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The Cardinals successful in another 1 run game because Final Boss!

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Stone Buddha took one for the team tonight and closed it down again for his 7th save of the season while Aledmys Diaz hit his 14th home run. Michael Wacha was just good enough and the bullpen was pretty great.

Rob Foldy/Getty Images

Lineups


ST. LOUIS CARDINALS MIAMI MARLINS
Jeremy Hazelbaker - CF Dee Gordon - 2B
Aledmys Diaz - SS Martin Prado - 3B
Stephen Piscotty - RF Christian Yelich - LF
Matt Holliday - LF Giancarlo Stanton - RF
Matt Adams - 1B Marcell Ozuna - CF
Jedd Gyorko - 3B J.T. Realmuto - C
Yadier Molina - C Derek Dietrich - 1B
Kolten Wong - 2B Adeiny Hechavarria - SS
Michael Wacha - RHP Jose Fernandez - RHP


Pregame

The Cardinals lineup had the misfortune of going up against Jose Fernandez tonight. Jose was rocking a 2.54 ERA before this game, a 2.07 FIP, 2.27 xFIP, and 2.55 SIERA. This guy is good. Right up there with Syndergaard (but not quite as unearthly as Kershaw's rate stats). He's among the best. To give you an idea, he IS the best at striking batters out with a 13.05 K/9 as a starting pitcher!

Wacha started for the Cardinals tonight. The good news is there is room for improvement: lower the walk rate Michael! He seems to be trending in the right direction overall, so here's hoping his luck improves on balls batted into play... he's already pretty lucky by home runs and xFIP.

The Cardinals and Marlins are remarkably similar teams by fWAR, and this is a good rematch for the recent series that happened. The Cardinals play great on the road so maybe this is what the dr. ordered.

It should be noted that the 2 teams derive their positional fWAR totals in the opposite way: the Cardinals are an offense-heavy team, one of the best this year, and the Marlins are a defensive juggernaut by UZR. Well, not Cubs or Giants level of UZR approval, but 3rd best anyway. A defensive bronze!

The Cardinals are tied with the Nationals for most home runs in the NL. They are #1 in the National League in ISO and 2nd only to the Red Sox in the isolated power dept. The Cardinals still have room to improve in the offensive area since they have a .295 team BABIP. Cardinals 513, Marlins 425 on the season in runs scored.


What Happened

After 2 innings, it was a pitcher's duel. Wacha only gave up 1 hit. By the 3rd, Hazelbaker was leading off and he got on base by walking. Then, next thing you know, Aledmys Diaz was hitting his 14th home run off the formidable Fernandez. Wow! I really hope Diaz is Rookie of the Year.

Fernandez snapped right out of it and struck out Piscotty, making him look real bad chasing a ball moving out of the zone away from him. Stephen was pissed. But hey! Matt Holliday sneaked an oppo-field home run out of the park for the second home run of the inning off the Marlins ace! Wow again! 3 to zero Cards. You throw it hard, they're gonna hit it hard sometimes.

Wacha was maybe not quite as good as a one hitter tonight, but he was still getting the job done and not allowing runs. In the 5th, the Cards broke through again with a leadoff triple by Hazelbaker. Aledmys Diaz was up, and he progressed his legend by hitting a double off of Jose Fernandez. He kind of altered his swing, gave it a backhand type motion while still getting ahead of the ball, which put it well into left field allowing Jeremy Hazelbaker to score.

Matt Adams singled later and drove in Aledmys making it 5-0. The Cardinals offense appeared focused and disciplined tonight.

It was the 6th inning when the Marlins finally broke through to score a run off of Wacha. Martin Prado then proceeded to hit a 2 run home run. Michael was not looking so great by this point. He was cruising through the lineup pretty quickly most of the game, but the 6th was no fun. 5-3 Cards.

Broxton was brought in during the 7th after exactly 6 innings pitched for Wacha. With one out, Realmuto got a single to get things started. Then Ichiro Suzuki doubled! Ichiro is oddly having one of his best seasons in his career hitting-wise. 16 years of MLB. Anyways, there is plenty to talk about there, so I'll leave that for someone else. Adeiny Hechavarria ended up with the RBI since Realmuto didn't score.

Then it was the 8th and Siegrist was brought in to shut down the opposition, since it was another close game at 5-4. While Kevin did give up a double, he also induced a double play. Dee Gordon grounded out to start the inning to Diaz who had made a somewhat dazzling play I might add.

The Cardinals left it to Final Boss again, not padding the lead and not coming up with any better options out of the bullpen. It was his 3rd night in a row and he's been used pretty frequently over the past week. But you know how Matheny is with bullpens... unexplainable?

Despite taking a line drive off his stone buttha and not getting that hitter out, he got Giancarlo Stanton out, and then lucked into taking another line drive off the glove but this time it went straight into a double play instead of it becoming a hit. Another close for the Final Boss, that guy has been busy but effective! Cards win 5-4!

+Pluses+

  • Seung Hwan Oh's 7th save after taking over the closer's role and he is now at 1.69 ERA
  • Aledmys Diaz's 14th home run puts him at .210 ISO
  • Diaz is at 139 wRC+ after tonight
  • Kevin Siegrist had a great appearance
  • Wacha only gave up 4 hits total but it resulted in 3 runs over 6IP, which is not great but good enough
  • the defense was pretty solid tonight
  • Diaz home run!
  • Holliday's weird solo opposite field home run
  • Ichiro Suzuki
  • Martin Prado had a high WPA and a home run
  • Pretty great strikezone calling tonight

-Minuses-

  • terrible night for Jose Fernandez by WPA, or by any measure really, 5 earned runs against him
  • seemed pretty risky pitching Seung Hwan Oh three times in a row, bad bullpen management, but it worked i guess. what will be very negative is the bruise from the line drive off the butt!
  • I noticed that Siegrist seems like he could regress because his FIP and xFIP are way out of whack
  • J.T. Realmuto was super unclutch tonight, he probably coulda won it for the Marlins but he got his 1 hit at the wrong time
  • Christian Yelich was arguably just as bad for the Marlins offense though
  • The umpire overturned a balk for some reason, himself not even knowing why he did it

Trivia

the Cardinals have 3 players tied with 14 home runs, can you guess who they are?

Graph


Source: FanGraphs

The Cardinals go at it again tomorrow at 6:10pm, with Leake taking on Urena! Hopefully they won't need their Final Boss again. Leake Urena! Tomorrow!