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5.4 Cardinals vs. Cubs Recap: Cards comeback, this is what the best start in franchise history looks like

Weird game is weird.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

pre game

Cubs Lineup
Dexter Fowler 8
Chris Coghlan 7
Anthony Rizzo 3
Kris Bryant 5
Miguel Montero 2
Starlin Castro 6
Chris Denorfia 9
Travis Wood 1
Addison Russell 4

Cardinals Lineup
Jon Jay 8
Matt Carpenter 5
Matt Holliday 7
Jhonny Peralta 6
Mark Reynolds 3
Jason Heyward 9
Kolten Wong 4
Tony Cruz 2
Carlos Martinez 1


When the Cardinals signed Mark Reynolds this offseason, there were a few truths about him we held to be self evident: he would strike out, like, a lot; he would walk, like, fairly frequently; he would dinger, like, more than we are used to Cardinals dingering. He is very much a Three True Outcomes hitter, and very much unlike the Cardinals hitters of the present. In the first inning, this different type of hitter paid off in a very big way.

To say Carlos didn't have it tonight would probably be a colossal understatement. When the pitcher walks the first two batters of the game, and then goes on to walk the bases loaded an out later, it is probably safe to say he didn't have his best stuff. The Cubs made El Gallo pay for his mistakes and quickly put the Cardinals in a five run hole. This looked liked it would be a problem, especially with an incredibly taxed bullpen from the three-day extra-inning theatrics the series prior, and an already punchless lefty-heavy offense that was facing an adequate left-handed starter in Travis Wood. Baseball has a way of getting weird, though, and weird it got. After scoring only seven runs in the entire series the past weekend, the Cardinals would put up ten tonight, four coming off a no-doubter first inning grand slam by the Cardinals TTO hitter, Mark Reynolds.

From that moment on to about the seventh inning are sort of a blur. The Cardinals bats seemed to go quiet while the Cubs tacked on a few more runs. But even as the Cubs stretched their lead out to four runs, I couldn't help but think the Cardinals were going to make it interesting. Perhaps it was because of how well they have been playing to this point, or maybe it was because Wood's pitch count was high and the Cubs' bullpen has been leaky against the Cardinals in the past. Maybe it is just my optimistic outlook on life. Or maybe it was because the man that ran on the field and did a somersault on home plate gave me hope for a weird, twist ending. Either way, this game has the makings for a dramatic comeback. And in the seventh it happened.

After the man somersaulted on home plate in the sixth, the Cardinals were able to chip away with sacrifice flies from Wong and Peter Bourjos to make it a two-run game. This set up for a thrilling seventh inning that saw eight Cardinals bat. Reynolds would follow Holliday and Peralta singles with one of his true outcomes to load the bases with no outs. Holiday scored on a fielder's choice off the bat of Heyward and Peralta scored on Wong single. Heyward boldly advanced to third on the hit, drawing a throw that allowed Wong to advance to second. This prove to be crucial as Tony Cruz smacked a double down the third base line plating the pair and giving the Cards their first lead of the night.

Matt Belisle pitched a scoreless eighth and Seth Maness came in for the save in the ninth. He surrendered a solo shot to Russell, but held on for the team's seventh straight win to put the Cardinals at 19-6, the best start in franchise history.

Stray thoughts:

post game


Kolten Wong went 2-4 with two RBI and and one run scored for .351 WPA, but then Mark Reynolds hit a grand slam, going 2-3 with a walk, four RBI, two runs scored, and .329 WPA. Gotta go against my WPA rule and go with Reynolds. He hit a grand slam.

Source: FanGraphs

Tomorrow Tyler Lyons will make his first major league start of the season as he tries to step in for the injured Adam Wainwright. Opposing him will be Kyle Hendricks. First pitch is at 7:15pm CST.