last few months if they are to make the playoffs in an effort to defend last year’s title run. On this night, The Redbirds collected 15 hits, which amounted to 11 runs. Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran, and David Freese each had homeruns, with Holliday and Freese going back-to-back in the top of the 7th. Allen Craig, Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran, David Freese, Skip Schumaker, and Yadier Molina, each had at least 2 hits, with all but Schumaker and Molina collecting RBI. Matt Holliday’s 4 pushed him to a very respectable 70 on the year, while the 2 Beltran earned pushed his total to 75.
The Positives: Kyle Lohse had a less than spectacular start, but it was wonderful to see his St. Louis Cardinals teammates pick him up and help him notch the W. There are a few starts in which he easily could and should have won but didn’t, so it was nice to see him move to 11-2 with a 5 ER night. Aside from a poor 1st and 6th inning, he was solid. All 5 runs and 6 of the 9 hits he allowed were limited to those 2 frames. Matt Holliday’s 4 RBI were a bright spot, and the power is definitely still there, as 20+ has been the norm over the last 3 seasons. Also worth noting on the day was the St. Louis Cardinals addition of Edward Mujica in a trade for third base prospect Zack Cox, adding bullpen depth while letting go of an expendable piece in Cox with the emergence of World Series hero David Freese.
The Negatives: Errors by Daniel Descalso and Skip Schumaker and 14 men left on base were the blemishes here. All 5 of Lohse’s runs allowed came in 2 innings, and a misplay by Holliday on Eric Young Jr’s double led to 2 first-inning tallies.
Player of the Game: Matt Holliday again showed why the Redbirds gave him the contract they did. He tortured his former team to the tune of 2-5, 2 Runs, 1 HR, and 4 RBI. His .320 average following the game (.324 to date) is his best in a 400+ AB season since a .340 mark in 2007 with the Colorado Rockies.
Wednesday August 1, 2012 St. Louis Cardinals 9 Colorado Rockies 6
Another 5 run start by a St. Louis Cardinals starter thankfully still yielded a win, as Jake Westbrook moved to 10-8 on the year. Edward Mujica pitched a scoreless 7th on just 10 pitches in his first appearance for the Redbirds. The tale of the tape here was much the same as the game prior, as Matt Holliday continued his recent surge, with 2 homers and 5 RBI, while Tyler Greene and Yadier Molina also collected RBI on the night. Certainly Coors Field and its dimensions were no stranger to Holliday, and it was great to see him follow up such a good night with an even better one. Though the Rockies again managed 6 runs, they were no match for the Cardinals.
The Positives: Mujica’s appearance was just a footnote in this one, as Holliday again stole the show, but it was nice to see his outing be a scoreless one, and a quick one too. Another positive was all the late runs, as the Cardinals scored in the 7th, 8th, and 9th. Add 12 more hits to the season, and the only position player without one was Jon Jay, who did manage to get on base with a walk.
The Negatives: Other than allowing 4 6th inning runs, there weren’t too many on the night. There were a lot left on base yet again, but that seems to be a likelihood when men are getting on base so frequently. The 1 hour and 26 minute rain delay was certainly a buzz kill too, but it was nice to see the game finished.
Player of the Game: Matt Holliday again made himself at home in his former stomping grounds, and it was a night we have come to expect from him of late. His average, homer, and RBI uptick have come as no surprise, as it was only a matter of time before his stats mirrored those of recent years.
Thursday August 2, 2012 St. Louis Cardinals 2 Colorado Rockies 8
Rookie Josh Rutledge homered in his 4th straight game, as the Rockies took one of 3 from the Redbirds. Recently added Brian Fuentes gave up a 2-run shot to Wilin Rosario in the 8th, and what was a 2-2 game in the 6th turned into a blowout with 3 Colorado runs in the 7th and 8th innings. The St. Louis Cardinals were also outhit 13-5, and they spoiled a quality start by Lance Lynn.
The Positives: Lance Lynn went 6 solid innings, even though his command wasn’t perfect on the night. His final line was 7 Hits, 2 ER, 4 BB, and 4 Ks. He also lowered his ERA slightly, to 3.42. His 127 Ks in 127 innings is good for exactly a strikeout per inning ratio. Aside from a rough 3-start stretch to end June and one in July, he’s been nothing short of fantastic filling in for Chris Carpenter. It remains to be seen if he has an inning limit, but there hasn’t been much talk of that yet.
The Negatives: The St. Louis Cardinals bullpen blew this one, as each of the 3 relievers used allowed at least 1 run. The hitters didn’t do much to bail them out either, as both runs were in the 6th, and the team only had 5 hits on the night. Gotta give it up here for Alex White and the Rockies bullpen.
Player of the Game: I think Josh Rutledge deserves this one along with Wilin Rosario, as each player had meaningful bombs on the night. Rutledge’s 4th in as many games were certainly the story, but Rosario’s shot was almost as meaningful, as it was his first ever pinch-hit shot.