The Cardinals beat the Reds 11-1 last night, their fourth win in five games against their division rival. Oddly, the Cardinals have played all buy one game so far this season against NL Central teams, and they’re 8-3 in those 11 games. This streak against NL Central opponents will continue for awhile, with 16 more games against NL Central teams until their first series against a non-Central team against the Diamondbacks…on May 7th. The Cardinals have literally a full month of games against NL Central teams. Considering this is one of the weaker divisions in baseball, if the Cardinals get off to a 20-7 (or better) start against them…man, that really sets them up for success this year, doesn’t it? Getting off to a start like that isn’t even out of the realm of possibility, as only four of those 16 games are against the Reds and Brewers. The Cardinals have a home and home with the Pirates, as well as traveling to Houston and Chicago.
Game of the Night: Nationals 3, Giants 2. The real game of the night is your Series Spotlight, so I’ll get to that later. But how about the Nationals winning again? They trailed Houston 1-0 for most of the game before tying it in the seventh, and immediately giving the lead up in the eighth. Of course, because they are the Astros, Houston allowed two runs in the bottom of the eighth…with the runs scoring on a bases loaded walk and a sacrifice fly. Yeah, makes sense. Despite only five runs scoring, the game lasted 2:41. Seven Astros walks didn’t help those matters, either. Jordan Zimmermann of the Nationals went seven innings, allowing one run on four hits and striking out four.
Pitching Line of the Night: I want to save this for the Spotlight Series dammit, but I just can’t. Matt Cain threw nine shutout innings against the Phillies, allowing just two hits and one walk with four strikeouts on 91 pitches. He got a no decision. Cliff Lee went TEN innings of shutout ball, allowing seven hits and striking out seven. He also got a no decision. Baseball drives me crazy sometimes. Bartolo Colon threw eight shutout innings for the A’s, allowing four hits and striking out five. He also threw 38 straight strikes. Well done, Bartolo.
Hitting Line of the Night: Justin Morneau, come on down! 3/4 with a pair of homers, three runs, and three RBI. Well done, Justin. Chase Headley also hit a pair of homers for the Padres, going 3/4 with three RBI.
Spotlight Series: What a crazy game between the Phillies and Giants. Cliff Lee and Matt Cain were both dominant, combining for one walk, nine hits, and 11 strikeouts in 19 innings of shutout baseball. Of course, the bullpens made the game look ugly. The Giants somehow used four relievers in the two innings after Cain left, including three in the eleventh inning (because matchups are awesome). Antonio Bastardo, Philly’s one reliever of the game, struck out Brandon Crawford, allowed a single to Brandon Belt (who came in as a defensive sub in the eleventh….), allowed Angel Pagan to reach on an error by Ty Wigginton, and then allowed a walk-off single to Melky Cabrera. Of course he did. The Giants win the series 2-1. The Phillies travel down the coast to San Diego for a series starting tonight, and the Giants have a day off today before traveling to Citi Field to take on the Mets.
Other Games: The Rangers beat the Red Sox again, 6-3, behind a solid game from Mike Napoli. The Braves pounded the hell out of the Mets 14-6 despite a terrible start from Jair Jurrjens. The Twins edged the Yankees 6-5, and can actually win the series with a victory today. The Pirates took a series with the Diamondbacks with a 2-1 win. Luke Scott’s grand slam led the Rays to a 12-2 thumping of the Blue Jays. The White Sox shredded the Orioles 8-1, as Alejandro de Aza homered for the third time (WHAT?!) this year. The Marlins jumped on Matt Garza, and beat the Cubs 9-1. The Tigers beat the Royals 4-3, as Kansas City remains winless at home. The Brewers beat the Dodgers 3-2 on a walk-off, despite Nyjer Morgan looking out at the plate. The A’s beat the Angels 6-0, and Los Angeles is in the basement of the AL West. The Rockies beat up Clayton Richard, and beat the Padres 8-4. The Mariners beat the Indians 4-1 before just 11,000 at Safeco Field.
Today’s Games: I like the Jeff Samardzija-Ricky Nolasco battle in Miami. Jeremy Hellickson and Henderson Alvarez duel in Toronto in a battle of young potential stars. Mike Minor, Felix Hernandez, CJ Wilson, Edwin Jackson, Adam Wainwright, and Yu Darvish are all also in action.
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.