Someone, I can't remember who now, noted last week on Twitter that Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday had yet to have a game where they both homered. Everyone, take out your to-do lists and check that one off.
Fox Sports Midwest flashed up the graphic showing Braden Looper's ERA basically the first, second and third times around and it got progressively worse. The Cards were able to play to that script last night, going fairly quietly the first time around, then exploding the second and third times.
Albert got things going with a homer in the fourth, but what was more impressive about that inning was that it didn't stop there. So often, especially in the past, a lead-off home run would have been followed by three outs. Instead, the Cards continued to hit and wound up tying the game.
It was also one of the rare games where St. Louis has been able to rally twice. It was also proof that walking Albert isn't always the best thing anymore. I know that Pujols owned David Weathers, who was in at the time and issued the intentional walk to AP, but as Al Hrbrosky said (yes, Al said this!), when you start basing decisions on such small samples, it's a good chance you are going to get burned. Holliday was 1-5 against Weathers and 0-3 against Todd Coffey before last night. Now, he's 1-4 against Coffey.
The two big blasts by the sluggers overshadowed another good outing by Colby Rasmus, who got the Cardinals' first hit and then drove in a run in the fourth with another hard-hit ball. He even drew an intentional walk, only the third of his career. If Colby wants to win the Rookie of the Year, he's going to have to have a very strong September. The last few games have been an indication that he's starting to get hot again.
Not the greatest of starts by Joel Pineiro last night, but he was able to keep the Cardinals in the game, which is key with this offense. You have to figure they'll eventually start scoring runs and three isn't the death grip that it used to be. Four runs in seven innings will win a lot of games and it's an indication of how good Pineiro has been that we can say this was an off night for him.
The Goat has to go to Ryan Franklin. He got the save, but he made it way more interesting that he should have, especially given the focus on him due to his contract extension. Giving up two runs in the ninth is never something that inspires confidence, no matter what the lead is.
Speaking of his extension, the financial terms for both him and Trever Miller were released. Franklin doesn't really cost the team much more next year than he would with his option and he gets $6.5 million in 2011. Being that there's no obvious replacement for him in the system and the amount of money good closers make these days, that's probably going to be a deal for the Cards.
Miller probably had a little bit of leverage since his first deal with the Cards was a two-year one that got scrapped after the physical. They put a lot of those numbers into this deal, but protected themselves with the option that doesn't exercise if he goes on the DL with that shoulder issue. Again, it's a relatively cheap deal and, most importantly, gives the team hard numbers to put into the 2010 and 2011 budgets so that they know what they can offer the bigger fish.
You also have to figure that they look at the standings, look at the fact that the magic number is Curt Flood and, though they won't say it publically, know that there is going to be some postseason money coming into this organization. That probably helps them feel like they can offer a little more to these guys, knowing that this season will wind up covering it, or at least a good portion.
Tonight, it's a Chris Carpenter start. If that doesn't get you excited, apparently you are reading the wrong blog (or are a fan of another team stopping by, in which case, welcome!). Interestingly, the Brewers have had pretty good numbers against Carp in the past. However, he faced them back in May and threw eight scoreless innings, striking out 10, in a game remembered for the fact that it was on Memorial Day weekend and he flirted with a perfect game, but the Cards couldn't score for him.
On the other side, it'll be Dave Bush. Bush is having a tough year, with an ERA closing in on 6. (And that, my friends, would be a serious ERA.) He hasn't faced the Cardinals this year, but he's been able to keep them pretty much in check in the past. For example, AP is hitting under .200 against him. Yadier Molina has three home runs off of him, two in this game.
On paper, it looks like a fairly easy win for the Redbirds, but as we all know, they don't play the games on paper. Unfortunately, sometimes.
Well before I ever thought about blogging (some of you may refer to that time as the Golden Age), Viva El Birdos stood as the preeminent Cardinal blog on the web, as it still does today under its new management. Before VEB, though, there was Redbird Nation. I never read RN, but its legacy continues today. You can still hear some of the old-timers (as it were) talk about the days of that blog and what it meant to the Cardinal community. RN shut its doors soon after the Cardinal loss to the Red Sox in the '04 World Series, but you can read this new interview with Brian Gunn, the writer of the blog. It's definitely worth taking a look. You know you've done well when people miss you still after five years!