Lackey dominates in Busch Stadium homecoming

 

Mark J. Rebilas – Jennifer Stewart/USA TODAY Sports
 
John Lackey was stellar Monday night against the St. Louis Cardinals in his first start at Busch Stadium since signing with the Chicago Cubs in the offseason. He got some run support from the league’s second-highest scoring offense in a 5-0 shutout of his former team. 

Lackey pitched a strong seven innings, striking out eleven and giving up just four hits en route to his third win of the young season.

Mike Leake had a solid outing besides giving up a solo home run to Dexter Fowler in the sixth. His performance was spoiled on a misread by Jeremy Hazelbaker on a ball that should have been caught in center, and an error by Aledmys Diaz. 

Jason Heyward’s return to Busch Stadium wasn’t as welcoming as Lackey’s. He was greeted by deafening boos when he was announced for his first at-bat. Every time he made a good defensive play, he was jeered by Cardinal nation. He finished the night hitless, including a strikeout.

For a complete look at Monday’s box score, click here.

Monday’s game was the first of 19 meetings this season between red and blue. The Cardinals will look to rebound Tuesday night when they send lefty Jaime Garcia to the mound. Garcia is coming off maybe the best performance of his career against Milwaukee. Garcia went the distance, giving up just one hit and striking out 13. Of the 27 outs recorded, the other 13 were ground ball outs.

The Cubs will send Jason Hammel to the mound in Tueday’s matchup. He’s posting just a 0.75 ERA in two starts. 

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Cardinals beat Reds, set crosshairs on rival Cubs

 

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson
 
The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-3 in dramatic fashion Sunday afternoon. The win secured the third straight series victory in the young season. 

Michael Wacha pitched six innings in his second home start. Two errors allowed two runs to score, but overall Wacha had a good game. He got some good run support as well with home runs from Jedd Gyorko and Matt Carpenter.

On the day Yadier Molina received his 8th consecutive Gold Glove, and 4th Platinum Glove awards, his understudy Eric Fryer put on a show.

Fryer went 3-3 with two RBI, Sunday. He drove in the go-ahead run in the 8th inning and threw out a runner trying to steal second. He’s now 6-6 to start his Cardinals career.

Trevor Rosenthal picked up his third save of the season.

For a look at Sunday’s box score against the Reds, click here.

Now, the Cardinals will set their sights on the Chicago Cubs who will make the trip south for a three game set starting Monday.

The first pitching matchup of the series will see newcomer Mike Leake go up against former Cardinals pitcher, John Lackey. 

Leake has yet to get much going since signing with the Cardinals in the offseason. For Lackey, Monday will be his first game back at Busch Stadium since leaving for the rival Cubs along with outfielder Jason Heyward.

Wacha and Cardinals look to win third straight series

 

Billy Hurst/AP
 
The Cardinals will send Michael Wacha to the mound Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds, as the team tries to win its third straight series in 2016. In his last start against Milwaukee, Wacha pitched a gem. He went a solid six innings, giving up just four hits and seven strikeouts.

The Cardinals will go up against right hander Jon Moscot who’s making his first start of 2016 for Cincinnati.

The Cardinals’ offense has turned things around since a dismal performance in the first series of the season against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Since that time, the team has scored 74 runs and lead the league in runs scored with 81. 

All everyone talked about in the offseason was how great the Cardinals’ pitching was, but the offense wasn’t. The team has proved everyone wrong thus far, but it’s a small sample size.

The Cardinals have to take care of business Sunday to have some momentum heading into a three game series with the Chicago Cubs.

Here’s a look at Sunday’s lineup.

The Cubs come to town starting Monday. The series will mark the return of John Lackey and Jason Heyward to St. Louis since they signed with the Cubs in the offseason. Mike Leake will take the mound in the first game against, you guessed it, John Lackey.

tvteddy

Why the Cardinals will be fine without Jason Heyward

As I sat at my desk Friday constantly refreshing my Twitter feed for the latest information on MLB’s “Silly Season,” I saw the tweet from CBS’ Jon Heyman: https://twitter.com/jonheymancbs/status/675377236837560320.

Just like that, the St. Louis Cardinals’ best all around position player from 2015 was now a member of the Chicago Cubs.

I was floored, but it’s not something that’s unfamiliar to me as a Cardinals fan either. Albert Pujols (a future Hall of Famer, and quite possibly one of the best hitters of his time) left for the Los Angeles Angels after the team won the World Series in 2011.

The biggest difference from Pujols to Heyward is obvious: Pujols is a much better hitter, and he went to a team the Cardinals rarely play, sometimes not at all in a given season.

After being distraught wondering how Cardinals’ General Manager John Mozeliak could allow two free agents to sign with the Cubs, I took a breath.

Last year Jason Heyward hit .293 with 13 home runs and 60 RBI. There are plenty of other free agent outfielders that could put up those numbers. Heyward has a 6.5 WAR (wins above replacement) which is very good, but if you look at how he performed last year, his upside was his glove.

That’s not to say that he couldn’t perform better in 2016, but according to http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/h/heywaja01.shtml?mobile=false, he’s projected to hit just as many home runs, and five less RBI’s. That doesn’t mean he won’t be a good player, to me that just means he really wasn’t worth the $20m a year he wanted.

I’m not going to speculate who the Cardinals will end up, but what I can say is Alex Gordon’s numbers are very similar to Jason Heyward’s if you want to simply replace him. The Gordon option would also be cheaper.

Chris Davis, if signed, could probably blast a ball to the Arch, but he comes with a hefty price tag of at least $168m. But, the Cardinals now have money to spend.

I look at Justin Upton, Yoenis Cespedes and even Pedro Alvarez are players that could come into play this Winter. But for now, I’ll just patiently wait and trust in Cardinals’ management as I have my entire baseball fandom life. Because at the end of the day, it always works out.

– tvteddy