The last time I wrote you came on the eve of the Cards snapping of the 7 game losing streak. In case you haven’t read my blog or know me well, I associate everything in my life with sports or movies. My last blog was bleak and nervy and while this blog won’t reach the stars, it’s not as bitchy as the last.
The Cards didn’t break out of their hitting slump. They barged out of it. They beat the Pirates down so bad on Thursday that I nearly saw a tear coming down Andrew McCutcheon’s eye after the 13th run came across the plate. In a 13-0 assault, the Cards didn’t hit a home run but returned to their usual hitting with RISP proneness. They bashed singles, mixed in a few doubles and completely shut down the Pirates. Joe Kelly pitched shutout ball for 6 innings and the bullpen fired 3 scoreless frames. The comeback included an 8 run 7th inning that silenced the Pittsburgh crowd and more than anything, sent a message to the first place Bucs that they got the early laughs but we got the last long sleep inducing chuckle.
Give credit to Kelly. He pitched very well and really deserves the 5th spot. The Cards used Kelly in the rotation in 2012 when Lance Lynn went soft and Kelly pitched a lot better than his record. He was 5-7 yet carried a 3.53 ERA and was a quality start machine. He didn’t blow people away and will never win a Cy Young, but Kelly is a fantastic 5th guy to have. He went long relief in the playoffs and when he came to camp in 2013, he had to battle Shelby Miller for a spot in the rotation. That fight was over before it even began. Kelly lost out, got shoved into a long relief bullpen role that saw him work every once in a while, usual in mop up duty. When Jaime Garcia went down, the Cards overlooked Kelly for younger hurlers in Tyler Lyons, John Gast and Michael Wacha. Kelly usually had to come in and mop up for those starters when they couldn’t finish a game. Finally, after the team deemed Wacha not ready for the load, lost Gast to injury, lost Lyons to inefficiency, and couldn’t figure out how to use Martinez, they turned back to Kelly. He has made spot starts before getting the 5th spot 2 weeks ago and he has pitched well. His two starts on this very important road trip have been a lot better than Adam Wainwright. Kelly has started 23 games for the Cards and delivered a quality start in 17 of them. He only has 7 wins to show for it but the man has been a pure soldier for this team. Since we didn’t find a worthy match on the trade market and can’t find an internal option ready for the late push, let’s stick with Joe. We can let Lyons come up and get blasted again if that is fun. Let’s not do that. Let’s give Kelly the ball. He might just shock the world and pitch decent.
Last night, the bats didn’t slow and pummeled the Reds 13-3. We jumped on Bronson Arroyo’s soft pitches for 5 runs and chased him before he could pitch 4 innings and jumped on a rookie reliever afterwards. The Cards are back in assault mode. We are hurting teams and pushing them to the limits. The Cubs are no longer a viable rival and the Brewers went sour two years ago, so the real rival in the division is still the Reds. Dusty Baker is still there and Walt Jocketty still dreams of stepping on the Cards throats. There is fire there, even without Tony La Russa around to spice it up. Brandon Phillips isn’t the supreme villain that Cards fans treat him like when he comes to Busch(best fans in baseball my ass) but he is still a guy I LOVE to beat. When we were scoring run after run, Phillips face gave all the answers that I needed. Depression, awe and shock. It’s always fun to make Baker chew harder on those toothpicks and make Phillips sweat. It’s a rivalry and we made a statement last night.
The Cards sent a message in the past 48 hours. We reminded our NL Central foes that we are still king and need to be feared. After scoring 9 runs in our 7 losses, we blasted them with 26 runs in 2 games. Allen Craig came back to life. We blasted 3 home runs last night(our first non Molina blasts since at Wrigley before the break) and Daniel Descalso had two of them. We are heating up again and other teams won’t like it.
Shelby Miller only pitched 5 innings last night but it was shutout ball and he struck out 8 guys. Miller is a rookie and still learning how to pitch and be durable in this league. I’ll take 5-6 innings if they are efficient. I compare him to MU alum and current Cy Young candidate Max Scherzer of the Tigers. When he first came up and was starting in Arizona, Max was only throwing 5-6 innings. He was striking out a bunch and needed time to develop an arsenal and approach. He had a heater and a nasty slider so he worked those in. I have a feeling when Miller develops a curveball that he trusts, things will improve. He is 11-7 in his rookie campaign. I’ll take it.
Tonight, Jake Westbrook takes the mound and tries to keep the good times rolling. The Pirates lost last night so we are only a half game out of first place. Tony Cingrani, a Reds rookie, opposes the Cards. He is a reliever turned starter and is a lefthander with a 4-1 record and 2.90 ERA. He has a 3-1 K/BB ratio and will be tough. We made quick work of All Star lefthander Jeff Locke on Thursday so I have mixed expectations on how we will approach and do against this lefty.
Matt Adams is striking out a lot. He is basically working through the exposure phase to pitchers and will return in fine form. This could be a time for Brock Petersen to get a couple starts. He drove in nearly 70 runs down at AAA and can hit.
Non Baseball Notes-The Rundown
*I have fallen behind on True Blood and laugh at the episodes I tend to catch. How far this show has fallen is quite humorous. The vampire thing is getting very old.
*The Bourne Legacy getting a sequel with Jeremy Renner back in the saddle is good news. If you haven’t seen Bourne Legacy, check it out. It’s a very smart and fast paced action film. Matt Damon has chosen to sit a couple films out and Renner was a great fit for Aaron Cross, a man from the same program as Bourne and whose story takes off right after Bourne’s story comes to a close. I can only hope Tony Gilroy returns to write or direct. He is responsible for all the Bourne scripts and never fails to deliver. Legacy wasn’t just a clone of the previous films. It attacked the side of the story that was affected by Bourne’s action and how they had an effect on Cross’ story while explaining what made these soldiers so advanced in the first place.
*Robert Downey Jr. can sing as well as act. He released an album in 2006 and climbed on stage to play with Sting at the singer’s 60th birthday party. Any time Sting doesn’t get to sing is good news to me. RDJ can rock it!
*I couldn’t afford a treadmill(I prefer outdoors anyway) so I bought a boxing heavy bag. 70 pounds and ready to be hit. There is nothing better on this earth than standing and releasing stress by punching a bag as hard as you can. It’s a great workout and will make you feel better. Relatively cheap purchase. 70 dollars for the bag and 30 for the mitts.
*2 GUNS is mindless Hollywood summer action drivel and can be passed up. Denzel and Wahlberg are better than this. See Fruitvale Station instead.
*My interview with Mark Strong is this week. I can’t wait to interview the very talented British actor. He is one of my faves. I will be tested in keeping my movie lover boner down and remaining professional.
That’s all I got. Quick and painful. Goodnight.