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Seung Hwan Oh and the Cardinals get a second chance and win it!

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Not really a totally similar game as the night before, a little more sloppy, but same score going into the 9th at 5-4... this time the Cardinals locked it down with a Final Boss close! That's a winner!

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Lineups

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS CINCINNATI REDS
Tommy Pham - CF Tyler Holt - CF
Jedd Gyorko - 3B Eugenio Suarez - 3B
Stephen Piscotty - RF Joey Votto - 1B
Matt Holliday - LF Adam Duvall - LF
Brandon Moss - 1B Brandon Phillips - 2B
Jhonny Peralta - SS Scott Schebler - RF
Yadier Molina - C Ivan De Jesus - SS
Greg Garcia - 2B Tucker Barnhart - C
Michael Wacha - RHP Cody Reed - LHP


Pregame

Cody Reed is a very highly touted prospect according to the dynamic duo of Dan and Al, and took the mound tonight for the Reds. The projections systems don't really expect much of him though. Michael Wacha was the pitcher tonight at 4.20 SIERA. If you're a FIP man he's at 3.71. If you're old fashioned, his ERA is not real good so you probably don't like him much this year so far. He's probably going to be better than this going forward, but I'm not expecting a huge improvement. #4 starter probably.

The Reds offense has been among the worst in the majors, while the Cardinals are #1 in the NL! Strangely, they lead in ISO. Last year they had no power. Go figure... I guess adding a Gyorko, having healthy Moss, and home runs coming from a variety of other sources can make a big difference! They lead MLB in ISO at .190. Hard to believe but true. Reality is often stranger than fiction. But then again, it kind of makes sense because Mozeliak and the organization has been targeting line drive hitters... now that's powerful.

The Reds defense is probably a bit better than the Cardinals, we'll give them that.


What Happened

The Cardinals loaded the bases in the first inning against Reed! The returned cavalryman Brandon Moss was up. Last night he picked up right where he left off and hit a home run. Could he hit one with the bases loaded tonight? He got half the bases and hit a double and half the runs by knocking in 2 RBI. He just knocks the hell out of the ball.

The other returning Cardinals core member, Jhonny Peralta, had a chance with runners at 2nd and 3rd and one out. He didn't really do anything though. It almost looked like Holliday tried to punch the catcher as he was thrown out at the plate on a fielder's choice. Greg Garcia, however, provided the answer: he took the ball up the middle between the infielders and knocked in 2 runs!

In retaliation, the Reds were not quiet vs Wacha. Runners were at the corners with nobody out. Votto and his 16 game hitting streak was up. He extended the streak to 17 with a single and an RBI. Another run scored when Phillips chopped one into a possible double play that was not turned. Wacha was able to get through the inning with only 2 runs scored.

After the initial hijinks occurred, both pitchers settled in during the 2nd, 3rd and 4th innings. In the 5th, Stephen Piscotty hit a solo home run! His 15th of the year! 5-2 Cardinals. Next thing you know, the Reds were bouncing back again to answer the Cardinals runs in the same inning... well the first guy got a hit at least, a double to be exact. The first out was recorded because Gyorko seems to actually be a pretty capable third baseman. Barely threw him out on what looked like a swinging bunt of some sort. Well, in effect anyway.

So ok, they did not bounce back this time and Wacha was able to contain the double with no problem. Moving on to the 6th....

Piscotty dropped a sort of tough ball he should've caught, but made matters worse by throwing it sloppily at the third baseman. This resulted in the ball bouncing around in the stands and what was quite clearly fan interference, because they were fighting for the ball. The original call was a triple but Mike Matheny did good and challenged it and the call was reversed. Not sure why the umps didn't catch the fan interference which was quite blatant and obvious. This put the runner back on third.

But the villain that is Brandon Phillips got a hit and knocked in the guy on third base anyway, 5-3 Cards. The dangerous part was that there were no outs... but then something good happened and there were two outs because of a double play... well, what appeared to be. This was challenged as well and unfortunately Gyorko took his foot off the bag, which was also quite obvious. Maybe the umps were tired tonight? Only 1 out...

Ok, what really was just 1 out, and with a runner on second, Ivan De Jesus Jr. was up. What a name! Ok, I gotta admit, this was a pretty sloppy game now that I think about it. Rundowns, sloppy fielding, etc. Wacha is scary this year, going to have to agree with that. Another Reds hit. 5-4 Cards. This is shaping up like last night but more chaotic. Anyway, they redeemed themselves by actually turning a double play later in the inning.

Now that this game has driven me to drinking whiskey... the Cardinals are up again. Specifically Tommy Pham. He did not get on base. Neither did Gyorko. What a gyork. Piscotty was up again, another home run? Nope, he struck out looking. Good thing I busted out the whiskey.

Zach Duke is our new 7th inning hero it appears, and he did well again tonight. Mike sure does like to keep things simple sometimes. In the 8th inning, Siegrist was the guy to try and shut down the side. But a runner got on again, making things worrisome, being that it was a one run game. Then a wild pitch advanced the runner. The villainous Brandon Philips up again, but he flied out this time, thank you Brandon.

So this game was some kind of weird torture where the Cardinals were winning but it didn't seem that way. Much gnashing. Much wringing. Speaking of villains, Schebler was up with 2 outs, 2-2, man on 2nd. We got him this time though, with a Kevin Siegrist K!

The Cards offense went dormant again after the scoring, so more talk about the bullpen. Final Boss had another chance tonight, somewhat ironically with the same damn score, 5-4. Second chances are real, folks. Sometimes, the very next day! I am not totally on board yet with him as closer, but I think it could work. Especially with abnormal closers like Ryan Franklin and Jason Isringhausen in our past.

Still, this was a tense situation, even with 2 outs. Hamilton of course stole a base. Of course he would do that. 2-1 against Holt. Anything could've happened. Holt chased a bad pitch in the dirt! 2-2. The Final Boss, Stone Buddha, persevered and corrected the course, most thankfully. I am happy! Thank you Oh.

+Pluses+

  • Stone Buddha, now the Final Boss, was the deciding factor tonight, just as he was last night, and he made it a positive this time at .197 WPA
  • Brandon Moss was the offensive hero, 2-4, run scored, 2 RBI double!
  • Siegrist, Wacha, and Duke were all important factor
  • Let us not forget Greg Garcia who had 2 RBI tonight!
  • Piscotty home run
  • Duvall had a big hit for the Reds

-Minuses-

  • the Reds starter Reed did not do well (-.256 WPA is pretty bad guys)
  • Holt, Schebler, and Cabrera were very unclutch for the Reds
  • Jhonny Peralta 0 for 4!
  • Bowman gave up 3 hits and 2 runs in one inning... still not sold on that guy, even though he's not been bad at all this season
  • this game was compared to Requiem For a Dream by a commenter in the gamethread! we won tho lol!
  • sloppeh sloppeh game, umps got calls overturned on them

Graphs


Source: FanGraphs

Tight zone tonight. Cards might have actually been helped a bit tonight by the calling: https://twitter.com/CardinalsUmp

Cardinals go to 57-50. Grab that 2nd wild card spot, even though it's early August. Tune in next time which is actually quite soon, tomorrow morning (literally usually when I roll in to work around 11:30am!). Leake (3.72 SIERA) faces his original team, and Finnegan (5.26 SIERA) is his rival starter. Hopefully they will take the series as they should tomorrow!