|ST. LOUIS CARDINALS||PITTSBURGH PIRATES|
|Matt Carpenter - 2B||Josh Harrison - 2B|
|Stephen Piscotty - RF||David Freese - 1B|
|Matt Adams - 1B||Andrew McCutchen - CF|
|Yadier Molina - C||Gregory Polanco - LF|
|Brandon Moss - LF||Jung Ho Kang - 3B|
|Randal Grichuk - CF||Matt Joyce - RF|
|Jhonny Peralta - 3B||Francisco Cervelli - C|
|Greg Garcia - SS||Jordy Mercer - SS|
|Mike Leake - RHP||Jameson Taillon - RHP|
The Cardinals have hit home runs in each of the last 25 games, which is quite a ridiculous record and shows what this team is all about. The 2016 Cardinals have several players even part time bench guys that will have around 20 home runs. And by several I mean a lot.
To give you an idea what this team is, since the All Star Break Randal Grichuk has hit 12 home runs. Jedd Gyorko has hit 19 home runs. And the rest of the team has hit over 50 home runs. During the month of August, the Cardinals hit nearly 50 home runs. Gyorko had 10 of those. Or more than 20% of the team's home run production.
Brandon Moss and Randal Grichuk hit 15 of the 46 dingers. During September the home runs have been pretty evenly distributed but the jaguar lamborghini ferrari guy leads all other plays with a home run every 3 days.
Yadier Molina comes close to Grichuk with a torrid September. One could go on and on about the Cardinals offense in 2016, its quirky bombast. But this is a recap. Of one game. The Pirates offense has been middling while the Cardinals are at the tops of the NL with the Cubs in team offense. A matching batting average disguises the real difference, power vs more patience. The Cubs are less aggressive and get on base more in 2016.
The Cardinals bring the shingles-ill Mike Leake who missed a start just in time to start the game once again for a dr. howl recap. Reminds me of the beginning of the season when I had to write about most Mike Leake starts. I respect the guy but he is just not too exciting unless he has perfect control, which he has been a disappointment in this year imo.
Mike Leake's walks are actually down quite a bit career-wise, but still not what one would like from a pitcher whose main attribute is as an innings eater. The Pirates started James Taillon on this night, a young pitcher who seems to actually be pretty good for a youngster. Probably a tad better than Mike Leake, so could be a good game.
That said, the sad reality for Pittsburgh fans (I want to visit there btw) is that their team has faded a bit in the playoff contention. They seem to be a .500 team this year, while the Giants and Cardinals are clearly favorites except that the Mets cannot seem to lose much lately, and their remaining schedule is one of the easiest. Which leaves teams like the Pirates and the Rockies as remote wishers.
What Happened Tonight
Matt Carpenter had a leadoff hit, surprise surprise! Stephen Piscotty, also got a hit. That guy also hits a lot. But Matt Adams was the one to get the RBI, giving the Cardinals the lead right away.
But Mike Leake gave up some runs. The Pirates produced. Polanco and Kang were the RBI guys. 2-1 Pirates after just one inning.
Grichuk was hit by the pitch in the 2nd inning. He got back at the Buccaneers by stealing a base from them. Randal at 2nd and Jhonny up at the plate. Good thing Grichuk stole that base because Peralta was due for a double. 2-2 tie game.
Carpenter was up and Peralta was at 2nd, so Matt had a chance to put the Cards ahead. It seems him at leadoff really is ideal, somehow. His batting average also goes up late in the game. But this time he ran into some luck of the not good kind and a line drive ricocheted off the pitcher's glove right over to the second baseman, who then had a short throw to get you out.
It was 2-2 after 2 and the Cardinals were up again. Matt Adams struck out. The Cardinals were retired quickly by Taillon. Ex-Cardinal David Freese lead off the Pirates third with a single to right field. 2016 McCutchen was up, looking half-assed. Rather than homering, he flied out to center field. Mike Leake reached 3 strikeouts after 3 IP.
Grichuk's speed got him a single in the 4th. Say what you will about the guy but that guy can sprint. Jhonny knocked Randal over to third this time, since there was no double or a steal. This brought Greg Garcia up, the shortstop tonight. He did his on base thing and the bases were loaded.
