The Bottom Line: Last night the Cards thrashed the Brewers; this afternoon the Brewers returned the favor. Carlos Martinez wasn’t particularly sharp and Seth Maness turned in one of his worst outings from the pen this year to sink the Cards’ chances in this final game before the break. Don’t worry too much though, the Cards still took two critical series from two of their NL Central competitors over this past week.


Pitching: Carlos Martinez has been an unbelievable fill-in so far this season for Michael Wacha, today he just didn’t show it. Martinez gave up four runs on seven hits in 4 innings before turning the ball over to the bullpen. Then the game truly got ugly. Seth Maness gave up four more runs in a little over an inning of work while Nick Greenwood gave up three runs in two innings of relief. Jason Motte was about the only bright spot on the bump today, getting two outs in the sixth while only giving up one hit. Usually a game like this would be cause for concern, but given the Cardinals recent success, there isn’t much to worry about. Today was just a bad game for the pitching staff, simple as that.

NL Central Chaos: If the Red-Pirates game holds as is, the NL Central will have four teams within 4 games of first place at the All-Star break. The first-place Brewers need this break more than anyone, going especially cold of late while dropping 11 of 13 games. The Pirates and Reds lurk just behind the Cards, with the Reds only half of a game back of our Redbirds. While today was a missed opportunity to take over sole possession of first place in the Central, the Cardinals shouldn’t be worried about their position in the race. At only a game out of first, this Cardinals team will surely be competitive in the second half of the season.

What’s Next: 4 days off Cards fans. Enjoy it. Look for Waino to dominate in the ASG and hope Matheny can lock up home-field advantage for this team in October.