Well, last time I posted on baseball was May 6th. The Redbirds had just beaten the Astros, 8-1, and Adam Wainwright had shown his old form – 7 innings, 103 pitches, 1 run on 7 hits with 7 Ks.
Since then, the Cardinals have tanked, going 7-8, largely due to a massive pitching slump. The staff as a whole, as St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Roger Hensley described, gave up an average of 11 hits and 4 walks per game over a stretch of 10 games. Meanwhile, the bullpen fell back into the gas-can mode they displayed through the middle of last season, before they righted themselves in time for October.
Offense lagged, but not by that much. In 15 games, they scored 51 runs, or just over 3 runs per game. That’s borderline, but they were only shut out once. The losses tended to be 6-5, 7-6, 9-7, in other words, games they should have won, except their pitchers didn’t keep them in those games. The errors piled up, as well.
But tonight – admittedly, against one of the weakest teams in baseball – everything clicked once again. The aforementioned Wainwright threw a complete game shut-out, scattering 4 hits while striking out 9 and walking only 1. He threw 111 pitches, 75 for strikes, and he retired the first 8 batters he faced.
Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday came up strong – which we’ll need with Lance Berkman out for several weeks and David Freese slumping – driving in 3 of the 4 runs. Tyler Greene, who rescued his team last night, drove in the other one.
Not ready to say they’ve turned this around, but they seem to be holding their ground until people get healthy again. Going for the sweep tomorrow, then the troubled Phils come to town.