Welcome to the sixth annual United Cardinal Bloggers Progressive Game Blog. While the Cardinals haven’t had the best of success in these games, odds are in their favor to snap some PGB streaks this afternoon.
If you’ve never read one of our Progressive Game Blogs before, you are in for a treat. The PGB is a unique way to look at a game–you’ll not find anything like it elsewhere–and is always a lot of fun. Nine blogs will each analyze a different inning, linking to each other in a seamless line. When you are done, you’ll have read a number of points of view and seen the one game through many different eyes.
Before we dive into today’s matchup, let’s take a quick look at the last five Progressive Game Blogs. As you’ll see, it’s a shame Kyle Lohse went yesterday for the Brewers instead of this afternoon.
May 3, 2008: Cubs 9, Cardinals 3. Kyle Lohse allowed eight runs in six innings. Yadier Molina was the offensive hero, going two for three with a home run.
May 23, 2009: Cardinals 5, Royals 0. Lohse again got the start and fared much better before being hit by a Ron Mahay pitch that significantly affected the rest of that season and 2010 as well. Yadier Molina again went two for three, but the only home run of the game came from Skip Schumaker.
May 29, 2010: Cubs 5, Cardinals 0. Same score as the prior year, different outcome. Adam Ottavino got the start for the Redbirds because (honestly) Lohse had been put on the disabled list earlier that week. Ottavino went into the sixth, but gave up four runs mainly due to six walks. Molina only went one for three this year, with Matt Holliday collecting two of the team’s four hits on the day.
May 7, 2011: Milwaukee 4, Cardinals 0. Three shutouts in four years, with St. Louis only on the positive side once. Yovani Gallardo carried a no-hitter into the eighth, completely handcuffing the Cardinal offense. Daniel Descalso was the only thing keeping St. Louis from the record books. Unsurprisingly, it was Lohse on the opposite side, allowing just one run over eight innings.
June 2, 2012: New York Mets 5, Cardinals 0. The Cardinals run their scoreless-inning streak in PGB games to 27 innings with another quiet offensive performance. The day after they were no-hit by Johan Santana, St. Louis managed only seven hits against R.A. Dickey, who pitched a complete game and struck out nine. Lance Lynn was the starter for the Redbirds, but he was unable to get through the fifth before departing, having thrown 105 pitches.
So the Cardinals are on a 27-inning scoreless streak in these PGB games and are a paltry 1-4 over the past five years. Is there such a thing as the Progressive Game Blog jinx?
If so, it’ll get its strongest test today as Adam Wainwright takes the hill for the Cardinals. Wainwright is 4-2 with a 2.03 ERA so far this season, only walking three batters in 44.1 innings, a span in which he’s struck out 43 batters. Wainwright appears to be fully back to the Cy Young level that he was at before Tommy John surgery knocked him out for the 2011 season.
Wainwright also has had a lot of success against these Brewers batters. He’s 9-6 with a 1.93 ERA in his career against Milwaukee and has a respectable 2.57 career ERA in Miller Park, a stronger offensive environment than Busch Stadium. Those numbers help explain this table as well.
Nobody has had much success against the Cardinal ace, as Waino has shut down the big guns of Ryan Braun and Rickie Weeks. (Aramis Ramirez doesn’t show up on the table because, as of this writing, his activation from the disabled list hadn’t hit Baseball-Reference’s web site yet.)
Taking the hill for the home team will be Yovani Gallardo. Gallardo has been the Brewers’ ace in the past and is still in that conversation. You’ll note that the last time the Brewers were the featured PGB game, Gallardo almost no-hit the Redbirds.
That game, and a few like it, belie the fact that Gallardo has struggled overall against the St. Louis nine. That almost no-hitter was the only decision Gallardo has won against the Cards out of the 11 he’s garnered and he has a career 6.84 ERA against them. Last year he gave up 16 earned runs in the three games he started against St. Louis and has already struggled with them this year, giving up five runs in 5.1 innings back on April 13. Wainwright opposed him that day as well and just threw a complete game shutout with 12 strikeouts.
So who beats up on Gallardo the most?
It’s pretty spread out. Matt Holliday has three home runs, David Freese and Carlos Beltran are hitting .400, Matt Carpenter is hitting higher than that (in fewer plate appearances). It’s not like Gallardo can avoid just one player.
The Cards have already taken the first two in the series, surviving some bullpen hijinx in the first one and riding some rookie arms in the second. A win today gives them the series and keeps them in first place in the National League Central.
While the Cardinal lineup is fairly imposing, the UCB one is just about as strong today. Running from one to nine, this group is going to give you some unique looks at this game. We’ve already had a late scratch to the lineup–Saint Louis Sports had another obligation–but we’ve tapped the deep bench of the group to make a more than adequate replacement in the sixth inning.
Here are the blogs that are participating this year. A * next to the link indicates their post is up and linked. Enjoy the game everybody!
First inning: Aaron Miles’ Fastball*
Second inning: Stl Cards ‘N Stuff*
Third inning: Pitchers Hit Eighth*
Fourth inning: I70 Baseball*
Fifth inning: On The Outside Corner*
Sixth inning: Keene On MLB*
Seventh inning: Fungoes*
Eighth inning: ManFridge Baseball*
Ninth inning: Cards Tied For First*
Extras/Postgame: C70 At The Bat*