Angels, Padres, and Patience

The first installment of Interleague has come and gone, and the Cardinals are lucky to have won two from the Angels. Granted, the loss of Figgins, Lackey, and Guerrero to free agency give this Angels team a much different look than the one that dominated AL West play for the better part of a decade. When you step to the plate in the bottom of the eighth, down by two runs, things tend to be bleak. But Fernando Rodney walked a couple, then the Cardinals pulled off a double steal, and Freese singled them both in to tie the game.  Kudos to the Cardinals for finding a way to draw even, then win in extras.

St Louis now leads the all-time series with the Angels 5-4. All 9 games have been played along the banks of the Mississippi. I said it in my last post, and I’ll say it again:  it is ridiculous the master schedulers have not figured out a way to get the Cardinals to Anaheim once during 14 years of interleague play.

In hindsight this year was the perfect one to send the Cardinals out west, seeing as their next series is in San Diego, a mere 100 miles down Interstate 5.

No matter. The Cardinals head to my neck of the woods for 3 games this week. A softball doubleheader prevents me from going to Tuesday’s game, so I’ll miss Wainwright vs Garland. I should make it to the next two, and am looking forward to seeing Jamie Garcia in person.

Now I wish I’d bought a ‘Honkin’ for Jamie’ shirt.  I’d easily be the coolest guy at Petco.

Thursday is a day game, and historically the Cardinals have struggled at Petco in the San Diego sunshine.  To wit:

  • 8 Sept 04 – lost 10-5.
  • 28 Jul 05 – win 11-3.
  • 27 May 06 – win 4-3 (this was the Molina pickoff of Brian Giles to end it on Fox game).
  • 28 May 06 – lost 10-8 (this was the ‘something’s wrong with Mulder’ game).
  • 13 May 07 – lost 3-0.
  • 23 Aug 09 – won 5-2 (Smoltz’s first Cardinal start).

I haven’t seen who the Cards are throwing in that one. I wonder if it will be P. J. Walters, or someone from Memphis for a spot start. They’ll get Wade LeBlanc, fresh from being bludgeoned by Seattle.

Some items of interest next, but before I get to that an announcement. As you probably know I also write a blog on the Padres. Since these two teams square off this week, I will attempt to do something not tried anywhere in the Civilized World ever – write NOT ONE BUT TWO interesting stories about the same game from each perspective. So if you find my prose worth reading – and you must, you’ve hung around this post this long – you’ll get a double dose each night this week. It’s a good thing I took the week off from work (for other reasons, but the timing is nice).

Some notes on the Padres: Jon Garland has been tough at Petco this season.  In 25 home innings, he’s surrendered 3 earned runs.  That said, he’s allowed 18 hits and 17 walks (including one intentional one) in those same innings.  This edition of the Cardinals isn’t real patient (tied for 8th in strikeouts with 327, 11th in the league at swinging at pitches out of the strike zone), but they’ll need to be to have success against Garland.

Kevin Correia has surrendered 4 runs in half of his starts (the other four:  3, 2, 2, and 0).  Here’s the interesting part:

  • Inning 1: 3
  • Inning 2: 5
  • Inning 3: 1
  • Inning 4: 0
  • Inning 5:  4
  • Innings 6-on:  10

Other than the shut out he threw against Arizona, Correia has allowed at least a run in every game  in the fifth or sixth inning (he’s only started the seventh once, and in that game he didn’t get anyone out).  I think this means he tires in the fifth.  The Cardinals need to be patient, get his pitch count up, and then hammer him.

Wade LeBlanc had pitched very well until his last start at Safeco.  That said, LeBlanc has never pitched well in Seattle (two career starts, 4 1/3 innings pitched total, 11 hits, 6 walks allowed).  He’s been very tough at home (24 1/3, 21 strikeouts, 4 runs allowed) this season 2010.  What’s the secret to his 2010 success?  His change-up is CC Sabathia-like in its quality.  LeBlanc may be the #5 Padre starter, but he’s having a real good year so far and can’t be overlooked.  His last Petco start?  He took a no-hitter into the sixth.

So two division leaders will hook up over the next 3 days.  Looking forward to it.

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Filed under Cardinals Preview, NL Central, St Louis Cardinals

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