GAME 21: Slamming Brews
Kyle Lohse (4-0) didn’t have his best stuff, but the Cardinals (14-7) broke out their unstoppable offense in his support as they steamrolled over the awful, stumbling Brewers 7-3 at a sunny (and very happy) Busch Stadium.
CLOSER TO EARTH: The first four starts for Kyle Lohse this season have been among the best of his career; he has been nearly unhittable. He brought a jaw-dropping 0.99 ERA into the action today and his sights set on his fourth win against no losses. But Lohse didn’t look good today, giving up two home runs in addition to several sharply-hit balls. More disturbing, Lohse surrendered four walks today after giving only two passes all season. Give Lohse credit, though – he battled admirably, and kept the damage minimized. His new ERA of 1.62 isn’t as nice, but it’s a bit more realistic.
BIRTHDAY PRESENT: David Freese turned 29 today, and he celebrated by cranking his fifth home run of the season in the fourth.
THE BREWERS SUCK: The Brewers have played a sloppy series thus far. Today, the Cardinals capitalized on another error by first baseman Mat Gamel by scoring in the third. Then, the Cardinals were helped by a dumb move by Brewers manager Ron Roenickie in the sixth, when he chose to let his pitcher strike out with the bases loaded and Lohse struggling. Do the Brewers remember how to win baseball games anymore? This team has fallen hard, and FAST.
THE LEADER: After Lohse fumbled the lead in the sixth by walking in the tying run, the Cardinals came right back. Carlos Beltran led off the inning with a walk, which brought up Yadier Molina. He turned on a low slider and stroked a laser beam home run that just cleared the wall in left field to give the Cardinals a 5-3 lead. After a curtain call, Molina’s hug of Lohse told the whole story – Yadi was glad to get Lohse off the hook. That kind of leadership cannot be replaced and is, in fact, priceless.
JUST FINE: Jon Jay went 3-4 with a stolen base and an RBI. I think he’s feeling better, and thank goodness for that.
MARTE MCFLY: Victor Marte might turn out to be one of the most impressive arms in our impressive bullpen this year. His slurve (a slider/curve combination) is vicious, and is quickly becoming one of the best pitches on the staff. It’s unhittable. Ted Williams would take one look at that pitch and quit baseball. Marte used it to carve up Rickie Weeks and Ryan “Artificial” Braun in a seventh inning that lasted 3.4 seconds of brilliance.
MATHENIUS: Molina stroked his fourth hit of the game with one out in the fourth. Matt Carpenter followed that with a walk. Under La Russa, those two runners would’ve stood on their bases and waited until the voice of God boomed from the heavens and told them to run. But Matheny is clearly excited about making his team more dynamic. So he sent both runners in a risky hit and run with Skip Schumaker at the plate, and it worked like magic. Skip ripped a double down the right field line to score both runners easily and put the game out of reach. BRILLIANT! I’d love to hear the Matheny naysayers complain about that!
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Molina. He not only went 4-4 and started two rallies, but he also carefully massaged Lohse through his most difficult start of the year.
CONCLUSION: This team is loose, aggressive, and confident. If they don’t win it all again, then nobody deserves it.