With yet another 3-3 week in the books, the Cardinals are perched two games behind the Brew Crew in the NL Central. In a World Series rematch, the Cards took two of three from Boston at Busch Stadium in three tight contests. Then, the Cards were drubbed in the first two games in Baltimore, but the team avoided a sweep by winning the series finale on Sunday. As I review this week in depth, I’ve listed some players whose stocks are rising or falling.
Shelby Miller: Despite earning a no decision against Boston on Wednesday, Miller had one of his best starts of the season, tossing seven innings and allowing just one earned run on four hits and a walk. The great performance can be attributed to Miller effectively throwing the curveball for the first time in a while, which made his fastball tougher to hit. In total, it appears that Miller has returned to form since the All-Star break, as he has allowed two earned runs or fewer in the past three starts, which has resulted in his ERA dipping to 3.99.
Kolten Wong: By recording his first multi-homer game against the BoSox on Thursday, Wong added his home run total to nine in what has been a breakout season for him. Wong also hit a clutch two-out RBI to tie the game in Tuesday’s win over Boston, and his batting average has jumped ten points to .253 as a result of his good week.
Jon Jay: After nursing a sore wrist that sidelined him for five days, Jay came through with a huge week in his return. Jay drove in four runs this week, which includes a game-winning hit on Tuesday against the Red Sox, and hit just his second homer of the season on Saturday. With his batting average now at a solid .292, Jay has emerged as an everyday outfielder for the Cards.
Justin Masterson: On Friday, Masterson lasted just two innings in his start against the Orioles, giving up five earned runs on seven hits and three walks. It’s safe to say that acquiring Masterson from Cleveland has not panned out so far, as he has pitched eight innings and allowed 10 runs in two starts for the Cards. Overall, Masterson has a 5.94 ERA and a sky-high 1.72 WHIP this season, which certainly is not good enough to start for any big league club, so it could just be a matter of time until he is moved to the bullpen.
John Lackey: Lackey had a stunningly terrible performance against Baltimore on Saturday. Although he pitched five innings, he allowed nine earned runs on thirteen hits and two walks as he saw his ERA rise from 3.55 to 3.98. Nonetheless, Lackey was spectacular in a more important start in his Cards debut against the Brewers over a week ago, but the pressure is on Lackey to produce in every start if the Cards hope to make the postseason.
Matt Holliday: Coming into this week amidst a power surge, Holliday could not sustain it as he was just 4-for-23 this week to lower his batting average to .264 while recording no home runs or RBI’s. Without a doubt, this week was a step back for Holliday in his pursuit of coming close to his historical numbers, so he may need a day off at some point this week.