Missed Opportunities

With the Cubs losing earlier in the day and the Brewers off, yesterday would have been the best of times for a Cardinal win. Sadly, Anthony Reyes again caught slam-itis and the Marlins were off and running. Still, it was somewhat to be expected. The Marlins had lost eight in a row–it was about time for that streak to end. The Cards had won three in a row, and they’ve not shown they can put together much of an extended winning streak.

So the Atlanta Braves come into town tonight for a weekend set. The Cardinal pitchers are going to have to figure out a way to contain Mark Teixeira. Ever since he left Texas for a pennant race, the man has been energized, hitting 10 home runs since the beginning of the month. Add him to the Jones boys and Brian McCann and that offense can get running in a hurry.

The Braves pitching staff is solid as well, and the Cards get the unlucky draw by not missing either of the Atlanta aces. Tonight, Kip Wells matches up against future Hall of Famer John Smoltz. Wells must be wondering what’s going on here, having faced Chicago ace Carlos Zambrano last time out (in a game that got rained out). Eventually you think age will get to Smoltz, but he’s not showing it this year.

Tomorrow night, newbie Cardinal Joel Pineiro gets Tim Hudson. It looked like Billy Beane had fleeced two teams in two days after the results of Hudson and Mark Mulder the last couple of years. However, Hudson has rebounded to his Oakland levels and could create a long night for the Birds.

Sunday, you get Reyes vs. Wainwright. No, not the general discussion around Cardinal Nation. This is Jo-Jo Reyes, so at least this pitching matchup, on paper, would go to the Cards. Though Reyes is a lefty with a high ERA that the Cards haven’t seen before, basically a recipe for a two-hit shutout.

If the Cards can take two of three and stay within a couple of games of the Cubs and Brewers, it’s a successful weekend. How they do in the next three days may let us know whether our optimism for September is warranted.

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