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9.13.14 Rockies @ Cardinals Recap: Cards Eek Out a 5-4 Victory

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Another IHB recap, another Shelby Miller/Cardinals victory. You're welcome, America.

Hittin' doubles all day.
Hittin' doubles all day.
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

I get hit bad
But I will pitch again
You're never gonna keep me out
I get lit up
But I go out again
You're never gonna keep me down

Pitching the night away
Pitching the night away
He throws a curving ball
He throws a cutting ball
He throws a fast ball
He throws a faster ball
He pitches in a way that reminds us
Of the good times
He has the command that reminds us
Of the best times

Oh Shelby M, Shelby M

I had a really weird day today, you guys.  It started decent, then got terrible, then was awesome, then got bad again, and now I'm at home with a tallie vodka soda, and it's going alright again.  None of that matters too awful much, because the Cardinals won.  And yes, I'm THAT wrapped up in this team that a Cardinals win can honestly make a good day, even if it was going kind of awful before that.  I think this is the kind of fandom that the folks at Grantland hate.  But I digress...

The Game

So, you know that thing the Cardinals were doing in Cincinnati, where they weren't winning?  They stopped doing that.  I hope Matt Holliday has an oxygen mask on hand, because he's about to go up in flames.  He started the Cardinals' scoring with a solo home run in the bottom of the first inning.  Matt Carpenter followed up with another 2-run home run in the bottom of the second.  Turns out Shelby Miller was on base for that one, after ripping a double to left field that scored Pete Kozma, who was starting today because....why, exactly?  The Cards notched another run in the bottom of the 6th when Oscar Taveras singled in Yadier Molina, who also singled his way on base.

Shelby Miller looked good again today.  He struck out five, walked no one (HOORAY), and allowed only one run on five hits. That run, which came in the fourth inning, snapped Miller's scoreless streak at 17 2/3 innings.  At just over 80 pitches, Shelby probably could have stayed in the game longer, but Matheny pinch-hit Taveras for Miller in the bottom of the 6th inning.  At the time, it seemed like maybe we didn't need that fifth run, but, alas, we did.  More on that in a minute.  So, why has Shelby seemingly turned it around?  Is it Yadi's return?  Or the curve ball?  Or IHB good karma?  Or playing an injury-ridden-in-danger-of-losing-100-games Rockies team?  Unclear.  According to Brooks Baseball, Shelby threw 20 curves, 40 four-seam fastballs and 21 two-seams.  His fastball averaged 94 and topped out at 96.4.  FSM named him Player of the Game.  I'm not ready to pencil Miller into the post season rotation just yet, but I'll say this: Miller is on the upswing and Lackey is on the downswing - it seems, anyway.  I sort of feel more comfortable with Miller on the mound than Lackey, based on the last few outings from each.  With this one caveat: I want a Holliday-Bourjos-Jay outfield when Shelby starts!  Why is that too much to ask?!

I don't really want to talk about the 9th inning, but I will, briefly.  Sam Freeman walked Drew Stubbs to start the inning, and allowed a double to Matt McBride.  After the double, Pat Neshek came in and was just as shaky.  He gave up a single, a sac fly, and a double, but managed to get out of the inning with the lead.  (Incidentally, and regrettably, no one was warming in the bullpen while Neshek had his mini-meltdown.)  Somehow, we call that a save.

Additional Notes

1. The Cardinals built their lead in the central division tonight, with losses to the Pirates and the Brewers.  The Cardinals are now 3.5 games up on the Pirates, and 5 games up on the Brewers.  The Redbirds play a three-game series against the Brew Crew, starting Tuesday, but worst case scenario, the good guys will still have at least one game on them at the end of that series.

2. Pete Kozma, by the way, made a killer play at second base today.  I don't know if Kolten Wong would've or not.  I do know that I thought it was silly that Kozma was starting today, when Wong (in albeit a small sample size) has hit lefties BETTER than righties this season (116 wRC+ vs. 86 wRC+) and in his major league career (97 wRC+ vs. 76 wRC+).  I mean, maybe Matheny just wanted to give Kozma some playing time, and that's understandable, I guess.  It just happened to be a pretty bad idea in this particular circumstance.  If Wong sits against LHP in the playoffs, solely because he's facing a left-handed pitcher, this blogger will be disappointed.

3. Interesting play in the 9th on the Michael McKenry (I've not heard of half of this Rockies lineup, seriously) double.  McKenry's hit appeared to go into the stands, but actually hit off the State Farm sign, bounced over a section of seats - in out-of-play territory - and landed back on the field.  Having never seen a ball bounce that way, even Dan and Rick were confused.  The original double call stood, and the run scored from first.  Now we will know what to do in the extremely unlikely event that this sort of play happens again.

4. I was at a bar tonight where I encountered two men wearing Willie McGee and Jon Jay sherseys, respectively.  I made Jay Shersey pretty jealous when I told him I was at the 2011 World Series.  Was that any of you, VEB?

<a href="http://imgur.com/m9jq7YE"><img src="http://i.imgur.com/m9jq7YE.jpg?1" title="Hosted by imgur.com" /></a>

4. My apologies for the late recap.  It's hard to be sure that you have nothing else to do on Saturday nights.