GAME 42: Greene Thumb
A breathtaking start from Jaime Garcia was nearly wasted by a DOA Cardinals offense, who could not seem to string together anything against Clayton Richard. The Cardinals found just enough offense thanks to another great game from an unexpected source, their much-maligned second baseman Tyler Greene, as the Cardinals (23-19) passed the Padres 4-3 at Busch.
HALLELUJAH: The starting rotation has come under fire during the recent losing streak, and with good reason – they haven’t been taking games deep enough, causing undue stress on the bullpen. Leave it to enigmatic left-hander Garcia to step up and pitch his way into the eighth inning! Garcia was, for hte most part, pretty special all night. His stuff was down, and moving wickedly in and out of the zone. He didn’t get the win, but his start made a huge statement to the rest of the staff. It put the whole team into a position to win.
THE BIG LEAGUES: Maybe the people waving palm branches outside of Busch Stadium for the arrival of Matt Adams should rethink their devotion. The big left-handed power hitter can definitely slug, but his 0-4 night (two strikeouts and a GIDP ) in his second major league game shows that he’s still a young, raw talent. Putting too much pressure on the kid isn’t going to help him, either.
WHIPPING BOY: Tyler Greene gets slapped around pretty regularly these days. Mozeliak’s boy continues to run hot and cold, much to the displeasure of restless fans. I know I’m sick of the inconsistencies. But a game like tonight demonstrates why Mozeliak keeps trying to find a way to make Greene work for this ballclub. When right, Greene has explosive, game-changing abilities. His 3-4 night (which included the game-winning homer in the eighth) carried the offense on a night that featured just one other multi-hit game (Yadier Molina‘s 2-4). I have no idea if Nervous Boy can replicate such a night again within the next five years, but when he does it, he makes you temporarily believe again.
DULLPEN: Another irritating moment from our bullpen in the eighth! After Chris Denorfia doubled to lead off the eighth, Garcia was pulled in favor of Mitchell Boggs. Boggs looked good, too, getting a groundout and a strikeout. But then Matheny replaced Boggs with Marc Rzepczynski, who has had a success rate of 0.00% lately and has the dazed, bleary-eyed look of Lindsay Lohan coming out of a club bathroom at two in the morning. Zeppo’s sole assignment is to retire left-handed nobody Yonder Alonso. SO OF COURSE ZEPPO WALKS HIM! That puts Matheny in the uncomfortable position of dipping back into a weary bullpen. So Jason Motte comes in to staunch the bleeding, but is tagged for a critical two-run double to put put the Padres in the lead late. Really a frustrating moment of non-execution for the Cardinals once again.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Greene.
CONCLUSION: Sometimes a win is just a win. This was a pretty uneventful victory, one without the many mind-blowing errors we’ve seen in the past week. They even went 2-7 with RISP. The Cardinals should feel pretty good about this solid, unspectacular win. Let’s build on this and get some injured warriors back on the battlefield!