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Cardinals hold on to beat the Reds; the Pirates up next.

Shelby Miller faces the Pirates tonight.
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Thursday’s game was a little too exciting in the end; the good news was the offense finally clicked. The hitters connected 11 times and scored 7 runs, including a 2 run homer for Jhonny Peralta. There still are concerns, like the fact that the 21 runners were left on base (team high 5 each by Yadier Molina and Peralta). The pitching was a mixed bag. Starter Lance Lynn had 7 strikeouts, but only last 5 innings and gave up 3 earned runs and 2 homers. Kevin Siegrist was tagged for 2 earned on a hit and a walk; those runs scored while Pat Neshek pitched, who allowed 1 of his own. Those 3 runs put Cincinnati within one of the Cardinals lead; Trevor Rosenthal shut the door recording a 4 out save though.

This game shows the glaring weakness of the Cardinals: the bullpen. While people were excited about the prospect of seeing the kids, many in their second season, shut down hitters again, they haven’t performed that well; the bullpen has already taken a loss with a 5.40 ERA. There were already concerns with Seth Maness’s rough spring, lack of long relief, and Keith Bulter being the last man in the bullpen. One thing the Cardinals need is the starters to pitch deeper into games; if all 5 starters go into the 6th inning, the bullpen will be much better off.

The hero of the game would be Kolten Wong, who went 1 for 3 with 2 walks and 2 runs; he’s second on the team in hitting (tied with Jon Jay at 0.333) and leads the teams in walks. The zero was Siegrist; the hit and walk allowed turned into 2 runs, something that he didn’t do much last year.

Here are the current Central Standings:

  • Pittsburgh Pirates: 2-1 (0.667)
  • St. Louis Cardinals: 2-1 (0.667)
  • Milwaukee Brewers: 1-2 (0.333); 1 back
  • Chicago Cubs: 1-2 (0.333); 1 back
  • Cincinnati Reds: 1-2 (0.333); 1 back

The Cardinals have a run differential of +1 again, with 8 RS and 7 RA. That would be good for a 2-1 Pythagorean record, matching how they actually have played. The team is averaging 2.67 runs per game and giving up 2.33.

Game 1 of the new series sees Shelby Miller start against Gerrit Cole and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cardinals and Pirates split last year’s series 12-12, including the NLDS. The lineup for the Cardinals will be:

  1. Matt Carpenter, 3B
  2. Kolten Wong, 2B
  3. Matt Holliday, LF
  4. Allen Craig, RF
  5. Yadier Molina, C
  6. Matt Adams, 1B
  7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
  8. Peter Bourjos, CF
  9. Shelby Miller, SP

Game time is 6:10 pm CST.

The farm system started playing last night. The Memphis Redbirds won 10-2 over Iowa; David Aardsma was the winning pitcher. Springfield was taken down by San Antonio 7-4; Kurt Heyer took the loss. St. Lucie topped Palm Beach 6-5; Mike Mayers was the loser there. Peoria took down Wisconsin 8-4; Arturo Reyes got the win.

  • Memphis: 1-0
  • Springfield: 0-1
  • Palm Beach: 0-1
  • Peoria: 1-0

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