Nice to see the Cardinals finally get a sweep, even if it was against a team they should have swept and even if they had a little trouble in doing it. Let's take a look at the highlights of this weekend's series against Pittsburgh.
Friday (6-4 win)
Hero: Matt Holliday. An early two-run homer that you'd expect would have been enough for Chris Carpenter (but wasn't), then singling and working his way around the bases to score the go-ahead run.
Goat: Chris Carpenter. Hard to believe it's possible, but Carp had the rare off game Friday. And he still pitched eight innings and got the win.
Notes: Albert Pujols showed his stripes when dealing with the injured fan....Holliday, Mark DeRosa and Julio Lugo all had a hit in the game, though Lugo got picked off in the first on a terrible play.
Saturday (5-3 win)
Hero: Adam Wainwright. He didn't go as deep into the game as he has been, but still pitched a great one, allowing only one run in just shy of seven innings.
Goat: Jason Motte. When is it going to click for Motte? He can have a good outing, but it's pretty rare when he doesn't give up at least one long ball.
Notes: Pujols came up with the bases loaded again and got to 100 RBI.
Sunday (7-3 win)
Hero: Skip Schumaker. His pinch-hit HR gave the Cards the lead, which they then tacked on to.
Goat: Colby Rasmus. One of the only players not to get a hit in the game.
Notes: Joel Pineiro struggled early, but kept the Cards in the game....Kyle McClellan had a nice 1.2 innings to lock it down.
Coupled with the Cubs struggling against the Rockies, the Cardinals go into their homestand up two games in the NL Central. With the Reds and Padres on the docket this week (compared to the Cubs hosting Philadelphia and Pittsburgh), St. Louis has a chance to push that lead out a little further and give themselves some breathing room.
Fans, though, aren't sure that the team is giving it their all when Todd Wellemeyer is supposed to take the mound on Tuesday. On the face of it, it is a strange decision. Yes, Mitchell Boggs struggled at AAA last time out, but he's been pretty good. If we are making decisions based on one game, Wellemeyer would be far, far away from this team by now. I'd still like to see Blake Hawksworth take the mound, though Tony LaRussa's assertion that he's too important to the bullpen does have some merit.
This has to be Wellemeyer's last chance, though. If he can't contain a Reds lineup that is pretty weak, especially if Scott Rolen misses out on his return to Busch (and it looks like he will), then he's not going to be able to get the job done against anyone. Hopefully this won't cost the Cards a lot to find out.
Kyle Lohse gets back on the mound tonight for the Redbirds. It's a good thing Cincinnati is so down right now, because the Cards throw Lohse, who is pretty questionable right now with his results, and Wellemeyer at them. This could be a dangerous series for the Cardinals if the Reds offense gets on track.
Lohse has had some issues with his former team. He especially needs to be careful with Laynce Nix, who has peppered him pretty hard in the past. He's had trouble with them this year, giving up seven runs in six innings when the Cards were in Cincy in May, then allowing two runs (one earned) in two innings when they were in St. Louis in June before leaving with the forearm injury that put him on the DL.
Opposing St. Louis will be Johnny Cueto. The Cardinals hit him hard last year, which is reflected in his career numbers. (You have to figure Rick Ankiel will be in the starting lineup tonight.) Cueto has been struggling lately, but he's owned St. Louis this year, going 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA against them. Maybe his recent issues will continue to be present tonight, because otherwise it might be a tough one.
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