Redbirds Week In Review: 7/31/12 to 8/5/12

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Friday August 3, 2012 St. Louis Cardinals 9 Milwaukee Brewers 3

Joe Kelly battling back from a horrible 2nd inning demonstrated what was already quite evident to St. Louis Cardinals brass.  He showed tremendous character and resiliency.  Though the 10 hits allowed jumps off the page, he limited the damage as much as possible, only walking 2 on the night.  Kelly also snapped a 3 start winless streak, as his teammates were able to finally break out in the 4th inning.  The bullpen that was so shaky and such a question mark has turned into a strength, as Barret Browning, Edward Mujica, Mitchell Boggs, and Marc Rzepczynski combined to allow just 2 hits, 0 walks, and 0 runs.  Mujica again experienced a very quick, effective inning.  Just 7 pitches into his night, he was done, as he went 1 very strong inning.

The Positives:  Joe Kelly’s personal losing streak was snapped, beginning what will hopefully be a run of success for the rookie.  In 10 starts, he has never allowed more than 3 runs, and that seems to be a trend that will continue for some time.  Many may argue that his luck can’t continue forever, but I personally feel as though it’s more tenacity and battling back than luck.  Mujica continued to prove just why the Cardinals were high on him, though they paid the price of Zack Cox.

The Negatives:  13 men left on base is never something you want to see, but it’s not the worst thing in the world when 13 hits and 9 runs are on the board.

Player of the Game:  I absolutely have to give this one to Joe Kelly.  His 5.2 innings and 10 hits allowed wouldn’t normally garner such attention from me, but he proved that he’s got fight in that tiny frame of his.  Furthermore, he had a tie-breaking 4th inning RBI that pushed across St. Louis’ 4th run, and they didn’t look back.

Saturday August 4, 2012 St. Louis Cardinals 6 Milwaukee Brewers 1

The St. Louis Cardinals moved one step closer to a home series sweep of Milwaukee for the first time in a number of years.  Adam Wainwright was the story here, as his first complete game of the season pushed him to 9-1o on the season.  On just 98 pitches, Waino got the job done, with a final line of 9 IP, 5 Hits, 1 ER, 0 BB, and 7 Ks.  Finally, it looks like he has rounded into form.  It’s tough to rebound from a surgery and rehab like he did, and he has shown nothing but class through the entire process. It’s official – Waino is back!

The Positives:  Carlos Beltran, Allen Craig, Yadi-Mo, Jon Jay, and Wainwright all contributed in the RBI department.  Wainwright’s 3rd inning double was the second go-ahead RBI from a starting pitcher in as many days, and it lit a fire under the Redbirds, as they scored 3 more runs in the frame.  They added one more tally in the 6th, on Jay’s solo shot.

The Negatives:  Other than Daniel Descalso failing to capitalize with a 2 out RBI opportunity, there wasn’t much.  That’s about it.  The W is what matters, and the Redbirds got it.

Player of the Game:  Adam Wainwright is certainly the most deserving here.  Tommy John surgery is nothing to sneeze at!  Just take a look at Stephen Strasburg.  His innings limit is due just as much to his recent surgery as it is the fact that he’s young.  More than the homers and timely hits, I love good pitching, and the St. Louis Cardinals have it.  They have put together a great start to August, and if Waino can continue success similar to this start, he will certainly inspire confidence in the rest of the staff.  Even the bullpen has me smiling of late.

Sunday August 5, 2012 St. Louis Cardinals 3 Milwaukee Brewers 0

Kyle Lohse continued the great Cardinal pitching, not allowing a run over his 6 frames.  His ERA, Innings Pitched, and Winning Percentage are all among the league best.  Lohse was quoted after the game as saying, ”I have an idea of what I’m trying to do out there and I’m just going out and executing the game plan…It’s always fun to go out and throw strikes and let the defense do its work.”  Lohse has shown that he isn’t afraid to pitch to contact, as 11 of his outs were on ground or fly balls.

Daniel Descalso had himself quite the game, as his 3 hits were a season high.  He even notched his 16th RBI of the season.

The Positives:  The insurance runs in the 7th and 8th innings were a nice surprise.  It’s not that things ever got dicey, but it was nice to know that there was a little cushion to play with for the bullpen.  Amazingly, Mujica made it through the 7th on a mere 6 pitches.  Somehow, he has thrown

The Negatives:  Though the offense managed 12 hits on the night, it only led to 3 runs.  It didn’t matter in the end though, as the Cardinals closed the book on a 5-1 week.

Player of the Game:  Kyle Lohse has to be the winner here, and I’m sure he is quite thankful today for the three men who earned RBI, allowing him to get the W.  It’s nice to see just 1 run allowed by the 2 best starters on the team the last two games of the series.  Just think, if Jaime Garcia can come back in time for the playoffs, the Cardinals would have pretty formidable starters, even if a series were to stretch longer than desired.

Looking Ahead:  The Redbirds face the San Francisco Giants for a 4 game home series beginning tonight, with Matt Cain taking on Jake Westbrook.  A win over the Cardinals already under his belt this season, Cain looks for another, but hopefully they won’t give it to him.  The weekend series is a 3 game set against the Philadelphia Phillies.  The Cardinals will have to improve upon a 1-1 mark against the Giants and a 1-3 mark against the Phillies if they hope to make early August a success and have any hope of catching the Cincinnati Reds.  I’m hoping for a 6-1 week, and I think that’s realistic.

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