Adam Wainwright was masterful last night, pitching 8 lock down innings on the Astros, giving up 3 hits for one run, while striking out 8, getting his 8th win. What's amazing is how efficient he was. He did 8 innings like that with just 110 pitches. Tony just put Chris Perez in later to do the mop up duty and give the rookie some more MLB experience (Perez is still perfect thusfar in his career, posting an 0.00 ERA). I don't think I need to make an argument for Wainwright as the ace of the rotation any more, even when Carp comes back.
John Mozeliak says the Cardinals might not even use Carpenter as a starter this year if it looks like they're doing well enough to win w/o him. Not that they don't want Carpenter, they just want to give him the best recovery possible. People recovering from Tommy John surgery usually don't lose that much velocity on their pitches-the location is what takes time to regain control of. If Carpenter can do that, plus retain his full arsenal of pitches, he could be just as dominant as he used to be (That's a pretty BIG if).
It was a great offensive game up and down the lineup, excluding a few down players. Everyone contributed in either scoring a run or driving in a run, except for the pitcher and Glaus. Barton, Molina, and Ryan all had multi-hit nights. Pujols went 0 for 2, walking twice, including an intentional one in the first. Ludwick made them pay. Izturis also a had a big two run triple that pretty much put the game away in the 4th. He hasn't really been the horrible offensive player I expected when he was signed, but he has provided decent speed on the base and average leadoff ability.
However, Izturis hasn't been the defensive stalwart either that we did expect. He made his 3rd error last night on a ground ball most good fielders would get. Also he's been a bit slow getting to ground ball singles that if he just sped up tiny bit would be there. Ankiel made a diving catch though last night to rob a single in the first and end the inning. Unfortunately, the Cubs win a close one 2-1, but the Cardinals move into lone 2nd place after putting Houston a game behind them with the game last night.