Saturday brought a few positives to a St. Louis Cardinals team that needed to turn things around while riding a four game losing streak. The Cardinals turned to Shelby Miller against the Chicago Cubs, as he made his first start since being moved to the bullpen. The corresponding move then meant Carlos Martinez move to the bullpen; another roster move showed today as newly signed catcher A.J. Pierznski made his first start for the Redbirds. These moves seemed to pay off as the Cardinals beat the Cubs 6-3.
Miller, looked a lot better than he has throughout the 2014 season and he went five and two-thirds innings, allowing just two runs on three hits and no walks. The most best statistic of the day for the right-hander was the fact that he did not issue a walk and threw 56 of his 89 pitches for strikes. His inability to throw strikes kept setting him up for failure before he was moved to the bullpen. Miller did not receive the win, but he did give his team a good chance to win. And at this point, the Cardinals will take those type of starts instead of what they were seeing earlier in the season. If Miller can build on this start and keep things rolling, it would greatly improve the Cardinals’ chances of making the playoffs.
The Cardinals lineup supplied enough run support to pick up the win, mainly behind the bats of Matt Adams and A.J. Pierzynski. Matt Adams went two for five in the game, but both of his hits were crucial, extra-base hits. Adams drove in four runs in the game by hitting a triple and a double, which also brought his batting average to to .320 and his RBI total to 47. Pierzynski went three for four and a RBI in his first start with his new ball team.
Adams, Miller and Pierzynski will each have substantial impact on the Cardinals’ success rate moving forward. Adams has been a force all year, as he is currently third in the National League in batting average, behind injured Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and Houston’s Jose Altuve. If the rest of St. Louis’ lineup can continue to heat up, Adams will be in line for a lot more RBI chances. Pierzynski on the other hand will turn out to be a big addition to the Cardinals while Yadier Molina continues his rehab process. Pierzynski offers a better bat in the lineup than both Tony Cruz and George Kottaras. The Cardinals will take any production they can get from the catchers position until Molina returns. The Cardinals are also hoping that this start will be the turning point for Shelby Miller in a disappointed season. If Miller can get back on track and consistently throw strikes, he improves the Cardinals’ playoff chances all by himself.
For now, the Cardinals will take it one game at a time and try to claw their way back into first place. St. Louis will head into Sunday with a 55-48 record and try to win the series with their rival Chicago Cubs.
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