There once was a team with no dingers
And their best hitter tore up his fingers
But the bats gathered spark
In the great Miller Park
In first place the Cardinals will linger!
After a truly great win last night, fueled by a super-momenty-clutchy Matt Holliday home run, the Cardinals came out of the gate swinging this afternoon. The team scored three runs in the first inning and two more in the second to jump out to an early 5-0 lead that - let's be honest - the Brewers had pretty much no chance to overcome against Adam Wainwright. Waino wasn't as sharp as he has been this season, but he still pitched very well, allowing only two runs on five hits. He struck out four, and walked a big fat NOBODY. His ERA is 1.83. I like to say that out loud sometimes.
Basically everybody got on base tonight, and four Cardinals had multi-hit games: Jay, Cruz, Carpenter, and Peralta. I don't think that has happened in awhile. Kolten Wong had only one hit, but it was yet another home run. Dude is on FI-YAH.
The Cardinals scored in the first, second, third, fifth, sixth, and seventh innings. The team had a total of 12 hits, including doubles from Peralta and Cruz and the aforementioned Wong dinger. The WPA graph is so awesome:
Things were...less good for the Brewers. Jimmy Nelson took the mound in place of Marco Estrada, who the Brew Crew demoted to the bullpen during their recent (and still ongoing!) skid. Nelson was listed as the #96 prospect in baseball by Baseball America during the preseason. He has pitched very well in AAA-Nashville: 10-2 on the season, with a 1.46 ERA. He struck out 114 in 111 IP and allowed only three home runs. But none of that really mattered tonight, because he got lit the eff up by a Cardinals team that suddenly remembered how to hit baseballs. His final line: 4.1 IP, 6 R, 8 H, 5 SO, 2 BB.
1. Kolten Wong's sixth home run of the season was also his fifth home run in seven games. This ties him with Matt Holliday, who has just over twice as many ABs. None of us pegged Wong as a power hitter. The most home runs he hit in a single season was 10 - in AAA last year. Is this a fluke? Is he getting lucky and seeing a lot of particularly bad pitches? Or, is this a guy who has the batting profile to hit 15-17 home runs a year, given the proper playing time and health? The answers to all these questions and more in the comments section.
2. In the eighth inning, with the good guys up 10-2, Matheny took Holliday and Adams out of the game. Given the upcoming All Star Game break, it's probably not that important that they rested this afternoon. BUT, because I think Matheny should get some credit where it's due (even though I also think he is the worst), I will say this was a good move on his part. He also let Kottaras pinch-hit, which I thought was cool. I've never been much of a fan of saving the backup catcher for a scenario that almost never happens. I'm curious what your view is on this, VEB - especially considering that Kottaras looks to be a great addition to the bench. I would like to see him in late and close games, where a dinger could give us a win. How about you? Also - can Kottaras play first base or something? Can we keep him when Yadi comes back? Our bench is pretty pitiful.
3. Ryan Braun is still really good. And I still really don't like him.
4. Jhonny Peralta hit his 25th double tonight - good for 8th in the NL.
The Cards go for the sweep tomorrow at 1:10 CT. How freaking sweet would it be to end the first "half" with a sweep of our division rivals? El Gallo goes against Wily Peralta. It should be a good matchup, so ignore the kickyfoot whatevers and tune in!