If you have ever ridden the Screaming Eagle at Six Flags in St Louis, then you can relate to the season the Cardinals have had, and nothing has exemplified this more than this past week. Start with an outstanding series vs. the Reds to follow it up with blowing a series vs. the Brewers. Here is how it went down.
Game 1, August 30 @ Cincinnati, Cardinals 3 Reds 1
The Cardinals entered play 3.5 games behind the Cincinnati Reds for the second Wild Card slot. They sent Jon Lester to the mound to find improvement after the 2-2 start to their road trip. Lester would pitch strong six innings, and the Cards would give him enough offensive support to get the win.
Lester would go 6 1/3 innings, giving up one run on one hit. He walked two and struck out five to get his fifth win. He was followed to the mound by; TJ. McFarland 1 1/3 innings, giving no runs on one hit, striking out one, Louis Garcia for 1/3 of an inning Giovanny Gallegos would wrap up the game, going one inning striking out one for his third save.
The Cardinals only managed eight hits producing three runs grabbing the lead in the first, and never letting go of it.
Paul Goldschmidt drove a home run to Right Field in the first inning with a man on first.
Kyle Farmer would lead off the Reds second inning with a home run.
Tyler O'Neill would drive home a run on a fielder's choice. In the eighth, the Reds would threaten with two outs when Johnathan India reached an error by Nolan Arenado. Garcia would get a fly-out to end the inning.
-The win started the week off right at 1-0 and gave them a 67-63 overall mark.
Garcia - His scoreless streak has reached 19 1/3 innings in that time, spanning 16 games opponents are hitting .134/.171/.179
Goldschmidt - In August 26 games .350/.402/.602 9 doubles 5 home runs 24 RBIs.
McFarland did not allow a run the entire month of August 15 games 15 1/3 innings opponents hitting .189/.232/.245
Wainwright - The month of August 6 games 5-1 with a 1.43 ERA, a 6-1 Strikeout to Walk ratio, a 0.795 WHIP
Sosa - .364/453/.618 2-2B, 3-3B, 2-HR 10 RBIs for August.
Game 2, August 31 @ Cincinnati, was rained out and played as a doubleheader the next day.
September 1, 1st game 7 innings Cardinals 5 - Reds 4
Miles Mikolas started but could only go three innings. The bullpen came to shut down the Reds attack. The Cardinal offense then chipped away to take the lead.
Mikolas had a solid three-up, three-down inning in the first. He started having issues in the second, giving up three Reds runs in that inning.
Mikolas official line 3IP, 5H, 4R, 1BB, 3SO.
Genesis Cabrera came in and held the Reds scoreless for two innings. He did give up three hits but struck out two and non-walks.
Louis Garcia pitched yet ANOTHER scoreless inning, and Giovanny Gallegos did the same to get his fourth save.
Offensively, St Louis took the early lead fought back, catching the pulling ahead in the fourth. They banged out 14 hits. Harrison Bader was 3-4. Paul Goldschmidt, Tyler O'Neill, and Dylan Carlson each had two hits.
The Cardinals opened up the scoring with a solo home run by Goldschmidt to make it 1-0.
In the second, they would add a run When Bader would hit a solo shot to put St Louis up 2-0.
The Reds roared back in the second.
After a lead-off walk, a flyout, and an infield single, Tucker Barnhart took the first pitch from Mikolas to left-center field for a single, making it 2-1 Cards. Then with two out, pitcher Wade Miley helped himself with a double to left field, scoring two and giving the Reds a 3-2 lead.
The Cardinals tied the game in the top of the third on a sac fly by Edmundo Sosa.
Joey Votto doubled home a run in the bottom half of the inning, making it 4-3 Cincinnati.
That lasted until the top of the fourth When Goldschmidt hit his second home run of the game, a two-run shot to give him 24 for the year and ultimately the Cardinals a 5-4 win. The win puts the mark for the week at 2-0 and an overall 68-63.
Bader - His three-hit day was his first multi-hit game since August 19 and his 13th multi-hit game of the year.
Mikolas - In three games since returning from the IL, he has yet to make it past 4 innings.
Game 3 (2nd game of doubleheader) September 1, @ Cincinnati Reds 12 - Cardinals 2
The Cardinal pitching staff could do very little to keep the Reds from scoring and scoring often.
