The Cardinals completed the second of two early season quirky two game sets yesterday with a 9-5 win over the Reds, giving them a series split. This one made more sense and had more context than the earlier Pirates series in that it was part of a special MLB in Mexico event. On Saturday, the Cardinals wasted a fantastic effort by Adam Wainwright as he carried a no hitter into the 6th inning, this was his second impressive start in a row. Despite giving up two late long balls, he still deserved a much better fate. The Cardinals stranded Carpenter on 3rd base in the first inning with no one out after a leadoff “triple”. It seemed this set the tone for the evening as the Cardinals repeatedly left men on base while also hitting into some bad luck. Sunday's game came with some long ball fireworks as Ozuna homered twice, Carpenter homered, and Tyler O'Neill banged his first of the campaign. Mikolas was strong early before having one very tough inning which was not helped by a throwing error by Carpenter. Hicks had to stifle a rally in the 8th before closing out the 9th. On to a few notes:
- Bader has just baaaaarely missed on a few signature catches so far this year, with one happening late in the Saturday game.
- An Ozuna with power to all fields is an Ozuna I can get used to, despite the defensive deficiencies.
- The Fowler VS. O'Neill or Martinez issue is not going away anytime soon, although Fowler also showed some signs of life in the Mexico series.
- John Gant, a revelation, but I worry he is being ridden a bit too hard.
- Carpenter looked overall about ready to be locked in during recent at bats, and I felt that before his opposite field homer of Amir Garret yesterday. Wouldn't it be nice to see Carp, Goldy, DeJong, and Ozuna all swinging it well at the same time?
- I said in a prior blog that I would make a more informed opinion on Adam Wainwright after three starts. So in keeping to my word, he has the look of a grizzled veteran that had to redefine how he gets people out and is now doing so. Health is such an X factor here, but if his arm is sound and healthy I'm going to predict he stays in the rotation all year. He'll probably still have a few starts along the way where he will get hit due to command issues on that day or poor bated ball luck, but he seems to have found something. The club needs more starters getting into the 7th inning.
On to Milwaukee for an important early series in that the Cardinals already dropped 3 of 4 in Milwaukee during the season opening series and the two teams have the look of being contenders so head to head games, even this early, may be important in the long run.
There'll be podcast recaps this week, a Milwaukee series review, and I have in mind some thoughts on the Cardinal Hall of Fame, the Matt Carpenter extension, and a “prospect” article.
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