He looked more like the John Smoltz from the Atlanta Braves than the Smoltz from Boston who’s ERA was over eight when he was released.  Smoltz, in his Cardinals’ debut struck out nine including seven in a row over five innings in St. Louis’ 5-0 win over San Diego.

Smoltz had enough on his fastball and its obvious his splitter and slider and still incredible.  This is a great sign for the Cardinals.  Smoltz is certainly another starting arm to help down the stretch run.  While the Cardinals don’t need Smoltz to get them over the top, what he was going to provide was another proven starter that in turn would actually help bolster up the bullpen.  However, with the groin injury to Kyle Lohse which will set him back a couple of weeks, the addition of Smoltz becomes even bigger.  Smoltz is now the number four starter for a couple of weeks and once they get Lohse back, Tony LaRussa will be able to expand the roster and bullpen if needed. 

A four run second inning provided a nice cushion for as Ryan Ludwick drove in two runs to support Smoltz.  Albert Pujols added his 40 th home run in the fourth.  As Smoltz builds up his arm strength, he’ll be able to pitch deeper in games as he went just five innings throwing 75 pitches.