Audio from Mike Matheny
Make no mistake about it, this was a big series win for the Cardinals. The Phillies had won 6 in a row, with strong starting pitching, and clutch hitting heading into St. Louis. and had held its own in the ultra-competitive NL East. So, for the Cardinals to take three of four, the accomplishment should not be understated.
What maybe makes the three wins even more impressive, is that the Cardinals are still, by far, not playing their best baseball. Shoddy defense, touch and go starting pitching, and boom or bust offense are still running rampant on this team. But three things stand out to me after this series.
1)Adam Wainwright: He’s progressing. Maybe not as fast as some fans may like, but the arrow IS trending up. His ERA over his last three starts is still 5.19, but he is 2-1 in those starts. His strikeout to walk ratio is 11/3, and he went 6 IP in 2 of those last three starts. This is far from ace level Wainwright, and quite frankly, we may not see that guy again, but there is no doubt in my mind that Wainwright will more resemble the one time ace than the April Wainwright before it’s all said and done.
2)Stephen Piscotty is the Cardinals best hitter. That’s difficult to say for a guy that hasn’t logged a full season of big league at bats yet. But the best at bat of the Philly series was Piscotty’s Thursday at bat with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 7th. For a series that saw the Cardinals grind for four days, to see Piscotty grind out a full count AB before lining a 2-run double to essentially ice the game, showed how poisedbeyond his years the Cardinals’ RF is.
“He’s just going to a consistent approach to every at bat,” said manager Mike Matheny. “He’s got a nice idea of what people are going to try to do to him. He’s got an uncanny ability for a young player to make those adjustments and put together those tough at-bats.”
The quality of Piscotty’s at-bats tell the story right now. He rarely gives anything away, and you feel like he is capable of reading and adjusting on the fly depending on the situation. It’s a skill set that goes beyond ball to bat skills and home run power.
3)The pure, raw home run power on the Cardinals belongs to Brandon Moss. He hit his 7th home run of the season on Thursday to lead the ball club, and he’s done it in just 88 plate appearances, which ranks 7th on the team.
Speak of quality AB’s, Moss still believes he has yet to display any type of consistency in that department. So to think there is a higher level of his game still to come is encouraging. But the raw power that was rarely on display a season ago, is front and center now after Moss smacked the longest home run ever hit at Busch Stadium III by left-handed hitter on Thursday.
Moss told reporters Thursday that it ate at him, not being able to perform like he knew he was capable of last year. Realize that Moss will not hit for a high average. A .270 mark when it’s all said and done should be viewed as a success. But 20-25 home runs, with an outside shot at 30 I think is very much in play. And if he hits, in what will probably be only 450 PA’s or so, would be quite weapon for the Cardinals and Matheny to deploy when they see fit.