Villanueva Steps Up, Pitches Cards Past Phils

Matt Carpenter is chasing Earl Webb

Matt Carpenter is chasing Earl Webb

Tim Cooney‘s Major League debut went about as you might have expected given some pedestrian numbers in the minor leagues.

Bad.

He faced 15 batters and 8 of them reached base.

Thankfully for the St. Louis Cardinals, the Philadelphia Phillies are really awful and that allowed the Redbirds to win 9-3.

Props to Carlos Villanueva who came on in long relief to replace Cooney and was masterful, tossing 3.2 innings without allowing a single base runner. In 9+ innings this season, Villanueva is sporting a 0.96 ERA.

Ya, it’s early and his career ERA+ is 98, but I still say that you have to consider using Villanueva as your starter to replace Adam Wainwright in the rotation, at least until Marco Gonzales is ready for the call up. Villanueva has played the role of swing man in the past, making 76 starts in his 10-year career.

Also in the running is Jaime Garcia who threw 54 pitches in a simulated game yesterday, going 5 virtual innings (I guess). He’ll throw again Tuesday while Gonzales (recovering from a DL stint) is expected to throw in the minors again on May 10th. Until then, we’ll see if that spot in the rotation can tread water.

Matt Adams went 3-for-5 with a HR (3rd) and 3 RBI. His 2-run shot in the bottom of the 3rd broke a 3-3 tie and the Cards never looked back. “Big City” was hitting .200 with 1 HR and 4 RBI after 11 games, but in the 9 games since then he has hit .412 with 2 HR and 10 RBI. His OPS over that time frame is 1.123 and the Cardinals have gone 7-2 in those games.

Matt Carpenter went 2-for-3 with yet another double and a pair of walks. Carp now has 13 doubles and is hitting .372 this year. Is it too soon to start the Earl Webb Watch? Webb hit 67 doubles in 1931. Carpenter is currently on pace for 100.

Matt Holliday had a pair of doubles (4), upping his average to .379 while driving in two runs.

Jason Heyward, who had had two nice games since being moved down to 6th in the order, batted 5th and went 0-for-4 with a strikeout and also grounded into a double play. He’s hitting .217 this year.

Speaking of Waino, no problems were reported in yesterday’s surgical procedure to repair a torn Achilles tendon in his left heel. He’s still expected to be ready to go in Spring Training 2016.

* * *

Mike Leake (W 1-1, 3.03) went 8 shutout innings and allowed 2 hits and 2 walks, striking out 3 to lead the Cincinnati Reds over the Atlanta Braves, 5-1.

Oh, he also homered.

Injured catcher Devin Mesoraco was reported as still being 7-10 days away from catching again.

* * *

Schedule

5-17 MILWAUKEE Peralta, W (0-3, 5.04)
12-8 CHICAGO Lester (0-2, 6.23)
1:20 PM CT
11-11 CINCINNATI DeSclafani (2-1, 1.04)
10-12 Atlanta Foltynewicz (NR)
6:35 PM CT
12-10 PITTSBURGH Burnett (0-1, 1.80)
15-6 ST. LOUIS Lynn (1-2, 3.63)
7:15 PM CT

* * *

Standings

W L GB Strk
St. Louis Cardinals 15 6 W3
Chicago Cubs 12 8 2.5 L1
Pittsburgh Pirates 12 10 3.5 W1
Cincinnati Reds 11 11 4.5 W1
Milwaukee Brewers 5 17 10.5 W1
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