St. Louis Cardinals: The Week That Was

Eric Hobbs@@E_HobbsCorrespondent IJune 29, 2009

NEW YORK - JUNE 22:  Albert Pujols #5 of the St. Louis Cardinals looks on during batting practice before playing the New York Mets on June 22, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Perhaps the best way to describe the St. Louis Cardinals in the past week is to call them consistently inconsistent.

Overall, it was a bit of a down week, dropping three of four to the New York Mets and losing another two to the Minnesota Twins.

The single biggest thing that sticks out is how Joe Thurston seemingly forgot how to run the bases, and the rarities that occurred in New York.

Thurston, while a solid player, was guilty of multiple base-running blunders, being picked off the base paths in key situations.

In one particular instance, Ryan Ludwick came to bat with one out, Thurston on second base, and Albert Pujols on first. Thurston was picked off second before the first pitch.

When Pujols thought Mets pitcher Livan Hernandez was throwing home, he took off for second, only to be picked off. Two outs were recorded with Ludwick standing at the plate, but without seeing a single pitch.

As bad as that was, Joel Pineiro was just as masterful in New York. He dominated the Mets, allowing just four balls to leave the infield. Pitching coach Dave Duncan preaches that his pitchers should pitch to contact, and almost every out Pineiro recorded was via the groundout.

Adam Wainwright has been as inconsistent as any player on the Cardinal roster, sometimes making hitters look silly, and other times not being able to find the strike zone. Friday night, Wainwright struggled, issuing four walks. Despite his troubles with location, he held the Minnesota Twins to two runs in seven innings.

Wainwright would be the hard-luck loser, however, as Cardinal bats were once again silenced by left-handed pitching.

Saturday's game, which started at noon, was a concern for St. Louis officials, who requested the game be moved to a later time due to the extreme heat (heat indices reached 100+ degrees every day last week).

The game would begin at noon as scheduled, but Todd Wellemeyer must not have gotten that memo, because he certainly did not show up.

Being pulled in the third inning, Wellemeyer was bailed out by Pujols, who hit a pair of two-run homers. That accounted for four of the five Cardinal runs as the Cards hung on to win 5-3.

The biggest news of the week occurred at week's end, when Mark DeRosa became a Cardinal, leaving Cleveland in exchange for reliever Chris Perez. The veteran would go hitless in his debut Sunday, but he did make a diving catch in left field.

For the second time in three days, as lefty dominated Cardinal bats, as Francisco Liriano stifled the Redbirds on Sunday. A cold front came through St. Louis in time for this game, as it was played under temperatures in the low to mid 80s, nearly 15 degrees cooler than St. Louis had seen in a week.

If Mark DeRosa can provide a bat that can hit left-handed pitching, this will be an excellent trade. That is far and away this team's biggest weakness. Both lefties for the Twins had records below .500, but both also shut down the Cardinal bats. That must change for the Redbirds to contend.