Sunday Summary: St. Louis Cardinals' Weak Offense and Bullpen Hurt Club
Joel Piñero: In his last two starts, he's given up two ER in 14 IP for an ERA of 1.29. He hasn't anything to show for it though, as a truly anemic offense led to two no-decisions. If he can keep his ERA under four, he's a definite plus to have at the back end of the rotation.
Adam Kennedy: Although he still remains unhappy in a platoon situation, he raised his average nearly 20 points this week, and played stellar D. Trade bait anyone?
Jason Isringhausen: Izzy has lowered his ERA nearly a run and a half since returning from the DL and looks to have corrected his cut fastball. The Cardinals bullpen can definitely use talent, whether it's in the middle or end of a ballgame.
Yadier Molina and Jason LaRue: Yadi's batting average fell this week, but he cracked a HR in a DH appearance and shook off the cobwebs from last week's concussion. He also played first base on Sunday. Health is a concern though. That's Yadi's third concussion in the last year.
LaRue actually hit very well this week, raising his average almost 30 points in the process. Additionally, the starting pitchers pitched very well, showing LaRue is calling good games behind the plate.
Mike Parisi and Ron Villone: Neither of these guys belong in a big league bullpen, although Parisi might someday. Hopefully Brad Thompson, Anthony Reyes, or Matt Clement will be able to get healthy ASAP and take Parisi's long relief spot.
As far as Villone is concerned, gimme Ron Flores (Randy's brother), or Mark Mulder any day.
Chris Duncan: His average has fallen to the .230 range. He has seemingly lost all signs of his old power, with only one RBI since being recalled.
Bullpen: The bullpen lost three games this week. That is disgraceful. The unit as a whole will have to step it up, but specifically the middle relief needs work.
Rick Ankiel: Had a couple jacks this week and looks to be hitting the ball harder, but his error late in Sunday's game probably cost the Birds the sweep at Fenway.
Troy Glaus: Had a decent week, hitting two HR with six RBI, but I'm putting him under neutral because I expected more. He's a talented veteran who should be stepping up in Albert's absence.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
Mark Mulder might start in Kansas City, and Matt Clement could be used from the bullpen. Also, there have been rumblings of a certain first baseman coming back from the DL this week as well.
The Royals and Tigers are both streaky teams, but if the Cardinals can get a more consistent bullpen for the remainder of the road trip, the Birds will be looking at a positive week.
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