GAME 93: A Nice Homecoming
The Cardinal bats finally showed some semblance of life for the first time in two weeks behind their best starter this year. It was nice to see rewards for Kyle Lohe’s excellent start, as the Cardinals (48-45) beat the Cubs 4-1 at Busch.
KUDOS: It’s hard to believe that Kyle Lohse is our best starter at this point of the season. He is putting on quite a display for prospective buyers this off-season, isn’t he? Despite putting the lead-off batter on in each of the first five innings, Lohse held the Cubs to just one run over six innings. Almost all of Lohse’s starts this season have been like this one, quality starts in which Lohse gives the team a serious chance to win. Prior to this season, I didn’t think we should keep Lohse. He’s making me reconsider.
RISP: How great was it to see the Cardinals jump all over Cubs starter/trade candidate Ryan Dempster in the first? Even better, the scoring came primarily with one out on singles with runners in scoring position. Three consecutive singles by Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran, and Yadier Molina quickly tacked up a thick 3-0 lead by the time the inning ended. What a relief!
HISTORIC: Speaking of Holliday – our big-headed lug took one of his typical hacktastic swings in the third, but he managed atypical results. Holliday crushed an absolute bomb out over Big Mac Land that stunned the big hometown crowd. The blast measured 469 feet, which is a new record at Busch III. The previous record was 465 feet (by Albert Pujols in August, 2011). So not only did Holliday give us a three-run lead with the homer, but he also helped erase Pujols’ name from part of the record book.
NOT 100%: While most of the Cardinals are finally off of the disabled list, not all of them are yet operating at full speed. For instance, Allen Craig legged out a ground ball in the seventh and pulled up lame in the process. Jon Jay pinch ran for Craig following the odd run. Even though Craig is cleared to play, it’s pretty clear that, like Lance Berkman, he isn’t exactly in perfect shape, either.
BULLPEN RESURRECTED: It was reassuring to see Mitchell Boggs, Marz Rzepczynski, and Jason Motte come out of the ‘pen and dominate. All of the relievers have looked solid since the Break, but we really need those three to be super-sharp. Between them, they combined for two innings of no-hit ball. Now THAT’S a relief!
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Hmm … Lohse or Holliday. Take your pick.
CONCLUSION: Hey, we scored FOUR RUNS, guys! And it was a fairly balanced attack, with ten hits and four runs coming from timely singles and booming home runs. Meanwhile, Lohse earned his tenth win with another long, gutsy outing. A solid win for once.