A real nice weekend in St. Louis, full of interesting twists and turns. For the most part, the Cardinals took care of business and were able to show that this is a very different team than what we saw earlier in the year. The team earlier in the year probably loses two out of three of these games instead of a Cardinal sweep. Let's break down the games.
Friday (9-2 win)
Hero: Adam Wainwright. Seven scoreless innings and a home run to boot? Look, if you want to win the game by yourself, just say so!
Goat: Jason Motte. Ruined the shutout and continued to cast questions upon the bullpen.
Notes: Colby Rasmus started hitting this weekend. Three for five in this game and, of course, more to come from him....Matt Holliday continues to pound the ball as a Cardinal. Maybe the NL is that much easier!
Saturday (7-4 win)
Hero: Yadier Molina. A lot of offensive possibilities in this game, but Yadi's pickoff—with the bases loaded!—may have kept the game in the win column.
Goat: Dennys Reyes. He did his best to turn this game into a very close one.
Notes: Holliday and Rasmus again, spraying the ball all over the yard... Joel Pineiro was a little shaky at the beginning, but was able to settle down and, with this offense, three runs isn't what it used to be.
Sunday (7-5 win)
Hero: Colby Rasmus. You do the walk-off thing, it's hard not to get the Hero tag.
Goat: Kyle Lohse. Five runs isn't what you want to see out of him. Just about the time you think he's getting back on that roll, he has another stinker of a game.
Notes: Much credit to Blake Hawksworth for keeping the team in the game and not letting things get away... Rarity: Albert Pujols came up with the bases loaded and didn't get the job done, grounding out on a hard-hit ball with two outs.
Couple yesterday's win with the rainout in Chicago and the Cubs beat up on the Pirates twice this weekend... and lost a half-game in the standings. That's got to be frustrating for the North Siders. Not that Cardinal fans are feeling too sympathetic toward the guys in blue!
Today's big news will come off the field, as it's the deadline for teams to sign their draft picks. The Cardinals are still talking to Shelby Miller, but all indications seem to be that they will come to an agreement sometime today, if they don't have the basic framework already established. We talked about it some on the Sunday edition of the UCB Radio Hour yesterday and the consensus seemed to be that Miller would sign. Both sides have a decided incentive to get the deal done.
I'm sure that'll be a talking point on tonight's broadcast, because the Cardinals don't get started until late as they begin a West Coast road trip. It's a pretty big one, at least the first part of it. Even though the Dodgers have been struggling of late, they still lead the NL West by five games, and have a 3.5 game edge on the Cardinals in the overall standings for the best record as well. Going out to their park will help get a real good sense of how this team is coming together.
Chris Carpenter takes the mound to kick off this potential October preview. If he can keep Manny Ramirez in the park, he's had pretty good numbers against the Dodger hitters in his career. He shut down LA when they were in Busch at the end of July, allowing one run in seven innings. Carp's been a little shakier on the road (2.69 ERA to 1.74 at home) but still definitely nothing to be concerned about.
The Dodgers roll out Charlie Haegar, a knuckleballer that only Julio Lugo has seen before. That's not necessarily a combination that would normally scream "run explosion" for this team. It may be a good thing that Carpenter is going, because it could be a quiet night for the bats, especially when you factor in the trip across country.
The Cubs go with us out west as they visit San Diego. Cards game is on ESPN tonight as well as FSMW, if you want to stay up late and see how it turns out. Since my evening is booked until around 9:45 or so, it'll be nice to see some of the game instead of getting home after it's completed. Hopefully we'll have another Cardinal win to talk about tomorrow!