Daily Grind 8.26

After Saturday’s primetime, despicable, humiliating loss to Cincinnati, the Cardinals refocused and manufactured offense during Sunday’s 8-2 victory. Once again, ace Adam Wainwright gutted out another dandy in a successful rubber match.

The Cardinals reinforced their callous attitude following a deflating loss. Saturday’s debacle left most fans, myself included, wanting to jump off the Eads Bridge. A beer or 10 sufficed.

I enjoyed watching Waino drill rookie Todd Frazier high and tight in the 5th inning. Alfredo Simon hit David Freese on the wrist Friday, and regardless of intent, it was about time a Cardinals pitcher retaliated. With nobody on and 2 outs in a 3-0 game at the time, Waino plunked Frazier on the forearm with a 90 MPH fastball. Dusty Baker needed a gut check.

The offense came alive again, scoring eight runs, including a 4-RBI day from LF Matt Holliday. Getting Holliday back on track is important, who came into Sunday with just six hits over his last 50 at bats. The Cards pounded out 17 hits.

Edward Mujica continued his scoreless innings streak (12.1 IP) since joining the team.

One concern is the health of Yadier Molina, whose ankle is clearly bothering him. Tony Cruz is serviceable, but Yadi is the MVP of this team, and there’s no pennant race without him. Cruz finally replaced Molina in the 9th inning, defensively.

The Cardinals are now six games back of Cincinatti in the NL Central, and continue a pivotal road trip through Pittsburgh (3) and Washington (4).

The Rams had a setback Saturday. The first-team secondary got torched by Tony Romo, who was without Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, and Jason Witten. Romo still racked up 198 yards with 2 touchdowns. The big plays were disturbing. Rookie CB Janoris Jenkins played like a rookie, and safeties Quentin Mikell and Craig Dahl were consistently picked on.

I’d like to watch the coaches film to see exactly where the outside linebackers get lost. Perhaps the Rams are just operating a base defense, but the amount of space behind the defensive line is just incredible. Guys tackled each other more than they tackled Cowboys.

The biggest concern I have is with QB Sam Bradford. He had some mental lapses. Bradford has a bad offensive line, I know. But, when given time, Bradford seems to have no pocket awareness, no mental clock, and rarely steps up to avoid a pass rush.

Sam’s accuracy is another problem. Aside from 3-step drop quick passes, Bradford’s touch is just a total crapshoot. I still don’t see any play-action rollouts that were evident during his rookie season under offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. Bradford’s accuracy when he rolls to both his right and left is impeccable. As I’ve mentioned before, he loves the tight end position.

Rookie QB Austin Davis showed more poise and leadership than Sam, and that’s disconcerting for the former #1 overall draft pick.

Thursday the Rams host the reigning AFC North champion Baltimore Ravens. Jeff Fisher’s preseason philosophy has some starters playing into the 2nd half to practice the “halftime process” before the real season starts. Time is running out to crack the 53 man roster (Friday).

Finally, best wishes to SLU head coach Rick Majerus. His charisma and love for the game is instilled in the Billiken’s basketball program.

Current player tweets:

A reporter could ask a question about a bucket in the first half and Majerus would typically answer with a completely different play, or whatever he really wanted to talk about. Questions were simply a lighter for the fuse. For example …

But for real, Majerus is a special person and a great coach and I wish nothing but the best during his difficult time.

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