It’s been a soggy, stormy week in St. Louis. Amazingly, the Redbirds got all their games in, even though they had to play a double header. They took 4 of 6 games at home, including 2 from the division rival Reds, leaving them at 12-10 atop the NL Central.
The Cards hope to head to dry land as they visit Houston and Atlanta this week after the off day Monday. The offense has a nice draw this week avoiding Houston’s top two starters and Tommy Hanson in Atlanta. They get Norris, Happ (L), and Figueroa from the ‘Stros then Hudson, Beachy and Lowe from the Braves.
Albert Pujols left the game Sunday night with mild tightness in his right hamstring. No word on any lingering effects as this appeared to be just a precautionary move. Assume he’ll be good to go.
Skip Schumaker will remain on the DL through the week with an elbow injury and Allen Craig will be there too. Both are eligible to come back next week but it’s uncertain that they will.
Nick Punto was activated from the DL but will share time with Daniel Descalso on the infield. Neither needs to be paid any attention at this point.
The Puma continues to pounce. Lance Berkman is playing like an MVP. He has four straight multi-hit games and his average is up to .377. He seems to be his old self, just remember he will be spelled throughout the season.
Albert Pujols has finally begun to hit the ball the other way and is looking comfortable at the plate. He has already climbed to the top of the HR leader boards after hitting three out this week. He’s scoring runs and driving them in (7 on this home stand). He’s now hit in 11 of his last 13 games and is finely putting fantasy owners’ minds’ at ease. What, you didn’t really think his slump would last did you?
A new combination of Fernando Salas, to Eduardo Sanchez, to Mitchell Boggs, may become a familiar refrain in the next few years in St. Louis. Sanchez has struck out 12 in his first 7 Major League innings and is a nice holds option if your league counts them. Boggs has looked impressive since taking over the closer role. He has great stuff and all that has held him back heading into this season was control. With a 15/3 K/BB ratio, he seems to be figuring something out. He has a filthy slider and a live fastball that can push up to 97. He has been a bit lucky but hitters are chasing a bit more which is a nice indicator of how good his stuff is.
Kyle Lohse threw a two-hit complete game shutout against Washington for his third straight quality start. He’s pitching deep into games, displaying great control, and a decent K rate (6.32). He is starting to warrant ownership in most leagues and is proving that his struggles were related to health issues. He has also developed a nice change-up that he is throwing more than ever.
Jaime Garcia is still hot and is one of the best two-start pitchers available this week.
Ryan Franklin can be dropped in all formats. He’s lost his closer role. And even in the appearance he did have he gave up a two-RBI hit to Miguel Cairo that sealed the second game of the Cincy series. His stuff is just getting mashed at the plate.