This past week saw the Cards accumulate a 4-3 record to improve the team’s overall record to 42-35, which is still 4.5 games behind the surging Brewers (47-31) but good enough for the top Wild Card spot. The Cards showed their resiliency by going from a three-game losing streak when they scored just four runs to now reeling off a three-game winning streak. Since last Tuesday, the Cards split 2 games with the Mets and salvaged a four-game split against the Phillies, and last night they cruised to a series-opening win to kick off a 10 game road trip. As we look back at this past week, here are my three stars:
Matt Adams: The first baseman hit 7 for 22 (.318 average) this week, which actually decreased his batting average from .330 to .328, but I believe that he is one of the stars of the week because of his massive performance against the Rockies last night. In that game, Adams clubbed 2 homers and 6 RBI’s to lead the Cards to an 8-0 series-opening win. In total, Adams hit 2 homers and drove in 8 runs this week to increase his season totals to 8 and 31, respectively. Overall, Adams once again demonstrated his power hitting this week, something most of the team has been sorely lacking this season.
Lance Lynn: Although Lynn (8-5 overall record) compiled a pedestrian 1-1 record this week, he was marvelous in 14 innings of work. Against the Mets on Wednesday, Lynn took the loss, but he pitched 6 solid innings and gave up 2 just runs. Last night, Lynn was nearly perfect against the Rockies as he pitched 8 shutout innings and only conceded 3 hits. In total, Lynn’s 1.29 ERA this week lowered his ERA from 3.16 to an impressive 2.90, which is more than what the Cardinals expected to get from him this season. If Lynn can continue to pitch this way, he will emerge as a formidable No. 3 starter behind Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha, which can only bode well for the Cards’ playoff hopes.
The Bullpen: While the starting pitching was not as dominant as last week, the well-rested bullpen really stepped it up for the Cards. This week, the bullpen logged 18.1 innings and allowed just 10 hits and 3 earned runs, which makes for a stellar 1.49 ERA. Trevor Rosenthal notched his 21st and 22nd saves while pitching three scoreless innings to improve his save percentage to 88 percent (22/25 opportunities). Furthermore, Pat Neshek strengthened his case for the All-Star game by lowering his ERA to .88 and his WHIP to an unbelievable .59 after tossing 2.1 perfect innings and recording his 2nd save. Lastly, Sam Freeman was the most reliable relief pitcher this week. The lefty pitcher threw 4.2 scoreless innings, giving up just one hit, to lower his ERA and WHIP to 0.68 in 12 appearances for the Cards this year. With pitchers like Jaime Garcia and Carlos Martinez only able to throw 5 innings in this week’s starts, it was especially pertinent for the bullpen to pitch well, and the statistics show that they undoubtedly performed admirably this past week.