The Redbirds would use 6 pitchers, and only Kodi Whitley and Alex Reyes escaped unscathed.
In the first inning, JA Happ gave up two runs the first even though he gave up 2 walks, 2 doubles, and a home run. He would pitch in the second and not record an out—his official line 1IP, 8H, 7R, 2BB, 0SO. As mentioned, the relief was not much better. The Cardinals would use three pitchers in the second inning.
Junior Fernandez 1/3IP, 1H, 2R, 2BB, 1SO.
Daniel Ponce deLeone 1 1/3IP, 1H, 2R, 4BB, SO
Kodi Whitley did stop the bleeding 1 1/3IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1SO.
Brandon Dickson 1IP, 1H, 1R, 1BB, 1SO
Alex Reyes 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 3SO
The Cardinals got a pair of home runs against Sonny Gray, but that was about it has. The Reds exploded with 12 hits were granted seven walks and two Cardinal errors. Tommy Edman led off the game with a home run to give the Cardinals the only lead they would have at 1-0.
The Reds got two runs on a Nick Castellanos two-run shot. They were lucky it was only two as Happ gave up two doubles and two walks beside the home run giving the Reds the 2-1 lead.
In the second inning, the reds struck and struck big. Happ gave up three straight singles and then a Grand Slam home run to Castellanos, his second of the game. He would give up one more single before leaving the game. Fernandez got the first batter he faced, then gave up a two-run home run to Kyle Farmer. He walked the next batter, then gave up an RBI double to Delino DeShields, who would reach third base on a Paul DeJong throwing error, increasing the lead to 9-1.
In the third, Farmer would drive in a run with a sac fly. DeShields would go in another run with a single he would get to second on a Nolan Arenado error making the score 11-1. Arenado would homer in the fourth, making it 11-2. Eugenio Suarez homered in the fifth to make it 12-2.
The loss drops the Cards to 2-1 for the week and 68-64 overall.
Arenado - Now has 27 home runs and 85 RBIs for the year.
Game 4, September 3 @ Milwaukee Cardinals 15 - Brewers 4
The Cardinals were drummed over the head in the second game vs. Cincinnati. They took out their frustrations two days later on the division-leading Milwaukee. Of course, it doesn't hurt to have the old number 50 on the mound. Tyler O'Neill, Nolan Arenado, Yadier Molina, and Harrison Bader had multiple-RBI games in the St Louis bombardment.
Adam Wainwright did struggle in this one needing 105 pitches to go 6 1/3
But he only allowed two runs, ONE earned on four hits. He walked three and struck out four. Even though he only had a couple of long counts at-bats in the first six innings, it was the seventh that would be rough. TJ McFarland finished the Seventh 2/3IP, surrendering one hit. Two runs would score, but one was unearned, and one was charged to Wainwright. Kodi Whitley pitched the eighth no runs on no hits and no walks while striking out two.
Brandon Dickson would pitch the ninth, giving up 2 runs on four hits.
The offense was the story. The Cardinals would pound out 12 hits, including six home runs.
Molina would go 1-4 with two runs scored and four RBIs. Bader was 3 for 5 with 3 RBIs. St. Louis got home runs by Arenado(2), Bader, Molina, O'Neil, and Edmundo Sosa.
It all started with a two-run home run by Arenado in the first. In the second, Wainwright helped his cause with an RBI single. Tommy Edman would then drive home a run with an RBI on a fielder's choice, scoring 4-0.
In the Third inning, Arenado hit his second home run, a solo shot. Later in the inning, Bader would smack a three-shot to put the Redbirds up 8-0
In the seventh, O'Neill would hit a two-run homer to make it 10-0
The Brewers would answer back in the seventh Rowdy Tellez reached on a fielder's choice to drive in a run. A throwing error by Edman put runners at second and third. Lorenzo Cain would also move in a run with a fielder's choice. Cutting the lead to 10-2.
In the 9th, Molina would hit a Grand slam to make the score 14-2. That would be followed by a solo home run by Edmundo Sosa, making the score 15-2
The Brewers would get two more on a Luis Urias double and a Tellez ground out to get to the final score of 15-4.
