The St. Louis Cardinals finally had a bit of good fortune Wednesday, beating Washington ace Max Scherzer. The good feelings the club felt after Opening Day were eroded by bad baseball over the next seven games. Beating Scherzer behind a fantastic start from Mike Leake my be the win needed to raise the Cardinal level of play.
Stephen Piscotty is finding his rhythm
This is a great news for a club searching for an offensive identity. Piscotty was the early favorite to land in the cleanup spot, but struggled in the Spring while adjusting his approach at the plate. A return to the middle of the order and the resulting drop for Peralta has seemed to spark what was a stagnant offense in St.Louis. Piscotty’s five runs driven in yesterday allowed him to take over the team lead with seven total. Aledmys Diaz and Randall Grichuk follow with five R.B.I. a piece.
Another losing streak stopped by Leake
Mike Leake was needed to stop a losing skid for the second time this season. After two frustrating starts from Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn, Leake was asked to slow down the best offense in the National League. Leake threw one of the best starts you will see all year striking out seven Nationals while allowing four hits over seven innings. Leake was magnificent after getting out of a first inning jam and cruised through seven striking out Bryce Harper to end a scoring threat from Washington.
The bullpen passed a test
Trevor Rosenthal’s activation from the disabled list will be a huge addition to a shaky Cardinal bullpen. Now the roles can be more defined and stabilize what has been a huge letdown in the early part of the season. After an awesome showing on Monday, Washington touched up Rosenthal for three weak singles and a run on Wednesday. Matt Bowman, the Cards best reliever so far in 2017, retired Anthony Rendon and gave way to Brett Cecil to face the left-handed Harper. After working the count full, Harper lined a ball down the third base line only to see his sure double snagged by Jedd Gyorko ending the scoring threat. This was a much-needed boost for the free agent signee Cecil.
I’m not the place to look for the answer to the Matt Adams debacle, but I’ll try to give some insight. Adams use in the outfield really makes zero sense. His bat isn’t so productive that they need to find a spot for him. Furthermore the player to be replaced is a superior defender and hitter. This looks to be another situation where Mike Matheny is going to go against the grain and add another roadblock to a young and improving player.
After the first week of the season, the pitching matchups against the Yankees would seem to favor the Cardinals this weekend. Finishing the Washington series on a high note bodes well for their fortune in New York.
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