Allen Craig gets nod as Kelly looks to repeat success

Allen Craig gets nod as Kelly looks to repeat success

Allen Craig gets nod as Kelly looks to repeat success

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by JJ Bailey / BaseballStL | @TheJJBailey

KMOV.com

Posted on July 25, 2014 at 2:47 PM

Updated Friday, Jul 25 at 4:07 PM

(BaseballStL) — Joe Kelly will make his third start Friday since returning from disabled list. His most recent start was a seven-inning gem that saw him surrender one run on five hits while striking out four. 

For that game, Kelly said he changed some things mechanically days before. The alterations seemed to serve him well, as he and George Kottaras were in synch enough to forgo signals early in innings.

“I went up to talk to George every single inning,” Kelly said after that start. “He didn’t have to give a sign for the first two pitches basically. Every leadoff hitter we had a plan and just went from there.”

Mike Matheny said the performance instilled confidence in the staff as well as Kelly, thoughconsistency will instill a lot more. 

“I think he’s also on edge knowing that Milwaukee game isn’t that far away,” Matheny said, referring to the July 11 start in which Kelly was battered in his return to action. He went just three innings while allowing six runs on seven hits. It was earlier than the club had planned on bringing him back, and the Brewers pounced all over the young starter.

The Cubs are one of the few teams Kelly has faced in 2014. On April 11, the 26-year-old went six innings without allowing any earned runs, sticking out three without any walks. 

Craig In Against Familiar Foe

Allen Craig joins Jhonny Peralta up in the order Friday, hitting fifth and playing right field. The Cardinals crammed three righties in the top five spots in the order, and are hoping history repeats itself against Travis Wood. 

Craig has hit .321 off the Chicago lefty in 28 at bats, hitting two bombs and driving in three runs. A familiar opponent should be a welcome sight for the St. Louis outfielder, who is hitting .242. on the year.

“[He’s] a guy that’s working to get it back. It happens to everybody. He hasn’t had it happen that much to him or that often, if ever to this degree,” Matheny said Friday before the game. “He’s in a fight to figure it out and get it right. He’s trying everything and we’re trying everything also. We’re just going to continue to work until we get it right.’

Despite the struggles to begin the year, Craig still boasts 44 RBIs, tied for second on the team.

“Just a couple of games ago we saw him off [Clayton] Kershaw,” Matheny said. “Real nice swing even though it was a foul ball, follows up with a double off the wall. It’s just a matter of, ‘ok how do I take some of that confidence and success and turn it into consistency?’”

TLR to the HOF

Tony La Russa heads into the Hall of Fame this weekend, entering as a manager alongside Bobby Cox and Joe Torre. 

His 2,728 victories are second all time, and 1,408 of those came as a manager of the Cardinals. He retired after winning the 2011 World Series, his second as St. Louis’ skipper and the franchise’s eleventh. 

“We knew we were in the midst of a Hall of Fame-caliber manager,” Matheny said of his predecessor. La Russa now works in the front office of the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, serving as the chief baseball officer. 

When asked if he thought the former manager was enjoying the new gig, Matheny said La Russa likely relishes getting his hands on responsibilities that can determine the outcome on the field. 

“He’s close to the vest. I think he’s enjoying not just being involved in the game but being involved with a team. Winning and losing where it means something,” he said

Lineup 

1) Matt Carpenter 3B

2) Jhonny Peralta SS

3) Matt Holliday LF

4) Matt Adams 1B

5) Allen Craig RF

6) Jon Jay CF

7) Mark Ellis 2B

8) Tony Cruz C

9) Joe Kelly P 

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