From 3-9 after leaving the Bronx, to be being back in much more of a realistic position to be the contender that everyone though they were at 9-10 now, the Cardinals seem to have righted the ship. At least for now.
It didn’t start well this weekend in Milwaukee. The Cardinals entered Miller Park on Thursday having swept the Pirates at home, and now playing four against the Brewers trying to get back to .500. They had their ace on the mound Thursday in Carlos Martinez. But since his Opening Day gem against the Cubs, Carlos has been nowhere an ace. And he wasn’t in Milwaukee this past Thursday. The Cardinals took the lead 4-3 in the 5th after Martinez gave up 3 in the first. But the lead would be short lived as baseball’s comeback story, Eric Thames, took him deep and Milwaukee regained a lead they wouldn’t give back. After three straight win, and your ace on the mound, the momentum that seemed to be starting for the Cardinals was gone.
The next night their former ace, Adam Wainwright, took the mound to try and right the ship. He was solid on the mound, but won the game with his bat. A long two run HR and a two-run single gave the Cardinals the lead and some insurance respectively. Waino lasted five innings because of some pitch count issues, but struck out nine of the 15 outs he recorded. Maybe the sign of things to come? That remains to be seen, but Wainwright accomplished his goal at least on Friday night and was the stopper that he has been for so many years.
Over the weekend, the two guys who have been the best starters so far were at their best. Lance Lynn, off Tommy John surgery, and Mike Leake were great after both had rocky starts to their outings. Lynn gave the Cardinals six innings of one run baseball in route to a 4-1 win Saturday night, while Leake went six and gave up only two. The starting pitch, for the most part, has been the strength of this ball club and the two biggest questions marks in Lynn and Leake have been the best so far.
One big concern still remains the man with the line up card. Mike Matheny finally realized after two weeks that Jedd Gyorko is his best option every day at 3B and has been playing him. With the help of his boss, John Mozeliak, he also realized a slow 1B (Matt Adams) is not a major league LF. When the manager plays his best players, the Cardinals seem to win at a much higher pace. And that’s what happened over the weekend. Mike actually used his best line up every night, even mixing in some bench players in timely spots, and the Cardinals have won six of their last seven. Who would have thought? Keep it up Mike, and this team might actually reach its potential.