If I were to write about tonight's 10-0 win over the Cincinnati Reds in terms of good, bad, and neutral, the good would heavily outweigh the rest. The St. Louis Cardinals came out hot early, scoring five runs in the first inning, and never showed signs of slowing down.
Starter Braden Looper was dynamic tonight, in what was easily his best outing of the year. Looper pitched a three-hit, complete game while throwing just 98 pitches. His performance was perhaps the finest that the Redbirds have seen this season.
While breakout star Ryan Ludwick kept the good times rolling, the Cardinals got unsung production from such players as backup catcher, Jason LaRue.
Outfielder Rick Ankiel got the scoring going with a three-run blast, and LaRue followed with another home run in the first inning.
Ludwick showed Great American Ballpark a glimpse of his talent going 2-for-4 after getting four hits last night. Ludwick also tacked on two RBIs to bring his season total to 52.
While Looper didn't strike out that many, four in nine innings, he did have an almost identical ground-ball-to-fly-ball-ratio. This performance was a good sign for Cardinals fans, as Looper had struggled his last three times to the mound.
No Cardinals player besides Ludwick and LaRue got two hits, but almost every player in the lineup had one, except second baseman Aaron Miles. That includes Looper, whose 1-for-4 hitting at the dish lowers his average to .385.
When tonight is all said and done, knowing that their star Albert Pujols will be on the bench for a minimum of three weeks, the Cardinals can be happy that they have yet another series win, and have now moved thirteen games above the .500 mark.
Although this is just a start to the Pujols' sideline time, don't expect the Cardinals to give up just because he's not in the lineup. The Redbirds have gone all season without some star power, and if they can make a strong showing without Pujols in the lineup, they will be playing ball in September.
For now, tonight's win brings a huge amount of confidence to a team which had certainly been down by injury reports recently.