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Cardinals vs. D’Backs Recap: April 19, 2023

Arizona Diamondbacks v St. Louis Cardinals Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The Cardinals picked up a big win today, busting out for 14 runs and improving their record to 8-11 on the year. The Cards struck early against Madison Bumgarner, with Dylan Carlson driving in a run on a double and later scoring and Willson Contreras following it up with an RBI double of his own. Jordan Walker drove in the go-ahead run in the bottom of the third inning after the Cardinals had lost the lead.

Tommy Edman and Nolan Gorman both supplied power today, with Edman hitting a three-run homer in the bottom of the third and Gorman hitting a grand slam in the bottom of the sixth inning to blow the game open. Edman was just a single shy of the cycle, while Gorman didn’t even start. He pinch hit for Taylor Motter in the bottom of the fifth and remained in the game at second base.

Jake Woodford was okay. He was given an early three-run lead but failed to hold it as the D’Backs rallied to tie the game. He also allowed a solo home run to Pavin Smith. Fortunately, he got through five innings and earned the win. The bullpen was also quite good, allowing just one run in four innings of work. Zack Thompson and Drew VerHagen each provided scoreless innings while Genesis Cabrera allowed a run in the top of the eighth. Jordan Hicks shut the door in the ninth inning and didn’t surrender a run.

Here are a few takeaways from today’s win.

Contreras Stays Hot

After his two-homer game last night, Contreras stayed hot today and picked up two hits, driving in the Cardinals third run in the bottom of the first. Personally, I like what I’ve seen lately out of Contreras. He seems to be finding his groove at the plate. He had a solid series against the Pirates and continued to produce in this series.

I’ve seen some Cardinals fans on Twitter who are afraid that this will turn into the next Dexter Fowler-type contract. Hold your horses, folks. I’m not going to bash Fowler, but it was only a matter of time before Contreras started producing the way we all knew he could. This is what the Cardinals signed him to do, and as I’ve been saying about Contreras and the offense in general, I do think we’re going to see a lot more of this down the road.

Gorman Comes Through

Is there anybody on the planet hotter than Nolan Gorman right now? Maybe, but it’s hard to be impressed by what he’s been able to do. He struggled last year despite showing glimpses of his power potential. This year, I feel like we’re seeing what Gorman is truly capable of. His grand slam was already his fifth home run of the year.

He struggled last year with high fastballs, but that isn’t the case this year. I think there definitely was a reason why the Cardinals didn’t go shopping for a left-handed bat. They knew something we didn’t, that Gorman was going to blossom into the player we all know he can be, and he’s done exactly that so far.

As a side note, my only gripe about the game was that the offense seemingly saved a lot of their fireworks for today. I know they scored seven runs last night and did have some timely hits, and I was impressed to see the offense do its thing today. But where was that offense on Monday? Why couldn’t they flex their offensive muscle and pick up most of the timely hits until today when they had already lost the series?

Starting Pitching Issues Remain

So Jake Woodford earned the win. I didn’t think he necessarily had a bad start, but he wasn’t the Jake Woodford that we saw last year when he made his spot starts, and this is a bit concerning. Another thing that sort of frustrates me is that when one thing is working, the other seems to not be working. For instance, the Cardinals exploded for 14 runs today and had their bats going, but it was another less than stellar performance by a starter. Monday was the inverse of that, with Jack Flaherty pitching great and the offense going silent.

Adam Wainwright will be back soon and should help the Cardinals rotation out in a big way, especially with how things have gone lately. But with the struggles of the rotation, the Cardinals are going to need him back sooner rather than later, and at a certain point, Woodford’s leash as a starter is going to get shorter.

It’ll be an off-day tomorrow as the Cardinals travel to Seattle for a matchup with the Mariners.