Nice start to the three game series at Coors Field for the St Louis Cardinals. Friday’s 10-3 win over last year’s Cy Young candidate Ubaldo Jimenez, sets the Cardinals up nicely for what could be another road series win.
There were several ups and downs…more ups than downs which I’ll go into.
Let’s start with the negatives, because I like to get them out of the way…
The Cardinals curse of both base running blunders and grounding into double plays were full on display Friday night. First Lance Berkman, who we all love in a Cardinals uniform and who’ll probably tell you himself made a mistake was picked off 2nd base in the 3rd inning. Also there was the old GIDP, which we fans of Cardinal nation have grown to know and hate….. 3 times the Cardinals grounded into double plays. This is a trend that needs to go away soon. But for the most part the mistakes were minimal and didn’t totally cost the Cardinals tonight. Mainly because the Rockies defense was not so good either. The box score does not show any errors by the Rockies but the 3rd inning was a nightmare as singles to right center were played rather lazily and allowed the Cardinals to score two runs and take the lead 3-2.
The highs however were, well very high let’s start with Colby Rasmus’s “Rocky Mountain High” night. Colby came in to tonight’s game on an 0-20 slump, but even Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa noticed something in batting practice and said he had a hunch that Colby was about to break out. And boy did he, to the tune of 4 for 5; 3 RBI’s and 2 Triples. Below is one of them pictured.
It was a true team effort though:
Allen Craig 2-3 with a rbi and upped his average to .316
Albert Pujols 2-5 2 rbi’s
Heck even Cardinals reliever Miguel Batista got in the act with a perfect 2 IP and 2 clutch K’s
Of course Jake Westbrook, making his Coors Field debut improved to 5-3
And if you would have told me that going into June 1st that Chris Carpenter and Ubaldo Jimenez would have one win between them, I would have told you that you were crazy. But here we are ending the month of May and that is exactly the case. Jimenez has not looked like the pitcher who got off to a 10-1 start last year, including a no hitter. He’s been, well very hittable and the Cardinals tee’d off on him tonight.
I have several friends on twitter who are Rockies fans, and to them I say this… I believe he will turn it around, he’s too good a pitcher not to. Just like I feel that Carpenter will turn it around as well. And as mad a respect as I have for the Rockies organization, I will take this win knowing that if this were later in the year, the Cardinals may be facing a much different Ubaldo Jimenez.
Having said that, I like the way this sets up for the Cardinals for the rest of the series, starting with Saturday’s game which is on the big FOX and pits Jaime Garcia with his 5-0 1.93 record vs Juan Niccasio making his Major League Debut. Those always scare me though, as the Cardinals tend to not do well vs pitchers that they have no film on. And throw in the fact that Jaime’s road ERA is 3.41, this could be another high scoring affair…let’s hope not. And hopefully we’ll see Matt Holliday in more than a pinch hit role (intentionally walked in his only AB Friday night). I’m also hoping for good news on LH Brian Tallet, who left Friday’s game with apparent elbow stiffness. Let’s hope he’s alright, as I don’t want to have to put the label LH specialist on Trever Miller anytime soon.
But again the highs were still better than the lows, as it stands the Cardinals are back to ten games over .500 (31-21). And with a loss by Milwaukee (yes they’re in 2nd place), the Brewers dropped to 3.5 games back with the Reds by virtue of their 5-1 win at Atlanta are still 4.0 games back. I believe the Cardinals have made the playoffs every year that Tony LaRussa has managed when leading the NL Central on June 1st, so that’s a huge positive. And with the return down the road of key parts (David Freese etc…), the future looks bright. So the Birds need to keep this momentum up, and it continues Saturday night with Game Two of this series. So go get ’em Cardinals…..