Updated: Jun 6, 2021
After the debacle in San Diego, the Cards returned home, and first up was a two-game stint against the Pittsburg Pirates.
Game 1, 5/18 vs. Pittsburgh, Cardinals 5 Pirates 2
Nolan Arenado had a home run to help power the Cardinals to a victory, putting an end to their three-game losing streak.
The home run was his fourth in four days. He also had a single for his 13th multi-hit game.
For Arenado, the home run was his 10th, and with 5 HR on the road and 5 HR at home, he is putting to rest the idea that his career numbers have been Coors Field inflated. Along with his 10 HR and 27 RBI, he is slashing .307/.362/.583.
Tommy Edman had three singles and 2 RBI. Edmundo Sosa also had two hits and an RBI, While Dylan Carlson and Yadier Molina had multi-hit games.
John Gant went into the 6th inning for only the second time this year to get his third win. Gant went 5 1/3, giving up two runs on five hits. He struck out three and walked one. His ERA is now 2.04, but his 1.56 WHIP remains somewhat high. Genesis Cabrera, Giovanny Gallegos, and Alex Reyes took care of the rest, combining for one hit, three strikeouts, and no runs allowed. Reyes picked up the save and is 12-for-12 without a blown opportunity.
The Birds started the scoring with the Arenado 2-run home run in the first. An Edman single in the second inning plated two more runs. In the third inning, Edmundo Sosa doubled home the Cards’ final run. The Buckos were able to plate two in the 6th on a ground out by Gregory Polanco and an infield single by Erik Gonzalez. The Cards are 1-0 for the week and 24-18 overall.
Game 2 5/19 vs. Pittsburgh Cardinals 8 Pirates 5
Jack Flaherty notched his eighth win without a defeat, a feat that had not been done since 1985 when both John Tudor and Joaquin Andujar did it. It was also the first time a Cardinal pitcher has gone 8-0 in his first 9 starts since Bob Gibson in 1965. Flaherty went 6 innings allowing two runs on four hits. He walked for with 7 K’s.
Kodi Whitley allowed three runs without getting an out in the 7th inning. Tyler Webb came in and gave up two hits in 1/3 inning. Genesis Cabrera finished the 7th started the 8th inning. Ryan Helsley finished the eight and paved the way for the closer.
Then Mr. Automatic, Alex Reyes, came in and gave up only one hit while striking out three to notch his 13th save of the season. The Cardinals got 3 RBI from Tommy Edman and 2 RBI from Paul Goldschmidt. Dylan Carlson, Nolan Arenado, and Flaherty each added an RBI. Edman, Harrison Bader, and Edmundo Sosa each stole a base.
The Cards got on the board in the first on a Paul Goldschmidt RBI double. Then in the second inning, Jack Flaherty kept the scoring going with a sacrifice fly, giving him 3 RBI for the season. Edman then singled home two more runs. Goldschmidt got his second RBI on a single-center, followed by an RBI single by Nolan Arenado.
In the 5th l, after a Pirate home run by Gregory Polanco, Edman got his second RBI sac fly, and Dylan Carlson added another with a single to left-center. The Pirates finished the scoring when, after Kodi Whitley loaded the bases, Bryan Reynolds reached on a fielder’s choice, plating a run. Back-to-back Singles by Polanco and Ildemaro Vargas plated two more. The Cards sweep the two-game series, making it 2-0 for the week and 25-18 overall. They sit a full three games up on the Chicago Cubs. Up next is a weekend series with the baby bears.
Game 1 vs. Chicago 5/21 Cubs 13 Cardinals 3
This game marked the first time that the Chicago Cubs have visited St Louis since the final game of the 2019 season. It was also the return of Carlos Martinez from the IL. A crowd of 24,282 fans saw a pretty good game for seven innings. Then the wheels fell off the proverbial apple cart.
The Cubs opened the scoring on the first pitch of the game as Joc Pederson hit the 22nd leadoff home run of his career to right-center for the early 1-0 lead. After that, Carlos Martinez set down the next nine batters he faced. The Cubs added a run in the fifth with a Pederson sacrifice fly. They plated two more in the 7th on a rare Arenado throwing error, and a Kris Bryant double.
In the eighth inning, the floodgates were opened up. Kodi Whitley gave up a single and a walk. Another reached on a fielder’s choice, leaving the bases loaded with no one out. Tyler Webb came in and gave up a single and a walk leading to two runs. Seth Elledge faced five batters, getting two out thanks to his defense cutting down base runners. He did, however, give up 3 ER. All-in-all, the Cubs scored seven runs in the eighth.
The Cards tied the game 1-1 in the third on an Edman double. They tied it again in the sixth on a Goldschmidt single. The Cards would get their final run in the seventh on a Carlson single. Daniel Ponce de Leon pitched a scoreless ninth for St Louis. The loss made the Birds 2-1 for the week and 25-19 overall.
Game 2 5/22 vs. Chicago Cardinals 2 Cubs 1
Game two saw the return of Miles Mikolas to the St. Louis mound. It marked the first time since the Divisional series in 2019 that he had taken the mound. After a rough first inning, Miles gave up two hits and hit a batter leading to one run, retired six In a row. He got out of a sticky fourth inning only to have soreness in his forearm warming up for the fifth. Mikolas ended up giving one run on four hits, three strikeouts, and a walk. He would end up on the 10-day IL following the game.
For the Cubs, rookie pitcher Adbert Alzolay went seven innings, giving up two runs on five hits and striking out six. He didn’t walk a single batter. The Cubs run came in the first inning on a Javier Baez single.
The Cardinals tied it up in the fifth when Lane Thomas, who was playing right field for late scratch Dylan Carlson, hit a single to center field.
Meanwhile, Cardinal relievers Daniel Ponce de Leon, Genesis Cabrera, Giovanny Gallegos, and Alex Reyes provided five scoreless relief with eight strikeouts and only two walks.
Yadier Molina put the Cardinals on top to stay in the seventh, leading off the inning with his seventh gone run of the year. Alex Reyes picked up his 14th save in 14 save opportunities. The Cards ensured a positive outcome for the week with a 3-1 record and a 26-19 overall record.
Game 3 vs. Chicago 2 Cardinals 1 (10 innings)
I think Adam Wainwright could have case suing the St. Louis Cardinal offense for non-support. Adam has gone seven innings or more four times, allowing a minuscule total of three runs. The team is 1-3 in those games, and Wainwright's record is 1-1 with two no-decisions, both losses. Sunday was the most recent of those games as Adam went eight innings, allowing only a first-inning hit and a fourth-inning walk. He also struck out seven. He retired nine in a row after a Kris Bryant single before walking Willson Contreras. Waino then retired 14 in a row before giving way to Giovanny Gallegos in the ninth. Sunday's start was a complete 180-degree turnaround from his last start in San Diego, where he went only 4 innings with 8 hits and 6 runs. Gallegos pitched a scoreless 9th giving only a hit to Kris Bryant. Alex Reyes had Javier Baez down 0-1 in the count when Baez, with the "extra inning runner at second,” sent the next pitch 417 feet to center field for a home run. In the bottom half, the Redbirds could only manage one run on a Nolan Arenado sac fly. It was not like that was the only opportunity for St. Louis as, during the game, the Cards had six hits, four of which were doubles. They also had a golden opportunity in the seventh with the bases loaded and no outs. Tommy Edman hit into a fielder's choice with the outcoming at the plate. Paul Goldschmidt popped up to the catcher, and Arenado struck out. Six times the Cardinals left runners in scoring position with two outs. This loss had zero to do with the pitching and everything to do with timely hitting. The Cards did post a winning record for the week, going 3-2 and ending the week with a 26-20 record overall.
There were bright spots in the week.
*The Cardinals only walked 19 batters during the week as opposed to 40 walks the week before. That is not to say that 19 is a good number for seven days, but hopefully, it shows a trend in the right direction.
*Daniel Ponce de Leone came out of the pen on back-to-back days with 2.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2Ks.
*Edmundo Sosa has hit safely in his last five games, including 4 multi-hit games. He has hit .322/.457/.512 while scoring eight runs and driving in one.
*Nolan Arenado went 7-26 for the week with 3 HRs and 7 RBIs.
*Tommy Edman also owns a 5-game hitting streak.
*Carlos Martinez, in one start since coming off the IL, went six innings while giving up only two runs on four hits with one walk and two strikeouts. He did hit 3 batters.
Up next for the Cardinals
The Cards travel to the Southside of Chicago to face the White Sox Mon Tue and Wed. The White Sox under Tony La Russa are 26-19, just like St. Louis, and lead the AL Central. They have lost their last three games and are only 1-1 vs. the National League, but they are 14-8 at home. The Cards will go with Kwang Hyun Kim, Jack Flaherty, John Gant vs. Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito, and Carlos Rodon.
After that, they start a 7-game West Coast swing with four against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Diamondbacks are 18-30 and last place in the NL West. They face the Giants for two games before the Cardinals arrival. The scheduled pitching matchups are Seth Frankoff vs. Carlos Martinez on Thurs, Madison Bumgarner vs. Adam Wainwright on Fri, Taylor Widner vs. Kwang Hyun Kim Sat, and Riley Smith vs. Jack Flaherty Sun.
See you next week