On Wednesday, the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in game two of a day-night double header. The victory guaranteed a number of positive things for the Cards. First, and most importantly, it guaranteed an NL Central crown. It also was their 100th win, a total the Cardinals haven't reached since 2005 and nobody has reached since 2011. The win guaranteed a winning record against each of their NL Central rivals, as well as a winning record in September. The win also guaranteed that this weekend in Atlanta would be fairly meaningless for the Cardinals.
The Cards dropped game one of the series on Friday, and then a rainout on Saturday necessitated a double header to finish out the 162-game season on Sunday.
In game 161, Mike Matheny started out with what was more or less an "A" team lineup- it included an outfield of Jason Heyward in Center, flanked by Matt Holliday and Stephen Piscotty. The infield was what you'd expect, perhaps with the exception of Brandon Moss playing first. John Lackey took on Shelby Miller.
Game 162 featured a less-playoff-looking lineup. Both games, though, were spring-training feeling in the way Mike utilized his roster. Here are some highlights from the games:
Game 1 -
- John Lackey (game 1 starter) got his final tuneup going into postseason action. He threw four innings, giving up 3 runs on 5 hits with no walks and 4 strikeouts. It took him 59 pitches to get through the outing. His first inning was a little struggle for him - 2 runs on 3 hits, and then he gave up a solo homer to Adonis Garcia in the fourth.
- Gm 1 - Tyler Lyons relieved Lackey in game 1. He carried over some of the brilliance from his last appearance, but, in my opinion, was overexposed in his third inning, coming back just three days after an 80-something pitch start. He gave up a couple homers (including one to Adonis Garcia, his second of the game) in his three innings of work, allowing three runs on three hits, but he did rack up 6 strikeouts.
- Gm 1 - Adam Wainwright threw an inning after Lyons. He was downright Wainwright-ian, and left little doubt in my mind that he will be used in leverage situations late in playoff games. His three-pitch strikeout of Cameron Maybin was especially nasty, with back-to-back curveballs that carved him up.
- Gm 1 - Stephen Piscotty made his return to the field after his scary collision. Although he went 0-4, he put together encouraging at-bats and scorched the ball three different times.
- Gm 1 - In the fourth, with two on, Brandon Moss hit a fly ball out to the wall. It was caught, and Greg Garcia got doubled off with some serious bad baserunning. Brandon also ripped a pinch-hit double in game two, making his final bid for post-season roster consideration.
- Gm 1 - Old friend Shelby Miller entered this game with a 5-17 record with a 3.15 ERA and 3.47 FIP. He finished out his solid season by eclipsing 200 IP today. His weird streak of 24 win-less outings dating back to May 8 was broken today. He went 8 innings allowing three hits and three walks with seven strikeouts. He threw 110 pitches. Congratulations Shelby!
- Final Score - Braves 6, Cardinals 0
Game 2 -
- Lance Lynn (game 2 starter) had a fairly rough first inning. He gave up a run on two hits in that first, and he used 28 pitches to get through it. He did settle in nicely after that. I thought his command was much better than in recent outings. He ended up with 5 innings, 1 run, 7 hits, and two strikeouts.
- Gm 2 - Seth Maness and Steve Cishek turned in a couple innings of tune-up relief work. Seth allowed 1 hit, and Steve allowed a run on three singles.
- Gm 2 - Kevin Siegrist also got a final tune-up - his 81st appearance. He looked great, striking out two and allowing nothing in his inning of work. Jace Peterson put up a good fight with an 8-pitch at bat.
- Gm 2 - Matt Wisler was very good for the Braves during his game 2 start. He went 8 2/3, giving up no runs on four hits, with one walk and three strikeouts. He threw 102 pitches.
- Gm 2 - As good as Wisler was, he left the game with two runners on the corners and Randal Grichuk coming up. Old friend Edwin Jackson was tasked with collecting the final out of the season for the Braves. He did so, striking out Randal, and securing the sweep.
- Final score - Braves 2, Cardinals 0