Cardinals Winning Once Again

Evan Glantz

This weekend had to be a frustrating one for the Pittsburgh Pirates, to say the least. Entering their weekend series against the Cardinals, the Buccos stood a respectable 12-10, just 3.5 games behind the Redbirds.

Three days later, the Pirates find themselves on the wrong side of .500 after suffering a three-game sweep at the hands of the hometown team. On the flip side, the Cardinals find themselves in the midst of a six-game winning streak that’s pushed their record to 18-6, best in the big leagues.

If there was one weekend that summed up why other teams and their fans hate the Cardinals, this would be it. If ever the “Cardinal Way” (cue the collective eye roll) was on display, this would be it.

ADVERTISEMENT
Beth Shalom Cemetery ad

Down 1-0 in the seventh on Friday, Mark Reynolds delivered a pinch hit game-tying single. The club won in the 10th on a rare opposite field single by first baseman Matt Adams.

A day later, the Cardinals battled back from another 1-0 deficit to win in 11 innings, this time on a sacrifice fly by third baseman Matt Carpenter.

And on Sunday, the Cardinals and Pirates went to extra innings for a third game in a row, this time needing 14 innings to settle the outcome. Second baseman Kolten Wong made sure the Cardinals went home happy, delivering a walkoff homerun to cap the sweep.

Three games, a variety of heroes. Reynolds, Adams, Carpenter and Wong delivered with the lumber. But how about the pitching that only allowed four runs over the series to a strong Pittsburgh team? Sunday’s performance was especially impressive, with eight Cardinal pitchers combining to limit the Pirates to two runs.

The Cardinals have now won seven consecutive series since splitting their opening series with the Chicago Cubs (the second game of the three-game series was rained out). They’re 11-2 at home. And they’re doing it all despite some harsh setbacks and obstacles.

Ace Adam Wainwright is done for the year with a torn achilles. All-Star All-World catcher Yadier Molina is struggling at the dish (although thankfully not behind it). Right fielder Jason Heyward, the team’s prized pickup during the offseason, is hitting .211 with two homeruns and four runs batted in.

As a team, the Cardinals rank 26th in the majors with 16 homeruns (just three more than Seattle Mariners outfielder Nelson Cruz has alone).

But they continue to find ways to win. Carpenter has stormed out of the gate, putting up MVP-caliber numbers from the leadoff spot (and the number two spot more recently).

Matt Holliday is steady as ever. While the homers may be down, he’s hitting .321 while getting on base at a .455 clip.

Wong has continued the hot hitting he flashed in the 2014 postseason. And even though his offensive numbers may be lacking, Heyward has been a stud in right field. Here’s proof.

And then there’s the pitching. Lance Lynn has stepped up and continues to provide quality innings. John Lackey is a great fit for this team and rotation in the veteran role. Michael Wacha is showing no-ill effects from his shoulder injury. And Carlos Martinez, finally given his shot in the rotation, has excelled.

Once again, the Cardinals are pacing the NL Central. Their total team effort has helped them pace the rest of the National League. Another year, more Cardinals success. Cue the eye rolls and collective groans.