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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Winning It The Hard Way

By Cardinal 70

Adam Wainwright on the mound. A pitcher the Cardinals beat around last week. Should be an easy win, right? With this year's bullpen, never say never.

I'm not advocating that Wainwright should have stayed in the game, mind you. At 99 pitches, especially after throwing 115 or so last time out, getting him out of there with a lead was the best idea. I am just not sold on Ryan Franklin being that dominant eighth inning guy that we saw last year.

I'll give him some credit, though--at least part of that inning was out of his control. I listened to it on the radio and it sounded worse than it was on the highlights. After the double by Braun, he struck out Fielder, but the ball got away and Braun was able to go to third. Then what on the radio sounded like a deep drive was a fairly mid-range ball that Ludwick lost in the lights. If everything goes like it should, Franklin has Braun on second with two outs instead of a runner on third, a run in and only one out. For that potentially game-losing misplay, you have to give Ryan Ludwick the Goat from last night's game.

Wainwright pitched a good game, but did allow the Brewers to tie it up right after the Cardinals had taken a 2-0 lead. Troy Glaus got a two-run double, so he's in contention for the Hero selection as well. Skip Schumaker had the game winning RBI. But I want to go a little different way. Brian Barton sits on the bench all night, watches the Brewers tie up the game, and then is the first batter in the ninth against a flamethrower. Hitting a double in that situation was huge and led to the win.

Afternoon baseball today, as Kyle Lohse and Manny Parra revisit their matchup from last Thursday afternoon. Lohse was very effective until his last inning, so hopefully with Kyle McClellan especially rested the Cardinal bullpen will be able to bail him out and get the series sweep.

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