Two consecutive nights of stellar pitching and solid defense have the Cards in position for their first home sweep of 2012.
Tuesday was a special start for Adam Wainwright. His bulldog approach returned. Wainwright’s new ligament in his right elbow had its best night yet with hopefully many more to come. I wrote Monday about the necessity for Wainwright’s success, and his brilliant complete-game-shutout against San Diego reminded us of his pitching dominance. Wainwright is not just a “guy”. He’s an ace, a CY Young contender, and the closer of the 2006 World Series title. His stuff is both electric and knee buckling, just ask Carlos Beltran.
Wainwright told Jake Westbrook that he couldn’t remember any game as memorable on a personal level. Tommy John surgery is a long, arduous recovery. Imagine trying to teach your elbow something your brain knows. The process is aggravating, and last night was a reassurance to himself that he can still pitch with anybody in the Major Leagues.
He attacked hitters, got ahead in the count, and finished off San Diego hitters. During his last side session, he claims he found his arm slot, which had slipped higher in earlier starts. Trusting the arm slot is vital to successful pitching. When mechanics become an after thought for a pitcher, the results are favorable.
Don’t think this start was a fluke; I firmly believe Adam Wainwright is back. He looked like the pitcher who won 20 games in 2010, and one who is ready to reclaim his spot among the best in the game.
Baseball still comes down to pitching and defense. Rafael Furcal had some remarkable plays at shortstop that cannot be overlooked. He threw out speedy Cameron Maybin twice with runners on base, and ended the game on a force out despite a rope off Angel Guzman’s bat. Furcal is the quarterback on the infield, and his range is unbelievable at 34 years old.
On the flip side, St. Louis scored two big runs in the 6th inning on San Diego miscues. The first was Beltran’s fielder’s choice, when the catcher failed to apply a tag on Daniel Descalso at home. Then Tyler Greene grounded into a routine double play when the shortstop booted the ball and could only get the lead runner at 2nd base. Matt Holliday scored to make it a 3-0 game.
39,151 paid to see a fantastic ballgame Tuesday. The Cardinals improved their home record to 11-8, and in position to sweep the Padres tonight with Lance Lynn on the mound. Injuries can knock a team off their feet, but an ace can remind us of how good they are.