Finally, another sweet. Granted, this time it was against the Pittsburgh Pirates. But, any port in a storm.
What went right this weekend for the Cardinals?
The offense finally got going this weekend, Friday night notwithstanding (although they did manage nine hits). Albert Pujols went 5 for 13 with two home runs and three RBI. Matt Holliday managed only three hits, but one was a HR and the other drove in two runs. The player of the series, though, was Brendan Ryan. Admittedly having a very down year, he managed to go 7 for 10 and drove in two, including the winning run on Friday night. With the series in hand, his average rose 20 full points to .218, still a far cry from his average of .292 last year. But, baby steps.
Obviously. The pitching, which has been the forte all season, allowed just two runs all series. Chris Carpenter pitched eight shutout innings Friday, Jeff Suppan threw 5.2 shutout innings Saturday, and Adam Wainwright went seven innings Sunday, getting yet another quality start at home, running his streak to a record 27. He also improved to 11-0 at home.
Now, what went wrong? Fortunately, not too much. Other than the offensive lapse Friday, the series was pretty well-played on the Cardinals part. They did lose several men attempting to steal, but I actually applaud the aggression. The Cardinals grabbed hold of the lead in the Central by a half game and going into the next few weeks, the schedule is in their favor. They need to make a move and get a cushion over the Reds, because the last five or so weeks favor the Reds.
Obviously, everyone was in a bit of a shock Saturday when they found out Ryan Ludwick got traded to the Padres. It was a three-way trade, so if you were a bit confused, I’ll break it down.
– The Cardinals sent Ryan Ludwick to the San Diego Padres.
– San Diego sent prospect Corey Kluber to Cleveland.
– San Diego sent prospect Nick Greenwood to St. Louis.
– Cleveland sent Jake Westbrook to St. Louis.
Personally, it was tough to see Studwick go. He was a tremendous player, always hustled, and he put up great numbers when he played. He’s going to give San Diego a tremendous boost to their lineup, protecting Adrian Gonzalez.
Still, this is a business. Ludwick would be a third-year arbitration-eligible player next season, so he’ll be making a lot more money after this season. The Cardinals also have a gluttony of young talent in the outfield, including John Jay, who’s hitting a ridiculous .378 right now. He obviously won’t hit like that forever, but he’s earned a chance to show what he can do. They also have Allen Craig and Joe Mather in the minors.
The Cardinals also add a pitcher who fits the mold for Dave Duncan perfectly. He’s a control hitter, pitches to contact and ground balls. He underwent Tommy John surgery and missed most of 2008 and all of 2009. He won’t have the impact of one of the frontline starters that were traded earlier, but he’ll be an upgrade over Suppan or Blake Hawksworthe until Kyle Lohse and Brad Penny return.
Coming up, the Cardinals come home to play the Astros. Westbrook takes the mound tonight against Brett Myers. Hopefully he can start showing why the Cardinals have been so high on him.