It was a game unlike many others this year. The Cardinals got out to an early lead and kept extending it. The starter pitched seven strong innings. And the bullpen--well, at least the lead was big enough to keep it from really worrying the fan base. (I'm not sure that everyone felt completely comfortable even with the nine-run lead.)
The Hero would have to be Joe Mather. Three for five, the two-run HR that put the Cards on the board, a double that drove in a run. Nice to see him finally get a breakout game in the majors, especially since Rick Ankiel's status is still up in the air. (My gut feeling is that they'll wind up putting him on the DL Wednesday when they activate Carpenter.)
I'm going to give the Goat to Troy Glaus for his 0-5, 4 LOB night. Ron Villone definitely was a consideration, but he wouldn't have been out there for that extended of an outing if the lead wasn't as big as it was. Villone really should be used for just one or two batters, something LaRussa's been good at doing but could be better.
Other stuff: Just a day after saying Ryan Franklin was the ninth inning guy, Jason Isringhausen has been reinstalled as closer. That's not a magical fix-it move--I was worried about Franklin even before he was the closer, this just may move the blowups to the eighth instead of the ninth--but I think that Izzy will cause less heartburn in that slot. He's had some good outings since he came off the DL. There will still be some bumps in the road, I'm sure. And that should mean that the Fuentes talk is probably dead.
Adam Wainwright's going on rehab. Sounds like it's going to be a short one so he can be ready for the trip to Wrigley. Whether that means he'll be a bullpen guy or not is not clear. I think, with this Izzy move, they'll probably put him back in the rotation. I'd rather have five good innings out of Wagonmaker than one every once in a while.
Cards catch a bit of a break in that Tim Hudson went on the DL yesterday, which means they don't have to face him tonight. Instead, they get Jorge Campillo. Which means it's another case of a pitcher the Cardinals have never seen before. If they treat him like they treated Morton last night, there's no worries there. Todd Wellemeyer goes for the Birds. The Braves haven't seen much of him either.
Cubs beat the Brewers, so the Cards stay four out in the divisional race but move to two out in the wild-card.