GAME 112: Splitter
Adam Wainwright restored some order after last night’s brutal 15-0 loss, throwing seven innings and 119 pitches in a brilliant one-run game. While the offense wasn’t terrific, it was just enough to salvage the final game of the four game series, earning a split with a 3-1 victory over the Giants.
GREENER PASTURES: Looming over the afternoon contest was the pre-game trade of Tyler Greene to Houston. The nervous, athletic infielder has committed his last bonehead error in a Cardinal uniform after being loudly booed at Busch the night before. He has talent, but Greene never put it together in St. Louis. You can already feel a sense of relief knowing that Greene will not be trotting out to second base anymore.
THE ACE: It’s curious how many people have been discounting the potential of Wainwright. Sure, he’s coming off of a dangerous surgery and looked ineffective in many early starts. But I think it’s fair to say Waino is all the way back. He was nasty and dominant again today, keeping the Giants off-balance all afternoon. With seven innings and one run, today marks the first time this year that Wainwright’s ERA has been below 4.00. Just like Chris Carpenter last year, Wainwright needs to step it up in the big games we hope to see in the next two months. He’s the ace, now.
JAY DAZE: The offense mustered just four hits (yuck …), two of them by Jon Jay. Our jug-eared center fielder is hitting .500 in the last week, and .440 in August. Jay went a ridiculous 10-15 (.667) against the Giants in this series, and finally looked like a solid option as a leadoff hitter (something I’ve wanted to see from him for a while). Seriously, guys, I think his shoulder is better. But besides the offense, Jay made a couple of excellent catches (including a sliding catch to save a run) to further solidify his standing as one of the best centerfielders we’ve had since the legendary Jim Edmonds.
WHO IS THE MVP? : Fans have been making noise about a possible MVP for either Matt Holliday or Yadier Molina, which is tough to argue against. However, what about Carlos Beltran?? His big two-run bomb in the first inning ended up as the game winner. It was his 27th home run and league-leading 80th RBI. While Holliday and Molina have both carried this team at different times, Beltran has been the steady performer in the lineup. Due to Beltran’s amazing year, Cardinal fans can easily ask the sarcastic question, “Pujols who?”
SWIFT RECOVERY: It was clear that Mitchell Boggs had no residual effects from giving up a grand slam in the previous game. Boggs stomped out to the mound in the eighth and threw a pivotal, efficient inning with one strikeout. He didn’t look intimidated at all; in fact, he looked possessed.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Waino or Beltran; flip a coin.
CONCLUSION: Man, we needed this win! One of the biggest tests for any team is its ability to rebound from a deflating loss. The Cardinals responded today, just a few hours after last night’s humiliation, with a strong and resilient victory. The Cardinals may not end up as a championship team this year, but they’re showing that they at least have the guts and the nerve to do it all again. May the chips fall in our favor!