There once was a story about a man
His swings were so violent, they shook the land
His 80 hit tool
Made everyone drool
His power: almost too much to withstand
Oh my goodness, you guys. Oscar Taveras has arrived.
Other than the rain, today was a perfect day. Michael Wacha was brilliant, giving up only three hits, while striking out seven over six innings. His changeup was really working today - just gorgeous. The Cards' defense gave him some help as well. Kolten Wong had a nice snag on a line drive up the middle in the 2nd inning and Peralta made a lovely barehanded play on a slow roller up the middle in the 4th. [Side note: Pablo Sandoval is confusingly quick on the bases.] Wacha flew through the San Francisco hitters, as well. The first half of the game took barely over an hour. Of course, that was also partly due to the fact that the Cardinals hitters couldn't seem to get anything going, either. The Redbirds managed just four hits today, but that was enough to beat the Giants 2-0.
The Cardinals' first run came in the bottom of the 5th inning when Oscar Taveras (who popped out to left in his first plate appearance) absolutely CRUSHED a ball to right center field. I mean, he murdered that thing. And what a beautiful post-home run pose he has. He swung the bat so hard, it whipped all the way around behind his head and nearly hit the catcher. I could watch the video over and over for hours. The home run ball traveled 418 feet, and I think it busted open a cloud on the way up, because it started to rain heavily as Taveras rounded the bases. His teammates pushed him out for a curtain call just before the umpires called a rain delay.
Game play resumed after a 47-minute delay, and Wacha the Rain God went back on the hill. Despite the delay, he still looked really sharp. Unfortunately, another delay in the top of the 7th ended Wacha's outing early. I missed the rest of the game, because apparently the St. Louis weather couldn't care less about my afternoon plans. At least I saw the best part. The Cardinals did score again in the bottom of the 7th when Jhonny Peralta doubled in Allen Craig. Rosenthal struck out Pence, Sandoval, and Morse to get the save, and all was right with the world again.
1. Trevor Rosenthal looked great today. I'm still not sure what to make of the season he is having. On the one hand, yesterday happened (which I didn't even see, so it's possible he got BABIP'd or the defense let him down, or something else). [edit: that was Thursday, my bad.] on the other hand, he struck out the side to get the save today. His velocity was good, reaching 99.2 (!) on the fastball, and his location was spot on. Look how few pitches even made it into the strike zone:
I wish Rosie could be more consistent, but the Giants are a really good team, and even the best closers get tagged sometimes.
2. OSCAR M.F. TAVERAS. I'm really excited to watch him play the next couple of weeks, but if he continues to do well, Mo and Matheny are going to have some very difficult decisions to make about playing time. Craig's bat is heating up, Adams has proven to be a fine major league hitter (albeit with less power than we were hoping for - at least so far), and Jay and Bourjos are already battling it out in CF. It's a great problem to have, but I'm a little anxious about how it's going to play out. For more on Oscar Taveras, check out Fourstick's morning post.
In closing, I wanted to leave you with the video of Taveras' home run, but the damn embedded version isn't working. Go here, please. I promise you won't regret it.