- Saturday July 5th – Busch Stadium
- Game (88): Cardinals 5 – Cubs 4
- Record (52-36) – 1st place NL Central
- Soriano Saga – (10-12)
The skinny: The irony with today’s ballgame is the Cards lead the majors in blown saves (20).
But, as Lou always says, what can you do?
No closer is perfect and Kerry Wood proved that this afternoon.
And although the right-hander has converted 81-percent of his save opportunities this year, it seems inevitable Wood won’t get the job done if the leadoff man reaches base.
I’ll risk sounding redundant to again point out the two no-no’s for closers.
A) Don’t walk batters
B) Don’t hit batters
Wood’s five blown saves have involved at least one, if not both, of these two sins.
Blown saves that lose a game are going to happen, but there’s really no justifying one blown save being worse than another; they’re still all losses.
Sometimes they just hurt more than others, like today: divisional road game vs. the arch rival.
Plus, with the Cubs not swinging the bat well lately it would have been nice to see the team defeat one of the NL’s best starters for the second time this year.
Speaking of which, where in the world did Kyle Lohse come from this season?
The 29-year-old hasn’t won double digit wins in a season since 2004, but this year he’s already (10-2) and looking to make an All Star appearance.
I give all the credit in the world to Cardinals’ pitching coach Dave Duncan.
Lohse has won seven of his last eight starts, posted a perfect 5-0 mark in June and leads all MLB pitchers in winning percentage (.875) since July 25th 2007 going (14-2).
Not to mention, Lohse has come a long way since his first start this season against the Cubs when he allowed eight runs on nine hits while taking the loss.
Still, Lohse is just one part of this Cardinal rotation that has surfaced as one of the best in the majors.
As a whole the Cards’ starting five leads the NL in winning percentage (.649) posting a (38-21) overall record. And let’s not forget about its bullpen leading the league with 20 blown saves!
I’ve preached since early March that the Cardinals are not going away in the NL Central race.
La Russa is a terrific manager, Dave Duncan’s ability to coach his pitchers is phenomenal and the team plays solid defense as well; its .987 fielding percentage is tied for first in the NL with S.D. and Colorado.
- Notes: The Cardinals set an attendance record this afternoon with 46,865 spectators filling Busch Stadium, that’s largest crowd ever at the new Busch, including postseason play.
- Entering today’s game Jerry Wood had converted 12 straight save opportunities including a sparkling road ERA of 1.83.
- Aramis’ two run shot should have been the game winning hit, although, the slugger did manage break an 0-for-28 skid.
- Mark DeRosa’s long ball was his 11th of the campaign, he nailed just 10 bombs all of last year.
- His career high for home runs is (13) set with Texas in 2006.
- Former Cub Todd Wellemeyer (7-3) throws for the Cards tomorrow.