Tonight, the St. Louis Cardinals (36-32) continued their pitching stampede over the NL in tonight’s win against the Washington Nationals (35-32). Winning 5 of their last 6 games and allowing only 7 total runs over the stretch has certainly caused excitement in St. Louis. Washington’s first and only run so far this series came in the first inning. Credit has to be given to Miller and Rosenthal (Win and Save respectively) for solid pitching over the night. The Cardinal theme of impressive pitching continued through tonight’s game as it has for the first portion of the season. However, the real dominance came from Matt Adams who knocked in his fifth home run of the season for the go ahead. Not only was this run the turning point in a dominant seventh inning, it was Adams’ second homer since coming back from injury yesterday. After Adams’ at bat, the Cardinals pulled two more hard earned runs out of an otherwise-dominant Strasburg to take a final lead of 4-1. Notable hits included doubles by Peralta, Ellis, and even Miller himself. None of these hits recorded an RBI, though. Carpenter, Adams, Holliday, and Craig were credited with the Cardinals’ four runs. Werth doubled for the Nationals’ only run.
Even counting tonight’s loss, the Nationals have had an impressive last 15 games. The Nationals have won 12 of their last 15 games. Two of their three losses came from this series against the Cardinals.
Although the Redbirds’ bats have been lacking so far this season, small victories like these help the team gain much needed confidence with no obvious offensive leader. Pulling out a victory (not to mention 4 earned runs) against Strasburg is impressive by any standard. The Cardinals have been lucky to have their pitching cover for their recent lack of offensive production. To illustrate the disparity, the Cardinals rank 27th in most runs scored and 28th in best slugging percentage in the MLB. Contrast that with a 3.29 era (5th overall) and a 0.232 batting average against their pitchers (2nd overall). The only question is; how long can this last?
As rejuvinating as it feels to win back to back games against a formidable Nationals team, baseball analysts must be shaking their heads at the Cardinals. There are few if any other teams with such a large gap between the sides of the ball. No one can be certain which aspect of the team will make the difference in a game. As a fan, it’s both nerve-racking and fun to watch.
The three-game series concludes tomorrow at 1:15 at Busch Stadium.