The win makes the birds 3-1 for the week and 69-64 overall. The Cardinals closed to 2.5 games behind the Padres for the second Wild Card and 1.5 games behind the Reds.
Wainwright and Molina - This was their 300 game together as a starting battery.
Wainwright - Has 10 straight starts of 6 plus innings. And THREE wins in a row. The Cardinals are 8-2 in those 10 starts. Waino is 7-1 in those 10 starts.
Bader - It was the 5th time he has had 3 hits in a game this year.
Whitley - Since returning from the IL 3G, 3 1/3IP, 2H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 3SO
McFarland - Now has 16 scoreless innings pitched.
Arenado - 29HRs 88RBIs
Molina - Second game this year with 4RBI
Game 5 September 4, @Milwaukee, Brewers 4 - Cardinals 0
I was talking roller coaster 15 runs one night, none the next. This season, it has been somewhat familiar with St Louis that the offense is lacking the next after a huge game. This would be the 9th time this year the birds have shut out. And the 3rd time after a big win the game before.
Kwang Hyun Kim Started the game for St Louis and could not make it out of the second inning Giving up four runs on seven hits, walking one, and striking out one.
Jake Woodford would come in and finish the second inning and then pitch FIVE more, Surrendering only two hits, NO walks, NO runs, and striking out five. It was his first game since coming back from Memphis. Alex Reyes pitched the eighth No hits, no runs, no walks, and 1 Strikeout.
The Cardinal bats could do nothing with Adrian Houser, the Milwaukee hurler. The 28 yr old pitched a complete game 3three hit shutout walking no one and striking out seven.
Tommy Edman managed two of the three Cardinal hits and was the only offensive bright spot. The loss dropped the Cards to 3-2 for the week and 69-65 overall.
Edman - Has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games.
Game 6 September 5, @ Milwaukee, Brewers 6- Cardinals 5
Tyler O'Neil and Harrison Bader would push the Cardinals to a lead, and Jon Lester turned in a good 5 1/3 inning performance, but it was all for naught as the Bullpen could not hold the lead in the ninth.
Lester would try for a repeat performance of his game earlier in the week vs. the Reds. He fell an inning short and gave up five more hits but allowed the same amount of runs.
5 1/3IP, 6H, 1R, 2BB, 2SO
TJ McFarland would add to his scoreless streak by 2/3 of an inning 2/3IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0SO
Louis Garcia would extend his scoreless streak by an inning. 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1SO.
The issues would start in the eighth with
Genesis Cabrera 1/3IP, 1H, 0R, 2BB, 1SO.
Giovanny Gallegos would get two outs in the eighth but falter in the ninth, allowing the Brewers to tie the score, 1IP, 3H, 4R, 1BB, 2SO.
Alex Reyes would come in and give up a walk-off home run, 0IP, 1H,1R, 0BB, 0SO.
The Cardinals had 12 hits and were given seven walks but left 13 runners on base.
Pablo Reyes started the scoring in the second inning with a solo home run. They give the Brewers an early 1-0 lead.
In the fourth, Edmundo Sosa would drive home the first St Louis run with a sac fly. Later in the inning, Bader would double home two ore to give St Louis the lead 3-1. In the 7th inning, O'Neill would hit a two-run homer one of his three hits. It would give the Cardinals a four-run cushion (5-1)
Reyes came in to face Daniel Vogelbach, who would hit a walk-off GRAND SLAM! The loss made the birds .500 for the week 3-3 (after starting 2-1). It would also drop them to 69-66 for the year.
McFarland - 16 2/3 inning scoreless streak.
Lester - Last three games 1-0 16 2/3IP, 14H, 3R, 3ER, 6BB, 11SO
Garcia - Last 18 games 21 1/3IP, 11H, 0R, 0ER, 3BB, 21SO, 0.00ER, 0.657WHIP, Opponents hitting .147/.179/.200
Carlson - Has hit safely in 6 of his last 8 games.
O'Neill - 8 games with 3 or more hits. 23 home runs and 54 RBIs
Bader - Last 5 games .421/.421/.789 2 home runs 6 RBIs.
Even after all of this, the Cardinals are still within striking distance of a wild card. But if they will make ANY run in the playoffs, they desperately need to find some consistency.
Thanks for reading until later.