Cardinals-Nationals: Swingin' In The Rain

Brian McDowellCorrespondent IJuly 24, 2009

JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 20:  Rick Ankiel #24 of the St. Louis Cardinals poses during photo day at Roger Dean Stadium on February 20, 2009 in Jupiter, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

A one-game series between the Cardinals and Nationals was held last night, to make up for a game earlier this year that was cancelled by a rain storm.

Unfortunately, this game was also marked by the almost constant presence of rain. To me, this can only be taken as a sign that if God exists, He must really hate the Washington Nationals.

After a couple of delays, the game was officially called off in the seventh inning—ending in a 4-1 Cardinal victory.

I know that beating a team as terrible as Washington might not seem too impressive, but the Cards managed to do so without superstar Albert Pujols. He was resting before his team plays against two sure-fire playoff contenders later this week.

This shortened victory mostly came about as a result of the strength of Adam Wainwright's pitching performance. Even though he allowed eight hits in his six innings of work, Wainwright struck out seven Nationals, and only allowed one run.

He did not allow the delays and the screwed up rhythm of this contest to affect his performance, which is a testament to what a good season he is truly having on the mound.

The Cardinals' offense managed to shine through the cloudy weather, with players that usually don't do very well stepping up as much as they needed to. Rick Ankiel hit an extremely rare home run, and Joe Thurston belted a RBI double.

Skip Schumaker went 2-for-3 in this game, and was walked with the bases loaded in the fourth inning. Mark DeRosa also drove in a run. The newly acquired Julio Lugo was in the dugout for this game, but didn't play.

I suspect St. Louis fans will get a peek of what he can do against the Phillies this weekend.

Currently, the Redbirds still occupy first place in the Central Division by one-and-a-half games. Next, they are playing the two best teams in the National League: the Phillies and the Dodgers.

Unlike playing the Nationals, these games are going to be a real test of the strength for this ball club. It remains to be seen how long St. Louis's lead will last.