Look it’s still an uphill climb for the St.Louis Cardinals, make no mistake about it. But having said that, their is still a glimmer of hope, or as the so called announcers from Fox said the Cardinals can still pull of that there miraculous come back. It’s still going to take some serious winning these last 18 games, but now only 6.5 back of the wild card and with still two more games vs the Braves and the potential to be only 4.5 back with 16 left is definitely something to look forward to. And for the first time since June 11th, the Cardinals are 10 games over .500. Let’s examine how this went down, and I’m going to overlook certain less than intelligent plays on the basepaths, and Arthur Rhodes consistent inability to get outs because their are good things tonight to talk about.
I’m going to start with starting pitcher Edwin Jackson.
What a start, and I’ll say it-can the Cardinals keep him next year. I mean the guy has one of the best ERA’s since Aug 9th (2.64), he was just not getting run support. Tonight was no different, he pitched very good tonight only to have to leave w/o a victory settling for a no decision. But make no mistake about it, the offense struggled mightily until the 9th and 10th innings and Jackson had to keep the team in this game. It was a quality start going 6 innings and giving up only 2 runs and when he left the game the Cards had given him one run of support. You have to feel for the guy, who if you take away a certain rough outing in Milwaukee has been nails on the mound. Again if it’s possible and if EJax wants to, I’d like to see him pitching in Busch and not as the opposing pitcher again next year.
Then there were other heroes:
Albert Pujols, what can I say, yes I still get a little ticked when he doesn’t run out certain ground balls. One particular GIDP, in my opinion could have been avoided if AP runs a little harder, but having said that it was still #5 who tied the game in the 9th with a nice shot down the right field line off of Braves rookie closer sensation Craig Kimbrel, who had been unhittable and had a 25 save streak snapped tonight.
Again I won’t talk about the negative play that sent the game to extras because this a positive night. As for Albert Pujols his stats are climbing to Albert Pujols like stats .298avg 34 hr and 87 rbi’s. The goal of .300/30/100 is still in reach. Even though Pujols is probably not going to win the MVP, and with this still potentially his last year as a Cardinal (I won’t go into that, you guys know how I feel about losing #5), it would be nice if he ended the year with his 11th season straight with those numbers.
Other heroes in this game: Jason Motte, can you all say closer from now on? Nice 1-2-3 top of the 10th inning, which ended on a grounder back to him and he took care of it himself which was very impressive. Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman, knowing the big bats were coming up in the bottom of the 10th, how nice was it that they got singles to get the game to Daniel Descalso! I was sitting at my TV screaming because DD was trying to bunt. I was thinking to myself, Descalso has been so clutch in the late innings, why oh why is he bunting? And when the count was 0-2, I remember saying there is no way Descalso is going to bunt now down 0-2. Sure enough he did and laid down a beautiful bunt advancing both Holliday and Berkman. Then when Skip Schumacher walked loading the bases, my GIDP fears started rearing their ugly head. Up to the plate stepped the man that will be forever known as “THE SHREDDER” Nick Punto. And after getting the count to 3-2, Punto laid a nice fly ball to center scoring Holliday with the game winner, and then proceeded to get his shirt “shredded” right off his body. Thank Goodness I don’t have a picture of that to post, but those that saw it will forever have the image engrained in their heads. But the results were a Cardinals victory, and on a night when the Brewers were getting brought back to earth by the Phillies. I wonder by the way if T-Plush opened his big fat mouth tonight. Nothing like getting beat by better teams lately to remind the Brewers that they are not all they are cracked up to be. I said they would eventually cool off, too bad it may be too late. But the Cardinals are now 6.5 back of the Braves for the Wild Card, and 7 back of the mighty Brewers for the division (yeah I know it’s probably too late for the division, but one can hope). I still think the Cardinals best chance is catching the Braves, because the Braves are playing less than .500 ball lately and can be caught. Like Mike Matheny said on Fox Sports Midwest said, and he said it best… “Just keep playing” Take care of your own business Cardinals, and let the chips fall where they fall. One things for sure, you can’t catch the Braves or the Brewers if you aren’t winning yourself. So tomorrow is another game, and another chance to advance closer to those ahead of the Cardinals and just take care of themselves. I like their chances with Jaime Garcia at home vs Derek Lowe, who the Cardinals have had success against.
On a side note: When, not “if” but when the Cardinals win tomorrow night, Sunday downtown St Louis will be just a bit crazy as the Cardinals are going for the sweep of the Braves at Busch and just up the street the Rams will be hosting the Eagles in the home opener. Good time to be a St Louis sports fan.