Just when you think the Cardinals have finally wilted, rolled over, and died, they come home and swing the momentum pendulum back.
Suddenly, the Cardinals own a 42-26 record at Busch Stadium, second to only Cincinnati (43-26) in the NL. The Cardinals played about .500 at home until July 1st. Since then: 25-8. Home field advantage is crucial for any play-in Wild Card game. They’re now two games behind Atlanta for the Wild Card lead. In other words if the season ended today, the 1 game playoff is at Turner Field.
Tuesday’s SP Jaime Garcia, has not allowed an earned run in two starts at Busch Stadium since returning from the DL. For his career, he owns a 2.50 ERA at home; and 4.59 on the road. Everyone wanted an answer from somebody regarding the dramatic split. Garcia scoffed at the question, calling it “part of the game”.
Well, let’s be honest. Garcia is somewhat of a head case. We’re talking about a guy who reportedly freaks out when teammates don’t meet him in the hotel lobby at the exact time they decided on. If something so minuscule is bothersome, then try a foreign atmosphere with 40,000 people enjoying you fail. Now why would a young, rattled pitcher struggle on the road? Duh. Garcia is a project. He is still learning how to pitch at this level.
Has he taken longer to develop? Yes. Is he worth waiting for? Yes.
Garcia’s next four scheduled starts come on the road against San Diego, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston.
Personally, I admired Yadier Molina’s response to his 1,000th career hit. Take a listen:
He wants to leave this game with more, period. More than what he did today, more than what he will do tomorrow, more championships and MVP’s and any more achievable accolades. He is never content with what he has, which keeps him working so hard for what is still to come.
Talk about a gamer. I’ll never forget Yadi getting irritable with me after I asked him a question years ago about his offense. I actually portrayed the question positively, asking about a big hit … and his response: “You didn’t think I could do it?”
Speaking of big hits…
A lot of criticism this year has surrounded the lack of doing the “little things” in baseball: situational hitting, sacrifice hits, smart base running just to name a few. I’d say those little things have turned into positives the last two games. Garcia recorded three sac-bunts Tuesday, the most in one game by anybody in 2012, and the most by a Cardinal since 1996. Twice it led to a runner on 3rd base scoring. Matt Carpenter now has three RBI’s in the series, including his 7th sacrifice fly, marking the most by a Cardinals rookie since Albert Pujols had seven in 2001.
How nice would it be to sweep the Pond Scum today at 12:45? Hell of a matchup between All-Star knuckle-baller R.A. Dickey (17-4, 2.63) and Adam Wainwright (13-11, 3.90), who has not lost at home since June 29th.
Finally, a sound bite from Chris Carpenter…draw your own conclusions: