Cheap Seats

Cardinals at Mets, June 23

I sure hope that Joel Pineiro is on to something.

His two hitter Tuesday against the Mets, which led the Cardinals to a 3-0 win, looks breathtaking on paper. But does it mean that he has finally figured out the difference between 2008 Joel Pineiro and the guy who was a dominant pitcher half a decade ago when he was in Seattle? Or does it mean that Pineiro got lucky in that he faced a pretty good team that was without two of its best players while the balance of its starting position players seem to all be slumping at the same time.

I hope its the former. Because, with Todd Wellemeyer sagging badly, the Cardinals need to get the best performance possible out of the rest of their starters. There is no margin for error here. There is nobody in Class AAA or on the trade market who is going to step in and contribute. The Birds chose over the off-season to stand pat with five major league ready starters -- depsite the fact that Chris Carpenter's health was a huge question mark, Adam Wainwright has struggled with finger problems and his control and Pineiro seemed like he was barely hanging on to the fifth slot in the rotation.

At the plate Tuesday, Skip Schumaker was 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored as he upped his average to .299. Brendan Ryan was 2-for-4 to move to the .309 mark, and it's a good sign that fans are seeing signs of life from the table setters. The box score looks pretty sad when you see the anemic Cardinals averages besides these two and Albert Pujols:

Duncan .251

Thurston . 225

Ludwick .235

Ankiel .238

K. Greene .219

Mentioning Pujols, he batted again Tuesday with the bases loaded and had a two-run hit to raise his season average with the sacks jammed to .800. He has hit homers in three of the five bases loaded at bats.

Cardinals Star of the Game: Pinero not only pitched the Cardinals to victory, he has two hits of his own while at the plate. Maybe he should be the "second lead-off man" when he pitches."

Lowlight: Ankiel and Ludwick combined to to 0-8 at the dish. The Redbirds simply need these two to get things going soon because it is fairly obvious that they aren't going to go outside the organization to get any help for Pujols.