Cardinals trying for a big lead we hope
Though they're winning all the games, Pirates keeping afloat
Redbird fans are worried, every girl and boy
But when Lynn the pitching ace gets Ks
Everybody's gonna jump for joy
Fastballs go by, curveballs drop in
They can't hit nothing off the Mighty Lynn
Base hits go out, Cardinals come in
Let's do some scoring for the Mighty Lynn
The Cardinals entered today's game having won five of their last six, including a sweet-ass four-game sweep against the Diamondbacks. Yet during this stretch, they have gained exactly .5 games on Pittsburgh (pending the outcome of their game against Colorado, of course - which they are currently leading 3-0 in the first inning). It's a race to the top, and will make for some damn fine September baseball.
Onto today's game. Lance Lynn started against right-hander Ryan Vogelsong, who I did not realize is already 38 years old. Another interesting fact about Vogelsong: going into today's game, his season WHIP was exactly the same as his career WHIP. A 1.40 WHIP is not exactly impressive, but kudos for consistency. Both pitchers cruised along for the first four innings, allowing a walk or a hit here and there, but neither team did much on offense through the first four innings.
Brandon Moss led off the fifth inning with a triple - YES A TRIPLE - into the so-called "death valley" of right center field. Lynn followed with a swinging strikeout, but Matt Carpenter's base hit just past the secondbaseman Kelby Tomlinson (who, by the way, looks exactly like you would imagine someone named Kelby would)...
...scored Moss, and Stephen Piscotty followed with another base hit (more on his day in a bit). Jhonny Peralta hit a ground ball on the infield, but both runners advanced on the play. With runners on second and third and two out, Vogelsong walked Jason Heyward. That ended his night, and George Kontos came in to pitch in relief. With Yadier Molina at the plate, Kontos threw a wild pitch that got past the backup catcher Andrew Susac and allowed Carpenter to score and Piscotty and Heyward to advance. With runners on second and third again, Molina hit a line shot into right field, scoring them both. 4-0 Good Guys.
Lynn got into a bit of trouble in the bottom of the inning, allowing a walk, a double, and a single, but a key double play (one of three today) erased the walk and with two on, Lynn induced a ground ball to end the inning. Whew.
Things got scary in the eighth. Lynn was still pitching for some reason - he was at less than 100 pitches, but he seemed to be laboring a lot, and did not look particularly comfortable on the mound in the later innings. Do we have a tired bullpen? The FSM announcers surmised that Lynn needed to pitch deep in the game because Trevor Rosenthal is on paternity leave, but that makes no damn sense. Sam Tuivailala got the call up, so it's not as if the bullpen was short an arm. In any event, Lynn appeared to roll his ankle trying to field a ground ball from Juan Perez. After throwing to first, he fell down to the ground, where he stayed for what felt like eternity. Eventually, he walked off the field, with some help and a slight limp. His final line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K.
The Cardinals added insurance runs in the ninth inning after Piscotty's triple off the right field wall scored Marp, who had previously doubled. Piscotty later scored on a base hit by Heyward. Tuivailala closed it down in the bottom of the inning. Cards win 6-0.
1. Toward the end of the game, FSM announcers reported Lynn's injury to be a "mild right ankle sprain." That doesn't sound too bad, but we shall see. You know, it really sucks that Lynn was hurt fielding a ball. He's a pitcher; that's not even his job. This kind of thing is all the more reason why we need the designated fielder in the National League.
2. Stephen Piscotty got on base five times today, going 4-for-4 with a walk. Is this kid for real? He's probably not THIS good (that .415 BABIP should be a clue), but damn if he's not fun as hell to watch.
3. Kolten Wong tripled today, as well. Since coming back from his mini-benching, he's gone 6-for-20 (.300) with a triple and three doubles. We need him back on track for the playoffs, so hopefully this is a sign of good things to come.
4. Have you guys seen Joe Kelly's mustache? What is going on?
5. Jaime Garcia takes the mound against Chris Heston tomorrow at 3:05 CT. Jaime is still sporting a sub-2.00 ERA. He's not going to come anywhere close to having enough IP to qualify for the Cy Young, but right now, the only starter in baseball with a better ERA in at least 80 IP is Zack Greinke. Not bad company to have.