Three observations from the Cardinals 2-0 win against the Pirates on Monday.
What Could Wainwright’s Record Be?
While Adam Wainwright didn’t have his best start last night, never having a perfect inning and dealing with multiple runners in scoring position, Wainwright did enough to keep the Cardinals in the game. With the Cardinals dreadful offense, keeping this team in the game means keeping the other team scoreless. Wainwright did just that by throwing seven scoreless innings and lowering his ERA to 1.79. Yet, because of the Cardinals lack of runs, Wainwright was not rewarded with a win. When you look at Wainwright’s 11-4 record you realize that it could be even better if the Cardinals offense provided even a smidgen of run support. Against the Dodgers on June 26, Wainwright went eight innings giving up only run, but was hit with the loss. On June 4 against Kansas City, Wainwright went eight innings only giving up two runs and was saddled with a no decision. On April 6 against Pittsburg, Wainwright threw seven innings only giving up two runs but was charged with the loss. You can see the trend forming. If the Cardinals had produced just a meager three runs in each of those games, Wainwright could be sporting an even more impressive 14-2 record. In a season where Wainwright is in contention for a CY Young with Clayton Kershaw, the Cardinals need to do their part and get him wins when he throws gems like last night.
Matt Adams should be an All-Star.
Matt Adams provided the Cardinals with at least a day of relief from hearing about how their mediocre offense blew another game by blasting a two-run walk-off homerun last night. In the past two games, Adams has had six of the Cardinals 13 hits and has flat out been mashing the ball since coming off the disabled list a couple weeks back. When one looks at the hitting stats in the National League as a whole, a case can be made for Adams as an All-Star. He is second in average behind Troy Tulowitzki, fifth in slugging and eight in OPS. While N.L. starter Paul Goldschmidt is admittedly in having a better year in terms of home runs and RBIs, I would say that Adams is having a better year and doing more for his team than the N.L.’s backup first basemen Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves. With Mike Matheny managing the N.L. All-Stars, Adams might have been snubbed by his own manager.
Allen Craig can’t hit clean-up.
I’m stealing this argument from St. Louis Post Dispatch writer Bernie Miklasz, but the point is so glaring that it could be made a hundred times. While batting fourth this year, Allen Craig has flat out stunk adding more evidence to this matter with his 0-3 performance last night. In the clean-up spot, Craig has hit .249 with a .292 OBP and .365 slugging percentage. Look no further to find one of the main problems with the Cardinals offense than Craig’s dismal slugging percentage in the four hole. While I understand the point of trying to get Craig back on track, this can be done batting Craig further down in the lineup where there is less pressure on him. Matheny could opt for Jhonny Peralta who, despite his low average, is slugging .441 with a team leading 13 homeruns. Maybe even try Yadier Molina in the four-hole or plug Oscar Taveras in the two-hole and move Matt Holliday back to the four hole. Whatever the solution be, the Cardinals can’t afford to have Craig hit cleanup until he finds his stroke.