It’s nice when your team is winning. The days roll by easier. The stress levels are down and the excitement is up. The mood is mor relaxed.
Whether you are a fan or a local writer, covering the team is easier when things go well. That doesn’t mean a five game winning streak doesn’t deserve as much of an investigation. It simply makes the experience more similar to covering a parade compared to a car crash. The Cards, after completing a disappointing 4 road trip that ended in losing to the Rays, have won 5 games in a row. They swept a hot Washington Nationals team over the weekend and are appropriately beating up on the New York Mets. The rotation is giving solid innings. The bats are showing true signs of life that include plenty of extra base hits. The bullpen is showing surprises every night. Pat Neshek closed a game last night. Eric Greenwood came up from the minors and pitched four solid innings of relief on Monday.
It’s very comforting when Adam Wainwright misses a start and the team doesn’t miss a beat on the heels of the injury. The depth of this team’s farm system is starting to show its legs, but what is really powering this team is familiar faces coming to the center of the party and taking charge.
Big Speed Missile Biscuit Launcher Matt Adams cranked 3 home runs over the weekend and sparked the teams bats. You don’t make a bigger entrance than when you supply the only run in a shutout for your team. Adams hit a lot of HR in 2013 and is simply unleashing that right field power stroke. It’s good to know that Adams can beat the shift and hit for average while blasting a few baseballs towards Illinois.
Allen Craig is steady and providing those big RBI while playing a solid first base and right field. He had a great end to the month of May, kept hitting in early June and slowly pushing the RBI total to 40 and his average to .270’s.
Matt Holliday is heating up right along with the weather. When the temperature rises, Holliday starts to truly bang the baseball. He roped a laser into the left field bleachers on Sunday and collected 2 doubles in last night’s victory. He is among the league leaders in walks and has a high OBP, but is starting to crank the bat up in the power and slugging areas.
Jaime Garcia isn’t hit and miss anymore. He shut down the Washington Nationals and contained himself during threatening moments. I will take him giving up a home run or extra base hit as long as the walks are reduced and the temper and mindset on th mound is sound proof. Garcia looks mentally stronger this year and that could come with a healthier shoulder.
Trevor Rosenthal found his changeup and is starting to look like the elite closer we all know. A few hiccups during his past few outings are still more tolerable than the walk fests he was having in April and May. Greg Holland is a new born star closer up I-70 but let’s not discount what Rosenthal has done for a struggling club. He is 20-23 and getting better and better. He is another hot weather performer.
Michael Wacha returned to his dominant self on Tuesday and shut down the Mets. There is more contact coming off Wacha’s pitches but he collected a fair number of strikeouts and only allowed 5 hits. Every pitcher gives up hard hit baseballs for a stretch of games. As long as he mostly gets it right out there and doesn’t allow the inning to manifest into something very ugly, respect his stats that may elude the baseball card mafia. He likes to pour gasoline on the mound and light a match during certain innings, but he can dance out of it just fine.
Please please, respect what Jon Jay is doing. He put together very good seasons in 2011 and 2012, and took a small step back in 2013. His defense struggled, he lost a step or two in the field and his average went down. However, he still hit above .270 and drove in 67 baserunners. This year, inside a reckless platoon setup with Peter Bourjos, Jay is playing even better. His batting average is hanging around .309 and his defense is improved. More importantly, Jay is hitting lefthanders very well in 2014 and getting better this month in all areas. People can scream for Bourjos’ defense and his .211 batting average, but I am sorry. Jay is too good right now to sit and earning his playing time.
Well, my dad always told me to end a conversation on a great point and I think I will quit for now with the Jay statement. The Cards battle the human anatomy sensation Bartolo Colon in less than an hour and are going for another sweep before the Phillies come to down.
Six runs may be a serious number, but six wins in a row is even better.
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Image Credit-Bleacher Report