If you’re a Cardinal fan you’ve got to be pretty pleased with 2010, at least to date. The only starting pitcher with an ERA over 3.00 is Kyle Lohse. Yadier is showing unexpected pop, Pujols and Holliday are hitting as we expected, Rasmus is living up to the ‘he’s going to breakout’ prognostications from Spring Training, Freese has been passable at third. Aside from some issues on the right side of the bullpen, Ryan Ludwick (who is also a mill stone around the neck of my fantasy team), and Brendan Ryan, things are pretty good.
The Cardinals are 4-1 to start the year, and have won their first two series. Win 2 of every 3 you win 100 games (108 to be exact). I doubt St Louis will play .667 ball the entire season, but I’d settle for .600 ball for sure.
Our colleagues over at Pitchers Hit Eighth were headed up to Milwaukee for Saturday’s game, in all likelihood festooned with ‘Honking for Jamie’ T-shirts, and I’m sure they enjoyed the show. 6 IP, 1 ER, 5 K is a nice way to begin one’s first full season in a major league rotation. Of course, we out here on the left coast were not able to watch the game live (as I cheekily discussed yesterday), but it seemed the only trouble Garcia got into was the fifth (two walks to load the bases), and of course the sixth (McGehee’s double and Hart’s single). On the bright side St Louis was up 6-0 by the bottom of the fifth, so Garcia had the luxury of knowing he didn’t have to be perfect to escape either jam.
If Friday’s loss was a demoralizing one for the Brewers, Saturday’s performance certainly looked like that of a team with a hangover. Gallardo vs Garcia, on paper, was a match-up that certainly favored the Brewers, even if Gallardo historically has had trouble with St Louis. Remember, last May 25 he threw 8 innings of 2-hit ball at the Redbirds. I’m sure he dreads facing the Cardinals, because whenever he does the Brewers don’t score; they’ve now gone 18 innings against St Louis, with Gallardo on the mound, without scoring a run (the last time Milwaukee scored a run against St Louis in a game Yovani started: 29 July 2007. It should be noted he didn’t face St Louis in 2008.).
I certainly thought Saturday would be Milwaukee’s best chance to win a game this series. Actually I thought they had a shot Friday, and they should have won based on how events unfolded, but with their Ace against our #5 Saturday the odds seemed overwhelmingly in their favor. Didn’t work out that way. Now Randy Wolf has to beat Chris Carpenter for Milwaukee to avoid the sweep. This will be a rematch, of sorts, of last year’s NLDS Game 1. Wolf gave up 6 hits and 5 walks in 3 2/3 innings that night, but the Dodgers still led 3-2 after four. If he pitches like that in the hitter’s park of Miller Park, the Cardinals should score at least that many.
And the game’s on Sunday Night Baseball, so I’ll get to watch my first Cardinal game of the season. Good times.
Quick programming note for the Home Opener Monday: Fox Sports Midwest will be doing their first live blog/chat of the year starting at 3pm CDT. Some of their announcers will join in, at least for a couple of innings. The panelists will include Brian Walton of Cardinal Nation (returning from last season) and BJ Rains of the Globe-Democrat. You can reach the chat room by following this link. Enjoy!