Following a disappointing series on the road in San Diego to begin the week, the Cards pulled it together and took two of three from the first-place Brewers at Busch Stadium this weekend. Overall, the Cards’ 3-3 week makes for a 59-51 overall record, which is just one game behind the Brew Crew in the highly-competitive NL Central. Here’s the rundown of a few key highlights from this last week:
Cards Trade for Two Starting Pitchers: In order to add some starting pitching depth for the stretch run, the Cardinals traded AA outfielder James Ramsey to the Indians for starting pitcher Justin Masterson (4-6, 5.51 ERA). Then, the Cards completed a deal before the trade deadline, sending key contributors Allen Craig and Joe Kelly to the Red Sox in exchange for veteran starter John Lackey (12-7, 3.60 ERA). With Michael Wacha’s unsure future and Jaime Garcia’s season-ending injury, the Cards had to bolster its starting pitching before the deadline. While giving up Craig and Kelly for Lackey may be controversial, the results of the trade remain to be seen.
Lackey Shines in Cards Debut: After conceding a run in each of the first two innings, Lackey found his groove and shut out the Brewers in the next five innings to deservedly pick up a win in his first start as a Cardinal today. By stringing together five consecutive hits in the seventh inning, the Cards offense supplied Lackey with just enough run support to nab the 3-2 victory. In total, Lackey tossed seven innings and allowed just two runs on seven hits.
Masterson Wins in Debut despite Lackluster Performance: Although Masterson turned in a poor pitching performance, he still recorded a victory last night as the Cards offense exploded for a 9-7 win over the Brewers. Masterson was able to pitch six innings in his first start as a Cardinals pitcher, but he gave up five earned runs on seven hits and three walks.
Rosenthal Leads Majors in Saves: With two key saves against the Brewers this weekend, closer Trevor Rosenthal leads the big leagues with 34 saves in 38 opportunities.
Taveras Makes A Statement: As a result of the Allen Craig trade, Oscar Taveras figures to be the Cards’ everyday right fielder, and he adjusted nicely this week. Taveras doubled both his home run and RBI totals this week, as he recorded five RBI’s, including the go-ahead RBI in today’s game, and clobbered a two-run homer against the Padres on Thursday.
Holliday Continues Power Surge: Matt Holliday belted his 11th and 12th homers of the season this week while also recording five RBI’s. There’s no doubt that the pop in Holliday’s bat is back, and it couldn’t come at a better time for a struggling Cards offense.