First off, Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day, and Happy Steel Day.
Tonight, I turned on the game right when Randal Grichuk homered, and that felt really good. Next thing you know, Matt Holliday was smacking one out of the park too. And that was all the offense the Cardinals could muster, while it was also all they would need for the win. The washboard forearms won the game, since the Reds offense basically sucks and the Cardinals pitching is pretty good.
John Lackey got a do-over from his last outing, which was also vs. the Reds (where he got kicked out of the game by a very anal umpire)... He was good enough, although he tormented some of the gamethreaders with a not so great performance; but against this Reds lineup, he was successful. The salty bulldog persevered.
As did the bullpen, even though Rosenhausen also taunted us with a not-so-great outing. He ended up with runners on first and third. But the hand of Mike Matheny intervened, bringing in Mr. Choate to save the day, and Seth Maness was deployed as well. Mathenaging the bullpen worked tonight. A welcome change from the frustration.
Despite Lackey's relatively unimpressive outing, he had a lot of leverage on this game by WPA. He did not walk anybody, and had 5 strikeouts. Randy Choate threw water on the fire, with a ridiculous amount of win probability added for just one out. Seth Maness also made big splashes with his one out. Rosenthal, meanwhile, created the heroic opportunities with a lot of negative win prob.
Holliday was the biggest force for the Cardinals offense, continuing his torrid September. A home run, 2 hits and a walk. His July was actually the best month, and August too; September he's "only" at 140 wRC+ (topped out at 150 in July, and nearly that in August). He remains "Second Half Matt" this year: first half he was at 120 wRC+ and 2nd half he's at 148! The Reds pitching did not have a whole lot of effect on the loss, it was mainly because Ludwick and Bruce did not pull through for their offense.
In the field, I saw Jon Jay make two spectacular plays in center field. And Kozma made a superb play to help Sam Freeman. This team's defense is very fun to watch and is probably its greatest strength.