July 20, 2014

Kelly and Cards walkin' the walk of redemption

Yesterday, the Cardinals used many baseball components in a 4-2 win over the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers, in so doing, redeeming the lackluster Redbirds' All-Star Game performance in comparison to the dynamic Dodgers' pitching contribution.

That made the current three-game set with the Dodgers a pretty big deal. Lance Lynn started the redemption with a stellar performance in Friday's 3-2 edging.

Joe Kelly was about lights out yesterday as solid defense, good run support versus Dodgers' all-star hurler, Zack Greinke, and a bullpen ready to bailout its own and shut the door on a late-game potential Dodger comeback.

Worth noting was the pitching shutdown of the Dodgers second (Card Crawford 0-for-3) and third (Jasiel Puig 0-for-1; Matt Kemp ph 0-for-1) spots in the batting lineup, and with the cleanup hitter (Hanley Ramirez (1-for-4) tallying only one hit.

Matt Holliday snagged a couple more RBI (50) when the Cards attacked Greinke in the first inning, then suffered what the team hopes is a minor head injury in the fifth on an attempted pick off play at second base.

Matt Adams blasted a two-run homer in the first, the Cards putting up all four of their runs before suffering an out in the first.

Reliever Sam Freeman got roughed up a bit, but teammate and all-star, Pat Neshek bailed him out in the eighth. Trevor Rosenthal closed out the game, securing his 30th save of the season.

Today, Carol Martinez will take the hill and face who many consider the best pitcher in the national league in Clayton Kershaw. An obvious mismatch, but a golden opportunity for the Redbirds to score a big time sweep of the Dodgers while proving Cards pitching is up to the task by defeating the Dodgers all-star hurlers that showed so well in the Midsummer Classic.

The most unique thing about this "mini-redemptive comeback" for Cards pitching is that so far, it has been accomplished without Adam Wainwright. Neshek has already placed himself squarely back in the saddle.

The pressure on Wainwright (perceived, admitted, or not) is a battle for another day ... Tuesday, when he will start against the Tampa Bay Rays.

For today, it's all hands on deck for the Cardinals in a huge challenge against Kershaw.

If Facebook comments are not showing, click post title.