GAME 30: Belted
Jake Westbrook tossed seven brilliant shutout innings like the Cy Young winner he isn’t, while Carlos Beltran drove in all of the runs with two huge homers early as the Cardinals (19-11) cruised to a 6-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
BESTBROOK: Don’t look now, but Jake Westbrook is quietly putting together a wonderful start to 2012. Now 4-2 (with one of the losses a 2-0 shutout against Pittsburgh), Westbrook twirled seven innings of four hit ball while striking out eight. EIGHT. I’m not sure Westbrook could strike out the Missouri School of the Blind eight times, let alone a fine offensive team like Arizona. Whatever Fat Westbrook lost in weight he gained in mojo.
THE BIG CAT: Carlos Beltran is absolutely terrifying these days. The big right fielder crushed a two-run shot in the first following a Jon Jay triple, which in itself would be great. But Beltran strode up to the plate with the bases loaded in the second, and put his short sweet swing on an Ian Kennedy fastball for a grand slam. Beltran drove in all six Cardinal runs with those two homers, putting him second in the National League with 10 home runs and third in RBI’s. I’m sure the D-Backs cannot wait until Beltran leaves the state.
BAD SPOT: I really think Allen Craig needs to play fewer games at first base. Last night he was pulled off the base to stop an errant throw and came up limping. Tonight, another wide throw from David Freese pulled him awkwardly off the base in the fourth. It’s pretty clear that Craig doesn’t have the range of motion in that knee to keep fielding wide throws. I’d hate to see Craig re-injure that knee and be lost for another six months. Lance Berkman can’t get back soon enough for me.
LOUDMOUTH: Hand it to the Diamondbacks’ fans – they aren’t many, but they’re vocal. They never stop chanting. I was particularly impressed with one male fan who spent the entire game screaming at the top of his lungs. It’s admirable, although misguided.
THE BAD BOGGS: It was disheartening to see Mitchell Boggs take another step backward from his excellent first three weeks of work. In between striking out the side, Boggs gave up two hits, a walk, and one run. Perhaps he was lulled to sleep by a largely boring game, but it’s still no excuse when his roster spot is still up for grabs.
BAD BREAK: In the midst of Boggs’ disastrous ninth inning, he threw an errant 98 mph fastball right into Yadier Molina‘s left wrist. Yadi crumpled to the ground in pain and had to leave the game. On his way to the dugout, it was clear that the wrist and hand had already begun to swell. It looks pretty bad. Please tell me we’re not going to lose our emotional leader for six weeks. We’ll know tomorrow.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Beltran.
CONCLUSION: This game came out fine as far as standings are concerned, but it could be a pivotal one for the team if Molina goes down for several weeks. All of the other injuries suffered this season have been easily replaced, but there is no replacing Yadi. Keep your fingers crossed!