As one of my favorite TV shows “FRINGE“ has shown there are alternate universes. Before I go into my talk about the St Louis Cardinals, I want to plug this outstanding TV show from the creators of LOST. It’s one of the best shows on TV, and it keeps getting better with it’s storylines. Last week I heard that it was renewed for a fourth season, and was extremely happy at that news. Guys, if you have never watched “FRINGE“, check it out..it’s not too late, you’ll love it. It’s on Friday nights on FOX. What does this show have to do with the St Louis Cardinals you ask? Well to me the St Louis Cardinals we witnessed, or missed (black out rant one more time), has been a tale of alternate universes. The team that took the field Opening Day vs San Diego and the team that went on a tough 11 game West Coast road trip. The one we saw at Busch, well let’s be brutally honest… couldn’t hit their way out of a wet paper bag. The team that hit the field vs SF/Az and LA, a totally different animal.
Now I don’t want to jinx the Cardinals by using the “S” word, so let’s just say I’d like to see the Cardinals go for 4 in a row vs the Dodgers and 5 in a row overall. I like their chances with Chris Carpenter on the mound, again I probably won’t see it with that nasty black out dispute still going on. I did hear Al Hrabosky mention it on the broadcast, but I didn’t hear if it was settled or not. But that’s an old story and doesn’t bare repeating, so I won’t. Instead I want to focus on all things positive tonight, yes there were some negatives but you know what I don’t want to harp on Theriot’s baserunning gafs, or the slight snafu by Laird on a certain play at the plate…no I don’t want to go there. Again instead I’m going to focus on the positives, they were and in no particular order:
The offense and the patience at the plate, I mean the Cardinals bats forced Kershaw to exit the game way earlier than I would have predicted. Great, great AB’s forced high pitch counts to one of the league’s best young arms, and that is not easy to do. One particular AB that sticks out was David Freese’s AB in the 3rd that actually pushed Kershaw’s pitch count to close to 80 before the 4th inning. I was very impressed with the way Freese fought off pitch after pitch. Sixteen Cardinals batters forced Kershaw to at least 5 pitches in their AB. That’ll definitely wear out a young arm, no matter how good it is. Also the fact that every Cardinals starter got a hit tonight, led to the early departure of Kershaw (Craig’s blast being the nail in the coffin).
Secondly, how about those Cardinals RF’s 7 homers on the road trip. Sure Lance Berkman was responsible for 6 of them, but so what Craig was nails and even stole a base later in the game, very nice.
I don’t have to really say much about the offense but wow 10 hits or more in 7 straight games dating back to last Saturday. That’s very impressive, I will admit I am anxious to see if that offense from the “alternate universe” does not show back up when the Cardinals return to Busch Tuesday vs the Nationals.
Another positive was the outstanding play of one Mr Kyle McClellan, I’m gonna say it right now.. he’s pitching like an All-Star right now and has shown to all of us what he knew all along. The guy is a heckuva starter and belongs in the starting rotation. I believe one of McClellan’s biggest assets is that he understands the importance of saving the bullpen. He didn’t mess around out there, he got outs and he was efficient in doing it. If at the beginning of the game you would have asked me which pitcher would be at 80 pitches in the 4th inning, I would have never guessed Clayton Kershaw. Now as much of the credit goes to the Cardinals bats, the fact is McClellan managed that game very well, didn’t have deep counts and did what he was supposed to do, and that was get outs. Also in the process McClellan lowered his ERA to 1.89. Right now Kyle McClellan and the rest of the Cardinals starters give Cardinals fans excellent reason for hope, yes I know it’s a long season but I was encouraged even when the offense was struggling, the one constant was the starting pitching, Thank You Kyle McClellan for picking up the slack with the huge gaping hole that is the absence of one Adam Wainwright. Just keep doing what you’re doing and everything will be fine.
Last but certainly not least was the outstanding pitching by young Mr Eduardo Sanchez. I didn’t get to witness this kid’s stuff his first outing, again the black out need I say more. But I did this time and man this kid’s stuff is in a word ELECTRIC! And of the 3 innings he’s pitched in relief he not only has a 0.00 ERA, but he has 8 strikeouts. That’s 8 strikeouts out of 9 potential outs, and he struck out the sides in the bottom of the ninth tonight vs the Dodgers. Now I am going to sort of take a step back and be realistic… folks he’s not the closer and right now I don’t want him to be. Let me explain, and Rick Horton said it perfectly in the broadcast. Right now Sanchez reminds Rick Horton, and actually it makes sense to me too, that Sanchez is very similar to Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. But as Rick pointed it out, the Yankees did not rush Rivera to the closer role. Rivera actually was the 7-8 inning guy to then Yankees closer John Wetteland. I think that, that is the approach the Cardinals should take with Sanchez as well. And by the way I’m not sold on Franklin right now as the Cardinals closer but for now he is and should still be when the Cardinals return home vs the Nats. I, say let Sanchez ease into it, he’s got awesome stuff and I believe he has way more potential to close games than anyone else in the pen, sorry Jason Motte and Mitchell Boggs. Just please don’t get rid of this guy like you did Chris Perez, I didn’t like that move then and I still am sore about the move now. What I’m saying is keep Eduardo Sanchez and let him be the closer of the future, as he has nasty stuff.
So here we go Cardinals fans, tomorrow Carp on the mound. Carp probably not in a great mood after what happend his last outing, and that can’t be good for the Dodgers hitters. I won’t say that “S” word, again, I’ll just say 5 in a row? Oh and can you say 10-2 road trip and 9-7 record coming home? I can say yes…..