(Busch Stadium) The St. Louis Cardinals lineup had a different look tonight as rookie Tommy Edman was in the lead-off spot.
“It wasn’t an easy decision, it’s for today–we’ll see where we go from here,” Mike Shildt said before the game. “He’s clearly earned it. Tommy’s done a great job since he’s been here and it gives us a opportunity to go from the top and see what he can do. It gives Carp a little bit of a break and we’ll kind of see as we go.”
Matt Carpenter has four hits in his 30 at-bats with 10 strikeouts and leading off is not unfamiliar to Edman, who’s batted first the majority of his minor league career.
“It’s a place that I’m comfortable with,” said Edman, who varies his approach in the top spot. “A pitcher who I’ve seen a lot and kind of know what his stuff is already, then I’ll probably be a little bit more aggressive. But if it’s a guy that I’ve never seen before, I’ll probably try to see a few pitches and see what he’s got.”
With his two singles tonight, Edman has hit safely in his last three games and is batting .421 (8-19) since making his MLB debut on June 8th.
“He’s just been sound,” Shildt complimented. “He’s taking good at-bats, both sides of the plate. Made his plays the times he’s gotten to play defensively. Been really smart and aggressive and uses his speed on the bases. Seems like a nice player and see more of him.”
Besides third base, Edman is a natural shortstop and can also play second base which allows the Cardinals some flexibility in finding him more at-bats.
“Yeah, I think we’re looking at that,” Shildt said. “We talk about it a lot, we’ve got a lot of players that we have confidence in that are historically everyday caliber players. Tommy’s getting an opportunity to create more value for himself. We want to stick with the guys who’ve done it and the guys we had planned on doing it, we also want to be smart about creating opportunities for guys that are earning it as well.”
Asked if this was a scheduled day off for Carpenter or more of a mental break, Shildt responded with a focus on his rookie.
“It’s an opportunity for Tommy Edman to play, he’s earned it.”
300 For WAINO
–Tonight’s game marked the 300th career start for Adam Wainwright, who was unaware of the milestone until afterwards.
“Is that what it was?,” he responded. “Early on, my first pitch, I had a beautiful ball with great seams and (Yadi) threw it out. I was like what did you do that for? I really liked that ball. Now I know. Okay. Now it makes more sense.”
Wainwright joins Bob Gibson, Bob Forsch, Jesse Haines, and Bill Doak as the only five pitchers in Cardinals history with 300 starts.
“That’s good company,” Wainwright said. “Some great role models here, some great pitchers here. It’s an honor to me to play baseball this long, for one thing, to get that many starts. I hate having to miss two seasons in my prime, although I feel like I’m coming back into my prime. Missing those two seasons hurt–it hurt our team and it hurt me. Well, I guess the one year it didn’t hurt our team. We won the World Series. Maybe it helped the team (smiles). But I would like to have those years back, but other than that, if you play a long time–I tell these guys all the time, you can’t be an old player if you’re not a good player. I appreciate the chance to be able to pitch this long for the St.Louis Cardinals and get a lot of starts.”