The Cards have been on a roll since last Tuesday as they have won five of six to improve to 38-32, which puts them just 3.5 games behind the Brewers. So what exactly has led to this sudden change of fortune? I’ve answered that in detail with the Cardinals’ three stars of the week.
The Entire Pitching Staff: It’s hard to argue with this one. Since last Tuesday, the Cards’ pitching staff has allowed just 10 earned runs (11 runs total), which is good for an off the charts 1.67 ERA. The Cards threw two shutouts in the past week, which proved to absolutely essential in two 1-0 victories. Adam Wainwright became the first NL pitcher to earn nine wins after he shutout the Rays, and Lance Lynn blanked the Nationals on Friday. Moreover, Shelby Miller outdueled Stephen Strasburg on Saturday and Jaime Garcia had another solid outing on Sunday. As for the bullpen, they filled in admirably with a complete team effort in a 6-2 victory last night against the Mets. Finally, Trevor Rosenthal recorded four saves quite easily to up his season total to 20. If the pitching staff can perform anywhere close to this level for the rest of the season, the Cards should give the Brewers a heck of a fight for the division title.
Matt Adams: He made a huge impact for the Birds since returning to the club on Friday after being sidelined on the DL with a strained left calf. He launched three homers in three days, all while his Dad was watching for Father’s Day weekend, which doubled his home run total to six. The first baseman even had a triple in last night’s victory over the Mets, which tied him for the team lead with Peter Bourjos. In total, Adams recorded six RBIs and raised his team-leading batting average to .330 as he was the main offensive threat for the Cards this past week.
Nick Greenwood: The left-handed reliever earned a victory in his major-league debut yesterday against the Mets. Carlos Martinez filled in as the starter for Waino, who skipped his schedule start for precautionary reasons, and Greenwood had a strong performance as a middle reliever. He tossed 3 1/3 innings, allowing a run on two hits and a walk while also recording three strikeouts.
“You couldn’t ask for a better outing,” Greenwood said.
Greenwood was called up from AAA Memphis, where he posted a 3-3 record with a 2.61 ERA and a .97 WHIP. He could prove to be a vital middle reliever for the Cards this year as well as a spot starter, if necessary.