Rick Ankiel— Ankiel raised his average by almost 40 points this week and completely destroyed the Reds, going 8-for-13 with five RBI. He also struck out only once this week, showing improved patience at the plate.
It’s expected that he’ll be a streaky hitter, so Cards fans just have to hope that when he’s in a slump, others will be able to pick up the slack.
Kyle McClellan— This rookie has shown so much poise early this season, it seems to be inevitable that he’ll get a crack at closing should Izzy continue to struggle.
He pitched 2 1/3 more solid innings this week, and continues to tease fans with flashes of a brilliance in a reliever or starter role.
Skip Schumaker— This guy actually might be a legit starter in the MLB.
Although I’m afraid he could be the second-coming of Brady Clark (a flash in the pan guy who has one good season after a long career in the minors), Schumaker has consistently gotten on base, provided great defense, and even launched a huge walk-off homer against the Cubs on Friday.
Ron Villone— Another Dave Duncan miracle, Villone threw almost four innings of scoreless relief this week, and has an ERA of 0.73 this season.
He also got the win in 2 1/3 innings of long-relief against the Cubs in extra innings. A real find for the club thus far.
Jason Isringhausen— If the Cards are going to contend for real this year, Izzy can’t keep breaking down.
He picked up two saves this week, but also blew another one and admitted that sometimes he has doubts about if he can still “get the job done.”
Chris Perez doesn’t appear ready to close in the Majors yet, so he’ll have to straighten out sooner then later.
Anthony Reyes— Got demoted to Triple-A Memphis in favor of Mike Parisi with a possible spot start coming up on Monday.
At 26, he’s too old to be a prospect, and the Cards staff is clearly tired of waiting on his talent to emerge. I’d be surprised if he’s on the St. Louis roster at the end of the season.
Joel Piñero— Had another great start, throwing seven scoreless against the Reds, but also complained of stiffness in his back.
When healthy with the Cards, he’s been fantastic, but he’s also been banged up a lot.
The Redbirds will have a surplus of pitching in a couple months, but right now they need Piñero healthy.
WATCH OUT FOR:
The Cards hit the road for eight straight games starting Monday night against the Rockies and then head to Milwaukee.
With Piñero’s status for Monday unknown and Izzy pitching inconsistently, the club will find out what it’s made of after taking a hard fought series against the Cubs.