Game 27: Cardinals 3, Braves 2

The Comeback Cards are at it again to finish out April. Down 2-0 going into the 8th, they tie it up and then take the lead in the 9th. Later that night while grocery shopping I saw a Braves fan and resisted the urge to rub it in. I know what it’s like to have a closer who doesn’t close.

For the Cardinals, Jake Westbrook proved that he might be back at it. Two earned runs over 6 innings is enough to garner a quality start, though I would have liked to see him go deeper into the ballgame. The 106 pitches he threw, said otherwise. His ERA is now down to 6.53. It’s going to take awhile to rebound it though.

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Game 26: Cardinals 5, Braves 3

The bullpen has made us the Cardiac Cards, but tonight we were the comeback Cards. A sacrifice fly by Daniel Descalso in the ninth tied up the game and it was a Nick Punto triple in the eleventh that put the Cardinals ahead.

Chris Carpenter once again turned in a quality start, his fifth on the season, and yet he remains winless. He left the game today after 7 innings with the Cardinals down 3-2. He will officially go winless in April, despite having been effective on the mound. Despite the solid start, this was the first game that Carpenter has started and the Cardinals have won. I’m sure that gives Carpenter a little relief in the end.

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Game 25: Cardinals 11, Astros 7

Kyle McClellan picks up his fourth win of the season, remaining undefeated, as the Cardinals offense puts up a huge crooked number in the top of the 6th and Lance Berkman went off on his former team.

While Kyle McClellan ended up with the win, it was potentially his least impressive start. Today he was unable to dance out of trouble as he was tagged with 5 earned runs in 5.2 innings. Despite it, his ERA is only up to 3.23 as he is still perfect on the year and hasn’t been tagged with a loss. In fact, the Cardinals have won every game McClellan has started this season.

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Game 24: Cardinals 6, Astros 5

The Cardiac Cardinals. After the bullpen failed to hold onto the lead the night before, the bullpen took a 6-0 lead and made it close. Ultimately, it was Eduardo Sanchez striking out Hunter Pence with the game tying run on second base.  Kyle Lohse picked up his fourth win of the season, pitching 7 dominant innings before giving way to the bullpen. Lohse has been impressive this season, he sports a 1.64 ERA and a 4.8 K/BB ratio. He has, by far, been the Cardinals ace this season and in a time when they needed it like nothing else. It is nice to see him finally right and finally getting a chance to earn his paycheck (despite Forbes naming him the most overpaid pitcher).  For the offense, it was a team effort with 5 different Cardinals driving home runs and 6 different Cardinals scoring them. It is a radically different Cardinals offense from last year as they seem to really be clicking right now. In the 7th inning, it was the core of the Cardinals lineup that provided three of the four eventually much needed insurance runs. Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, and Lance Berkman each had RBI hits with two outs. And on the bullpen. Ryan Franklin and Trevor Miller are struggling hard. Franklin faced two batters, each who scored a hit against him before being pulled out of the game for Trevor Miller. Ironically, it’s been Miller who has handed Franklin a mess on the base paths a few times this season, this time it was Franklin giving Miller a mess. And once again Miller failed to convert his much needed out, walking his left handed hitter. Fernando Salas allowed a pair of hits, but managed to get the Cardinals out of the inning. Handing the ball to Eduardo Sanchez in his first high pressure situation. Three hits and two earned runs later, Sanchez managed to fight his way out, striking out the final batter of the game. =&0=& Kyle Lohse. (7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 0 R, 2 K) =&1=& Ryan Franklin and Trevor Miller in a split award. (Combined: 0.0 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 3 ER, 0 K)

Game 23: Astros 6, Cardinals 5

It was set to be Lance Berkman‘s homecoming. As Matt Leach stated on Twitter last night, Berkman had written everyone’s stories for them with an RBI double in the top of the 9th to give St. Louis the lead. But things changed quickly. A single, a passed ball, an error, and a wild pitch later and the Astros tied up the game and had Michael Bourn on first, all with newly minted closer Mitchell Boggs on the mound. The Astros would then load the bases on Boggs, all without getting a single out. Ultimately, with one out Bill Hall singled in the game winning run and Boggs was left staring at a blown save and a loss. If the main storyline coming into this game was the return of Lance Berkman to Houston. One of the minor ones had to be former Cardinals’ prospect Brett Wallace getting to play his old team for the first time. While Berkman went 2-for-5 with a ninth inning RBI, Wallace played a crucial part for the Astros, going 3-for-4 and adding an RBI of his own.  For the Cardinals, the hero of the night would be Daniel Descalso. He would go 3-for-3 with two doubles, a triple, and an intentional walk. He became just the 26th Cardinal in franchise history to post 7 total bases in just 4 plate appearances. The last was Adam Kennedy in 2008 and it had only been done 3 times in the Tony LaRussa era. The other big note of the night was Albert Pujols getting an intentional walk in his only plate appearance of the game. He didn’t start due to concerns with his hamstring, but made a pinch hitting appearance in the top of the 8th. It was his first intentional walk of the season, making it the deepest in a season that he’d gotten an intentional walk. He got walked in his 23rd game this year, his previous long had been in the 7th game of the season. Dating back to last year, he hadn’t been intentionally walked in 27 straight games, that was the 9th longest streak of his career. His longest was an amazing 80 games from June 2004 to September 2004. =&0=& Does it go to anyone other than Daniel Descalso? 3-for-3 with 3 RBI and 7 total bases is a pretty incredible night. (3-for-3, 2 2B, 1 3B, 3 RBI) =&1=& Mitchell Boggs. Am I clamoring for his replacement? No. If Franklin was given 4 mistakes, we can give Boggs at least 1. What concerned me, though, was the fact that they tied the game before Boggs was able to notch a single out and mental errors compounded the situation. It will be interesting to see how he comes back in his next opportunity. (0.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER)