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Cardinals vs. Pirates Recap: Holliday leads valiant comeback win, propels Cardinals to division lead

Matt Holliday doing work this labor day.

this was going to be a picture of matt holliday, but look how happy he looks!
this was going to be a picture of matt holliday, but look how happy he looks!
Dilip Vishwanat

pre game

The Cardinals enter the game tied with the Brewers for the lead in the NL central, despite their uninspired play of late. A win today coupled with a Brewers loss would put them in sole possession of first place. Lance Lynn has been on a run of good-to-great starts as of late, showing why he is perhaps the most "underrated"  member of the Cardinals pitching staff. The Cards will rely on him to face one of the game's toughest young pitchers, Gerrit Cole, a hard thrower who has spent some time on the DL this year, but has returned with a vengeance. In fact, Cole took a no-hitter deep into the game with eight strikeouts or so against our beloved Cardinals a mere five days ago.

Today's Lineups

Josh Harrison - 3B Jon Jay - CF
Andrew Lambo - RF Oscar Taveras - RF
Andrew McCutchen - CF Matt Holliday - LF
Neil Walker - 2B Matt Adams - 1B
Russell Martin - C Jhonny Peralta - SS
Ike Davis - 1B Yadier Molina - C
Starling Marte - LF Daniel Descalso - 3B
Jordy Mercer - SS Pete Kozma - 2B
Gerrit Cole - RHP Lance Lynn - RHP

Matt Carpenter isn't starting today because, according to The Broadcast, he has been "struggling" which is complete HOGWASH. Matt Carpenter has been on base eighteen times in the past ten games, with eleven walks, in forty-seven PA. That is a .383 OBP out of the lead off spot. I wished I struggled like Matt Carpenter.

Rant. Over.

Rant not over:
SERIOUSLY MATT CARPENTER SHOULD NEVER NOT BE IN THE LINE-UP. Break? He doesn't need a break. Look at his facial hair. If Cal Ripken Jr. can play ten-thousand games in a row without taking a day off, then Matthew Effing Carpenter can play, you know, like sixty or whatever it is.


I have been checking the site at various intervals throughout the day, wondering when the recap recounting the Cardinals glorious come-from-behind victory of the scalawags would be posted, and disappointed when my search turned up empty each time. "Who forgot to write the recap today?" I thought with dismay. Only until a short while ago did I think with great distress to check and see who it was.

The nincompoop was... well me. And now I must face the wrath of Finkel.

But it is better late than never, and with the Cardinals lately, that is proving to be true time and time again. This is like, their twentieth come from behind victory in the past week, I think. And it was a joy. Just a joy pure and simple.

Of course, you cannot have a comeback win without first getting behind and that they did as the Pirates smacked Lynn around for three runs right from the get. I was a little bit worried about how the day's events would continue, but Ser Lancelot really seemed to settle down a little bit from there. He  wasn't incredibly sharp having only stuck out three, and also walking three, but with the help of some nice defensive plays from Jon Jay and Pete Kozma, he was able to hang in there without much damage done.

Then of course there is the sheer force of will, the wild untamed he-beast, the specimen of man and forearms that is Matt Holliday. The man has been unstoppable lately. He is playing like a man possessed, sort of like Josey Wales after he joined the Missouri Bushwhackers to avenge the deaths of his wife and children and then becomes an outlaw and kills everyone. What is that now? 12 RBI in the past three games?

Holliday: Are you a pitcher?
Pitcher: A man's got to something for a livin'.
Holliday: Dyin' ain't much of a livin', boy.

Matt Holliday is terrifying and exciting, like that older guy you date in high school with the motorcycle that sits in the back of class and your father definitely doesn't approve of I mean what?

The disappointing part of the day was when Kevin Seigrist came in to hold the one run deficit, and then promptly surrendered a homer to Andrew McCutchen. I am not sure what has happened to poor Kevin, injury or otherwise, but I am worried about him, as that outcome was depressingly unsurprising. Pete Kozma (he's baaaack) and Kolten Wong teamed up to tie the game as Wong delivered the Cardinals first pinch hit dinger of the year. Matt Holliday rode in to save the day, giving the Cardinals a one-run lead that the tandem of Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal were able to hold on to without much trouble.

post game

Source: FanGraphs


According to win expectancy this should be Kolten Wong, whose pinch hit  two RBI homer lead to a .331 WPA, but without Matt the Elder's contributions, that hit maybe never happens and maybe this ruins the integrity of the award, but Matt Holliday is my player of the game darnnit. .258 WPA with three RBI and he washed the uniforms after with that nice fabric softener that everyone likes and smells good.

No tweet or gamethread comment today as I am already late with this. Sorry.

This game was just so much fun. Baseball is being fun again and guess what else!

The Brewers lost today, putting the Cardinals in sole possession of first place for the first time this season. Through everything, the Cardinals are where we had hoped they would be. The tough part will be holding on to this lead.

Adam Wainwright faces Jeff Locke, you know, Jeff Locke that has been so mediocre that a bookie crafted a story so convincing about him throwing games that the MLB was forced to investigate so let's please score runs off him, tomorrow at 7:15pm.

The Cardinals are no longer chasing. If they keep winning, they stay in the lead. Now is the time to push away in this marathon of a season.

Hope everyone had a happy Labor Day!