Friday, April 04, 2008

Two of 3 from the NL champs is, well, pretty good!

Before tonight's series kicks off with the Nationals, I have a moment to post some thoughts on the opening series, for your review, possible comment, and probable ignoring.

Wellemeyer worked his standard 5 innings with 96 pitches. Lohse, in contrast, worked 5 innings with 74 pitches. Wellemeyer's high pitch count (and 3 walks/6 K's) is typical of his effort; I'm hoping Lohse's is more because he came to spring training late and is still getting into shape. Otherwise, it's going to be a looong year to be a middle reliever in the Cardinals bullpen.

Franklin faced 4 hitters on Tuesday and didn't get anyone out (took the loss). OK, benefit of the doubt, no one's perfect. Franklin faced 4 hitters on Wednesday - soft fly ball from Holliday, line shot from Atkins that almost took Izturis' hand off, booming double from Hawpe, and then a weak ground ball to first from Torrealba.

I think, perhaps, there's some cause for concern. Franklin isn't anywhere near as sharp so far as he was last year. Two outings don't a season make, but bears watching.

Congratulations to Rico Washington and Brian Barton on getting their first ML hits during the series. Rico's was a big RBI that made the game 5-3 in the eighth on Wednesday. Must have felt good to knock that run in after 4000 AB in the minors.

Thompson pitched about as well as can be expected in winning yesterday's game. I didn't know he owned the Rockies, but he's 2-0 now with a 1.50 ERA against them. Fantastic.

ANTHONY REYES WATCH: Struck out the side in the eighth on Thursday. Whom, do you ask? Only Spillborghs (meh), Tulowitzki (hmmm), and Helton (yeah!). Not bad, not bad at all.

Loved Schumaker's throw to cut down Helton in the sixth, but Molina made that play happen by getting back to tag Helton before he got to the plate (or did he? whatever). Outstanding. This is why I don't think Duncan is destined to start for the Cardinals; his defense is too suspect, and we now have too many good defensive outfielders that can also get on base. Once Glaus heats up, Duncan will become very expendable.

Three game set with Washington, as I mentioned before, starts tonight. Your pitching matchups:

Tonight: Odalis Perez (0-0, 1.80; ND vs Braves 30 March) vs Looper (first start).
We LOVE Odalis Perez, or more accurately, Pujols does (13 for 20? That's sick). Odalis is also 3-4 with a 8.46 ERA lifetime against the Redbirds. Yes, I'm salivating.

Saturday: Matt Chico (0-0, 5.06; ND vs Phillies 31 Mar) vs Wainwright (he of the rainout start)
Apparently Chico has changed his mechanics somewhat to get more MPH on his fastball. Good for him.

Sunday: Tim Redding (1-0, 0.00; defeated Phillies, 1.0 Apr 2)
Redding makes his first start at new Busch. He was 0-3 with a 6.83 ERA at the old edifice, so hopefully some of that karma remained in the new ballpark.

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