GAME 83: A Fine Lynn
Lance Lynn was forced to be perfect thanks to a stubborn offense, but he eventually received a handful of runs as the Cardinals finished with three wins out of a four game set with a 6-2 win over the Rockies.
INHUMAN: Lynn has looked vulnerable in his last few starts, opening up questions about his durability and focus. Anyone doubting his ability had their eyes opened tonight, as Lynn brutalized the Rockies with six shutout innings and seven strikeouts. Lynn was never even in trouble. It is a great way to head into the All Star break and his first All Star appearance.
INHUMAN PART II: Matt Holliday continues to rape the National League; he is hitting nearly .500 over the last couple of weeks, the hottest streak in baseball. Holliday drove in two runs on a groundout and a hit, once more providing the clutch RBI’s. He has eight RBI’s in five July games, and his slugging percentage is a ridiculous 1.143. I sure hope the All Star break doesn’t cool him off.
NOSTRADAMUS: When Carlos Beltran came to the plate in the fifth with the bases loaded, I leaned over to my friend and muttered, “Beltran with a double.” My buddy, half-drunk, just shrugged; he doesn’t know Beltran like I do. Beltran comes alive in situations like this one, and there was no doubt about what happened next: Beltran slashed a liner over Dexter Fowler‘s head and into the center field wall for a two-run double. Beltran is currently sitting at 2.6 WAR, which means he’s been worth almost three runs all by himself. Had Mozeliak no made that deal for Beltran, we would be fighting Milwaukee for fourth place – think about that.
GO AWAY: Tired of seeing Tyler Colvin hit home runs off of our bullpen? Me too.
COOLING TREND: Has anybody noticed how quiet Yadier Molina has been lately, particularly since the All Star announcements were made? Molina is hitting just .211 over the last week, and his torrid .300 start has cooled to around .267 in the last month. What’s wrong? He certainly can’t be tired given the number of off days he’s enjoyed recently. Still, it’s tough to be a catcher in this unrelenting heat, and I’m sure his legs feel like Jell-O most days. Hopefully he gets enough rest over the break.
TLR JR: Matheny used FIVE relievers after the sixth, which feels like some sort of land-speed record. Aside from a not-good outing from Victor Marte that resulted in a two-run homer to Colvin in just two-thirds of an inning, the bullpen had another excellent outing. Particularly impressive was Barret Browning, who was given the seventh and handled it perfectly (still no runs surrendered for Browning). I’m not sure what’s suddenly changed in these guys (not walking anybody has been at least part of the transformation), but if they want to keep their cushy jobs, I suggest that they keep it up for at least three more weeks.
SALUTE: Congratulations to David Freese for making the All Star team with a massive Twitter campaign! His heartfelt video of thanks played on the Busch Stadium Jumbotron showed clearly why he is beloved among Cardinal fans. A truly deserving nod!
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Lynn, who pitched very well with no run support.
CONCLUSION: Another great game with nice portions of important ingredients. I’d like to see the offense generate some early runs in order to give the rotation some breathing room, but, aside from that, this is a prototypical win. Taking three of four from the struggling Rockies was a boon for a team that really needs to feast on these kinds of teams. Next up – a tough and rising Marlins team.