UCB Progressive Game Blog: Pre-Game

by Cardinal70 on May 23, 2009

Welcome to the second annual United Cardinal Bloggers Progressive Game Blog.  Ten of our member blogs will be contributing to an unique way of looking at today’s 12:10 game against the Kansas City Royals.  Each blog will take an inning, describing the action and bringing their own brand of commentary to it.  The lineup for this afternoon’s game:

First inning*: Redbirds Row
Second inning*: Bird Brained
Third inning*: Baseball Digest
Fourth inning*: Cards on Deck
Fifth inning*: Redbird Chatter
Sixth inning*: Whiteyball
Seventh inning*: The Cardinal Virtue
Eighth inning*: Fungoes
Ninth inning*: Pitchers Hit Eighth
Extras and game wrapup*: C70 At The Bat

*–Has been posted

The Cardinals are riding a stretch of solid pitching as they continue to be contenders in the NL Central.  The last four night have seen the St. Louis starters combine to give up 1 earned run in 28.2 innings, a miniscule 0.31 ERA.  Joel Pineiro, Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and even Todd Wellemeyer have pitched exceptional games, giving their team a great chance to win even with a sputtering offense.

That offense has scored 27 runs in its past 10 games, requiring the pitching staff to go over and beyond to keep them at the .500 level over that span.  Albert Pujols has started to heat up lately.  Of course, with Pujols, you can’t expect too long of a slump.  He’s always so prepared, crossing every t and dotting every i.

The offense will get a bigger boost at the end of the week when Ryan Ludwick returns.  It appears that the imminent return of Rick Ankiel isn’t quite as imminent, as he’s still having lingering pain from his head-on collision with the immovable force that was the Busch Stadium wall.

All that means that there likely won’t be many offensive fireworks in today’s matchup.  Kyle Lohse takes the mound for the Cardinals, looking to extend this amazing pitching run.  Loshe, who is 3-3 with a rather unsightly 4.66 ERA on the season, is having an atrocious May.  This month has seen him make three starts, two of which he didn’t make it through the fifth, and a 10.67 ERA for the month.

Interestingly enough, though, the first three starts of May 2008 were pretty bad for Lohse also.  In those three starts, he went 17 innings and put up a 10.06 ERA.  His fourth May start, he went six and gave up three runs (two earned).  We’ll see if history repeats itself in that regard.  It already has in one respect: Lohse was the starting pitcher for the first Progressive Game Blog.

Lohse has some history with the Royal hitters, since he spent a lot of his career in the American League.  David DeJesus dreams about the days when he can face Lohse, as he’s put up a .583 mark with a triple and a homer against him.  All together, the Royals that have faced him are hitting at a combined .271 clip against him.  Lohse didn’t face the Royals in 2008, however, so some of these numbers may be less than relevant after his resurgence in Cardinal red.

Going for the Royals today is one-time top draft pick Luke Hochevar.  Hochevar only has two starts this season, but they’ve been less than impressive.  The 16.88 ERA is one hint, though that’s mainly from the two-inning, eight-run debut he had against Boston.  His last time out, he made it through three and a third and gave up only three runs (two earned).

You’d think this might mean that the On the Run people would start getting nervous, but the Cardinals have a history of helping huge ERAs get back to more managable levels.  With the offense in the shape that it has been in this month, expecting an explosion is probably the last thing fans should do.

So now let’s stop preparing you for the game and get you started on the game itself.  Josh from Redbirds Row will kick things off today and we’ll just move along from there.  Thanks for reading everybody and here’s to a Cardinal victory!

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