Going For The Jugular

The winning streak has ended, but it was going to anyway.  The Brewers beat the Cardinals last night by the score of 6-2 behind a very good pitching performance by Mike Fiers.    Two runs on 9 hits was all the Cardinals offense could manage against Fiers.  Today the Cardinals face their former teammate, Kyle Lohse.  The Cardinals have hit Lohse well since he signed with the Brewers and let’s hope that trend continues today.

Jhonny Peralta hit his 19th home run in last night’s game, while Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos each went 2 for 4, with Bourjos hitting a double and scoring one of the Cardinals’ two runs.   The Bourjos/Jay tandem in the outfield is working out well and should continue.  It’s time to run the best performing lineup out there every day.  NO TINKERING.  While I have high hopes for Oscar Taveras, and believe in his future with the Cardinals, there is a pennant race going on and the best lineup possible needs to take the field.  With Oscar Taveras hitting just .237/.283/.295 since July 1st, and given his limited defensive skills, starting Oscar is not the best use of resources right now.  Jon Jay is a given to start, and Peter Bourjos is hitting a much superior .338/.397/.507 since July 1st and is a top 5 defensive center fielder.  Oscar’s time is coming, but it is not here now.

Tony LaRussa used to change his lineups like he changed clothes, UNTIL September rolled around.  It was at that time that he put his best lineup out there and stuck with it.  While in hot pursuit of a Division championship and a berth in the postseason, LaRussa knew it was not a time for experimentation.  Matheny must do the same.  Only the return of Matt Adams to his regular 1B position should change the lineup.  The rest of the roster can fill in in late innings and as pinch hitters if appropriate.

If the pitching can return to its early season form, and the offense and defense continue to perform, the Cardinals could be unstoppable.  Lance Lynn must maintain his current level of performance while Adam Wainwright must regain his former level.  The return of Michael Wacha bodes well, and Shelby Miller‘s last start was encouraging.  As for John Lackey, he has been inconsistent, but has a strong record of solid postseason performance.  Let’s hope last night’s outing is not going to be the norm for him going forward.

Getting as big a lead as possible over the Brewers is a must.  That’s why the Cardinals have to win the next two games.  Players that need a rest can get one during the following series against the Reds.  Mike Matheny cannot let the Brewers get any kind of an edge by employing “getaway” lineups or resting key players.  Get Adams back in the lineup, and keep Molina, Holliday, Carpenter, Peralta, Wong, Jay and Bourjos playing.  This is not a time for being “fair” or getting lesser players playing time just because.  There are seven games coming against the Reds and the Rockies, both well below .500 teams, where resting players would do less damage.

The pedal needs to be put to the metal in a big way.

 

 

Thank you for reading.

 

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2 Comments

  1. blingboy

     /  September 6, 2014

    Agree once again. Looking forward, the fact that our shortstop leads the team in home runs and total bases, and is pretty much tied for the lead in SLG and OPS indicated a roster issue which will make it extremely difficult to construct lineups which will consistently produce. The way baseball works, there are certain positions where a team can get both power and acceptable defense. Those are the corners, IF and OF. If some power can come from catcher or middle infield, fine, and you don’t need power from all four corners. But you really do need a couple big boppers at a couple of those positions. Holliday if fading fast in the power area and Adams and Taveras are question marks who have thus far not proven up to it. We are probably going to stick with Carp at 3rd, so it is not going to come from there.

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  2. baseballmania

     /  September 6, 2014

    This has nothing to do with the cardinals specifically but isnt offense down as well as pitching injuries all over the league?
    If its lack of PED including No more HGH than the cardinals are in pretty good shape.
    Wish that Matheny would learn to smile once in a while. Maybe if he relaxed a bit so would team?
    I am happy that 2 out of my 3 fav players Descalso and Jay , are getting it done.
    I heard recently that DD always comes up in scout discussion as being the guy every manager would love to have on their bench.

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