After another brutal start by veteran Justin Masterson in the opener of a Saturday double header, rookie Marco Gonzales finally gave St. Louis Cardinals fans something to cheer about.
The lefty held the Chicago Cubs to one run over six innings in the nightcap, with three hits and two walks allowed while striking out five.
It wasn't dumb luck or a lack of familiarity that made the young hurler successful, either. Unlike his teammates who have allowed the Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cubs to dig in and swing for the fences over the past three series, Gonzales pitched inside and knocked opposing batsmen off the plate. Suddenly the Chicago Kids who looked the first two games like Sammy Sosa on steroids and with a corked bat, looked foolish and helpless.
Gonzales seemed like he had plenty of confidence this time around. And, unlike the first time he was in the big leagues, he seemed comfortable with all of his pitches and mixed things up nicely.
I'm not sure if the Cardinals will consider Gonzales for another turn in the rotation. Especially with Michael Wacha set to pitch in a rehab game Sunday in Class AA Springfield. But he was a sight for sore eyes in the one chance he got, giving St. Louis fans a reason to be optimistic about his future.
I also couldn't help but notice that, after Gonzales departed, relief pitcher Seth Maness followed his example, knocking the Cubs hitters off the plate as he plowed through an easy inning.
I just can't imagine a scenario where the Redbirds allow Masterson to make another start. It seems like a face saving trip to the disabled list with an injury that they just discovered he has had all along is in order. Although that doesn't seem likely with the roster expanding before his next turn in the rotation would come up.