Well, the Cardinals lost to the Brewers today, dropping their third game of their first four. In doing so, they managed to give up ten home runs and thirty runs.
But I can take a few shreds of hope from the good things about this series.
1) It’s not so bad to lose three of four to the first-place Milwaukee Brewers, right?
2) Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen, and Jim Edmonds all hit very long home runs. More to come.
3) Mike Matheny, who every year, it seems, comes to Spring Training with a new batting stance, a new determination, and a story about how he worked all winter on his hitting, then hits very well in Spring Training and in April, only to fall off the face of the earth in the summer heat, has done all of those things so far. That’s one of the things I love most about baseball: it’s a reliable tie to the seasons. The same things happen every year at around the same time. (I probably won’t feel so good about the seasonal appropriateness of his slump in August.)
4) Down by seven runs, the Cardinals sent Cody McKay to the mound. If you follow the link, you’ll see that Cody McKay is a catcher. He’s also been known to stand in the vicinity of third base with a glove. Until today, I had not heard of him being a pitcher. But he went out there and threw two innings, no hits, one walk, and no runs. He committed a balk, but you kind of expect one or two of those from a non-pitcher. He threw eighteen pitches (ten for strikes), using a “fastball” and–this is the best part of the whole day–a knuckleball. Who doesn’t love a knuckler?
Cody McKay is the son of Cardinals first-base coach Dave McKay, and there has been some talk among Cardinals fans that McKay got the backup catcher job because of that relationship rather than because of his skills. But if he’s also a knuckleballer, I’ll take him. He may not be Brooks Kieschnick, but he’s already established that he’s a better pitcher than Jose Oquendo, Gary Gaetti, or Mark Grace, just to pick three. Two scoreless innings–especially given how few of those the Cardinals have had so far this season–is nothing to scoff at.* When he batted with two outs in the ninth, he got a standing ovation. Then he struck out.
5) No Cardinal seriously injured himself during any of the games.
*I suppose it’s possible that nepotism got Cody McKay not just on the team, but on the mound today, too. But I don’t think first-base coaches–even those working for Tony Larussa–have that kind of pull.
thatbob: Also makes him a better pitcher than Billy Sunday, to name one more.