I like to think of myself as an optimist in these turbulent times, but even I had my doubts about this St. Louis Cardinals team. Let’s face it, a week ago they were reeling from a series loss to the Milwaukee Brewers and an embarrassing defeat at the hands of the Cincinnati Reds. They haven’t lost a game since last Friday. It’s not a good stretch anymore.
The Cardinals are playing with an assured (forget reckless) energy that is turning early deficits in ballgames to sure-handed comebacks. They are clobbering teams over the head with eight run totals on a nightly basis, and I don’t see it changing anytime soon.
With that said, let’s dig into some quick takes (medium high heat level) as the Cards enjoy a 5-2 lead over the Atlanta “Ex-Cards Haven” Braves on this whimsical Saturday evening.
- While we were drinking, Michael Wacha turned his season around. The date is August 12 and he isn’t on the disabled list (slams a chunk of wood on a hardwood floor)-and he isn’t getting smashed by opposing teams. He is 9-4 with a 3.70 earned run average ahead of his Sunday start on the finale of this homestand. Wacha doesn’t need to save the day or recapture 2013 status, but a solid 5th starter is what the Cards need and the suddenly veteran righthander is changing minds these days. The dominant start in New York turned my head.
- Randal Grichuk will never be the absolute stud that the fans or front office need him to be-but a man I once asked the team to cash out on is turning his August around. What has 21 doubles, 15 home runs, and 97 strikeouts in nearly 300 at bats? A roller coaster MLB talent. Meet Randal.
- I have a few things to say about that Rally Cat. First, if it makes Cardinals fans more excited about baseball, let them roll around in it. It’s better than a anti-peaceful protest. Second, you shouldn’t run with a cat, because it’s only bad news. Third, the team should adopt the cat. That’s it.
- I may have wrote this before, but Kolten Wong is having a very good season. Injuries aside, he’s hitting around .300, reaching base 38 percent of the time, and putting it together in the field. I call that not sucking and let’s hope he can keep this up. The contract he is riding demands some improvement, because the salary will start to rise in a short period of time. Wong is being given an opportunity to maintain a stranglehold on the second base job, and he has shown a remarkable ability to bounce back from injury.
- Adam Wainwright is an absolute bulldog. Always has been and always will be. Friday, he had less than stellar stuff and an aching back, but still managed to grind out five innings of one run ball. Oh, he also has 12 wins this season.
- A quick word on the Cubs downfall. They were due for a regression back to normal. The rotation wasn’t going to maintain a 3.12 ERA and their defense couldn’t remain that good. Also, projected godsends like Kyle Schwarber proved less than immortal at the plate, and they have encountered some injuries. They are not a dynasty. It’s harder to do in baseball than some think. The New York Yankees did it in back in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s and the San Francisco Giants enjoyed an every other year splurge, but dominating a league with talent so widely dispersed is harder than most think. The Cubs aren’t running away with anything.
- Carlos Martinez does have a first inning problem. He’s allowed more runs in the first during his past seven starts than any other inning, but let’s not ship the boat on his potential to be an ace. He’s still young and learning. The struggles have nothing to do with his emotion either. League is tough.
- Paul DeJong strikes out a ton, but he hasn’t regressed as much as people think. Other than a tough three game stretch from July 30-August 2, DeJong has acquired a hit in nearly every game he’s played in since his return. Let’s not call him legit just yet, but he’s edging closer. Who saw 16 home runs and 16 doubles from DeJong in February? It seems that every season a rookie emerges in St. Louis. Maybe it happens everywhere. I don’t really care.
- I liked something that radio voice John Rooney said that night. “A team can win 60 and lose 60, but it’s what they do with the other 42 that determines their fate in October.” I may have added a little cinematic Gladiator type bravado to that quote, but Rooney is right. You win enough games to stay relevant and then you make your run. The Cardinals are making a run at it. Putting down the bleach and brewing the coffee more often has been a pleasant change in Cardinal Nation.
That’s all I got. Before long, I’ll be driving these Cardinals fans home from the game, making money and receiving stories from many a traveler. The past month has been a lovely change in my personal life. I’m in a new-much larger-house, writing like crazy, making money with Uber, and seeing the Birds on the Bat revive their summer. Let’s keep the good times rolling.
Have a good night. It’s 8:05 p.m. in St. Louis and 4:05 a.m. in Russia. Somewhere, a person is enjoying coffee.