It was great to get a solid start out of Todd Wellemeyer. It seems that his struggles of late may be mechanical in nature and not something more serious.
Wellemeyer had much better action on his pitches than the last couple of times out and looked like the pitcher who tore up opposing hitters during spring training. If the Cardinals could get Chris Carpenter back in the swing, they would have the rare luxury -- at least these days -- of having a pitcher who gives the team a better than average chance to win start every game.
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Of course, it doesn't hurt to have four home runs to propell the offense, either.
Albert Pujols stole a home run from the Nationals in the first when he expanded the strike zone to swing at a pitcher's pitch with a 3-0 count. He then hit a borderline pitch over the boards to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead. As incredible as the numbers Pujols is putting up are, I would love to see what happened if he had a bona fide major league slugger behind him in the batting order. No offense to Ryan Ludwick or Rick Ankiel, but they don't have the reputation of elite hitters just yet. They're good ballplayers and I'm glad to have them on the team. But they aren't the kind of superstars that make pitchers afraid to put Pujols on base ahead of them.
Jason Motte also appears to have really turned the corner. He had to get five outs in the eighth inning thanks to Skip Schumker and Tyler Greene letting a pop up fall between them and Green letting the next grounder go through him. It was a very hard hit ball, but this is the big leagues, kid... Motte didn't pout. He struck out Adam Dunn and then got a lazy fly to get off the hook.
Speaking of improvements, Blaine Boyer's breaking pitches are really moving. Maybe the Cardinals are onto something with this guy. With the filthy stuff he showed Friday and the heat we know he has, he could be a find.
Star of the Game: Three way split between Pujols and Duncan, who both were a triple shy of the cycle and the resurgent Wellemeyer.
Lowlight: The previously mentioned defensive woes. Skip Schumaker has bothched a couple of balls in the outfield. Maybe it isn't fair to ask an excellent outfielder to learn how to be a second baseman AND still be a defensive replacement in the outfield at the same time...