By Josh Mosley
Series record: 1-0-1
For all the griping I did about the Birds squeaking out a series split against the Pirates earlier this week, you’ll have to excuse me if I find little wrong with this set. The series sandwiched some robust offense with two efficient pitching performances that pushed the Birds to 5-2 on the season. Let’s get to the games.
Friday: Houston’s bats were alive and kicking pounding out 11 hits but only getting three runs. Meanwhile, St. Louis got six runs on five hits and tagged ‘Stros starter Mike Hampton for three runs in the first three innings. Joel P did his best Kyle Orton impression as he managed the Birds through 6 and 2/3 innings. And just when you thought Jason Motte might come in and defecate all over a close game, La Russa gave him the yank for Kyle McClellan, who locked down the game in five pitches. Cards win 5-3.
Saturday: I have to ask Roy Oswalt something. You came into the league the same year as Albert Pujols. You’ve played him at least ten times a year for the past eight seasons. You know the guy. So please explain why, with the the bases crammed, you hurled one right down Broadway. Then the next time up, you had two strikes and went back to the same pitch as the out pitch. You know what those two pitches got you? A touchdown for the other team. Pujols hit a grand slam and a three-run jackson and three Cards relievers combined to shut down the game after Wainwright threw 102 pitches in just five innings. Cards win 11-2.
Sunday: There must have been a one day wet piece clinic going on at Busch on Sunday because clearly Kyle Lohse was the moderator. Throwing a man-sized 112 pitches and retiring 24 straight at one point, Lohse threw the fifth complete game of his career and got run support from Khalil Greene, Chris Duncan and Ryan Ludwick. Book closed. Series closed. Cards win 3-0.
Hot Fire Player of the series: Albert Pujols clearly had no equals in this series when he came to the dish. Most of his damage came on Saturday as he tied a career-best seven RBI’s and his 24th career multi-home run game. It was sort of a ridiculous week even for his standards so I have to give him his just due. Let’s see if he can save some of that when the Cards go up to Wrigley on Thursday.
Weak Sauce Player of the series: Miguel Tejada didn’t eat his man Wheaties before suiting up on Friday. His particulars for the series: 0 for 11 with eight men left on base, six of which stayed put in the Saturday game. You might find it callous but I’m not feeling too bad for a guy who just got put on probation for perjury and is on the downside of his career. But seeing as he was one of the best players in the majors some five years ago, this is a noteworthy development. It’s early though. So hopefully he can be on the up and up.
Red Flag: Houston’s bad start:The Astros are off to a 1-5 start this season. Some might find this shocking with their sterling 11-18-3 record in the spring but things are not right in H-town. The pitching hasn’t been there and with a team heavy on experience but not so much on fresh legs, you got to wonder how Cecil Cooper is going to adjust and turn this one around before it gets out of control.
Next up: The Cards travel to the desert for three-games with the Diamondbacks while Houston goes up to the Steel City to take on Pittsburgh.