Jake Westbrook got a much needed dominant start as he held the divisional rival Reds to just three hits over six innings. His mirror, Edinson Volquez matched him into the sixth inning when Yadier Molina parked one over the fence for his first home run of the season, plating three runs with it. Molina even mimicked the home run trot of Brandon Phillips. Molina and Phillips were the two players at the center of last August’s confrontation between the Cardinals and Reds.
For Westbrook, he had struggled mightily so far in 2011. Going into the season he was the Cardinals #2 starter. He hadn’t shown it, but Sunday night he finally broke through, much to the enjoyment of Cardinals’ fans. It was when they needed it most. The rubber game of a home series against the team they were tied for the early season division lead with. Westbrook came out like a shining star.
The bullpen also showed it’s dominance of the Reds offense. Fernando Salas, Eduardo Sanchez, and Mitchell Boggs combined to throw 3 innings and strike out 6. Boggs would be the only one of the trio to allow a hit, with a double to Joey Votto, but Boggs would easily pick up his third save in as many chances by striking out the final two batters of the inning.
For Molina, he has finally turned it around at the plate. After struggling to start the season, in the team’s last 8 games, Molina is hitting .393 with a home run and 5 RBI. Something that was always interesting to me, was that despite Molina’s early season struggles at the plate, he was still among the team’s leaders at scoring in base runners.
Hero: Tonight’s hero will go to Jake Westbrook, though Molina is very deserving as well. For Westbrook it was a night he needed to come up big, and he did. (6.0 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 4 K)
Zero: Here’s calling Daniel Descalso‘s bat? Anyone? Once Schumaker and Craig return from the disabled list, someone will be joining Mark Hamilton on the trip back to Memphis. Unfortunately for Descalso, he has not hit well lately and didn’t last night either. As much as I love Descalso, that puts him at the top of my list for that passenger list. (0-for-3, 2 K, 3 LOB)