By: Jim Tsapelas
The odd and unusual start to the St. Louis Cardinals’ 2016 season followed them to San Diego as the Padres outscored the Redbirds by the score of four to one. It seems the Cardinals have had more than their fair share of issues playing at Petco Park over the past two seasons.
Cardinal starter, Adam Wainwright (0-3), appeared in the early going to be having some issues of execution with his cutter which appeared to be high and out of the strike zone. After giving up a first inning home run to the Padres’ Wil Myers, who hit his fourth home run of the 2016 season, Wainwright appeared to fight his way through six innings of play. Wainwright allowed seven San Diego hits, three earned runs, walked one, struck out three, and gave-up the home run to Myers.
Prior to Friday night’s loss, Wainwright had been 6-2 against San Diego with a 1.52 ERA, and a WHIP of 0.98. Friday’s effort proved to be a quality start for Wainwright; however his ERA is 7.25. I am still confident Wainwright will figure things out and correct his issues and concerns experienced, thus far, in 2016.
All in all this was arguably the best start for Wainwright this season. In a post game interview, Wainwright acknowledged, “It still isn’t great, but I feel like I was a lot better.” It appeared that Wainwright may have had some issues with the way his ball was “snapping” during his delivery. Wainwright threw what could be considered some pretty good pitches, throwing a total of eighty-seven pitches; fifty-five of which were for strikes.
The Cardinals’ offense was sloppy with two failed scoring opportunities, the first in the fifth inning; the second in the seventh. The lone Cardinal run was a product of Randal Grichuk’s third home run of the season. Grichuk’s homer was measured at four hundred-thirty feet. Grichuk’s bat speed was reported to be one hundred-four miles per hour. Grichuk has scored in nine of the last ten games!
Costly base running mistakes, an almost invisible offensive presence, and some timely Padres’ hitting became the game’s difference maker.
Padres’ starter, Andrew Cashner (1-1), saw six innings of work, allowing three hits, one earned run-the homer to Grichuk, walked one, and struck out four. Fernando Rodney earned his third save of the year.
Brandon Moss, pinch hitting in the ninth inning for Seth Maness, filed out as the Padres employed a rather strange and unusual shift. San Diego had four infielder’s on the right side of the infield, while their outfielders played straight away. Following a fantastic start to his rookie season, Jeremy Hazelbaker, has recently gone 0-18! Hazelbaker, struck out pinch hitting for Ruben Tejada in the ninth, dashing any hopes in Cardinal Nation for a late game rally. Tejada picked-up his first hit as a Cardinal in Friday night’s contest.
The Padres’ Wil Myers scored one of San Diego’s four runs, going three for three, with three RBI’s, and was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
As previously noted, I believe the starting pitching will come around. I believe the bullpen has been sharp and shall remain solid. The big questions facing John Mozeliak and Mike Matheny are how to steady the defense and how to make the offense consistently productive.
Game Two of this three game set features Michael Wacha (1-0) facing the Padres’ Cesar Vargas who is making his first MLB start in a 7:40 PM (CT) start at Petco Park.
Thanks for reading!