Mike Leake then had a chance to show off his hitting abilities. A career 2 for 8 hitter with the bases loaded proved that he could do it, but would he? He tried to bunt a couple times, which I was confused by. He ended up grounding out but he looked like he beat out a called double play. It was very close though.
It ended up not being challenged because it looked like it wouldn't be overturned, if nothing else because it was so damn close.
Pittsburgh somehow got ahead when I wasn't looking but that's how Leakes are and the Cardinals were at bat again. Carpenter lead off by working the count full but then pop flying out. Piscotty had a chance but Taillon was actually pitching quite well tonight by my estimation. Matt Adams tried to give it a go. He grounded out though.
Alex Reyes made his way into this game in the 5th inning. He was throwing 98 mph with seemingly little effort. No runs were scored against him.
In the 6th Yadier Molina jacked the sh*t out of the ball and it knocked off of right fielder Frazier's glove. Yadi has looked great in the 2nd half of the season. Probably just to spite me for doubting him playing so many games. It was a double.
The reliever was Williams for the Pirates. The hitter was Grichuk for the Cardinals, and Randal hit a rope even though the ball had run in to the small part of the bat, which knocked in Molina! Tie game again.
Alex Reyes is so good, everyone. If you haven't seen him pitch yet, that is. If you have, you already knew that. He hit 100mph with ease against the Pirates in the 6th. This is important because he also has a wicked breaking pitch. And can throw a changeup.
Alex Reyes just carved up the Pirates in the 6th. For real. On to the 7th.
He did so well that he got to hit in the 7th inning too. This inning evolved into a Carpenter at 2nd base situation. But it remained tied.
McCutchen vs Reyes! Old vs New. The new guy got the out. And another out against the young guy. Reyes cannot be stopped is my prediction. He is a runaway train and must be in the playoff picture.
Yadier Molina is an unstoppable force. He is back big time. Another double. The Mossman was then seen. He was not a factor tonight. Yadi was advanced to third. The leadoff Yadier double was wasted because Peralta failed.
Again, I am impressed by the sheer audacity of the Alex Reyes breaking ball. It gives a new dimension to the world. A world of easy speed on fastballs. And that world is delightful. But the force that is Jung Ho Kang at the moment is rather unstoppable. The guy has been tearing the cover off the ball lately. Even against good pitching.
Perhaps the weirdest moment of the game was seeing the 2 gigantic creatures Alex Reyes and Matt Adams doing breakdancing style moves to complete an out. Reyes looked surprisingly agile stopping a well hit ball with a spin move which was then thrown in Adams' direction and Matt did some crazy stop move catch thing that just completed the play with mad big illusion.
Reyes looked as good tonight as he has at any point and I hope he pitches in the playoffs quite a bit.
The Pirates were up 4-3 though. I must have been drinking the koolaid. With Alex Reyes, the koolaid sells itself though. He is just fun to watch. He threw a 90mph changeup down the middle that somehow looked unhittable.
In the 9th Gyorko almost hit it out but got under it a bit, which is sad because that dinger would've tied it. Matt Carpenter then did the same on first pitch and the Cardinals lost tonight by a run.
Game Thread Moments
We got post shingles Leake.
He gives up shingles without H’s.
1 pitch outs are nice
Watching the game from Oregon.
Watching the game from Oregon.
+Jung Ho Kang is apparently good at leading an offense sometimes
+Kang should be mentioned again because he is the supervillain
+But really, Kang had a rare .300+ WPA this game, he really hated our favorite team tonight
+Gregory Polanco wouldn't let this one go either
+ex-Cardinal David Freese had himself a night on offense, 2 for 4 with a run scored
+Pirates pitching in general was quite good tonight
-dooming in the gamethread over 2 runs at the beginning of the game, come on now
-ok, they were right for this night but still
-Mike Leake, gross
-Brandon Moss 0 for 4 quite bad
-Mike Leake was up in high leverage situations on offense and could have won himself the game probably, but he didn't
-Andrew McCutchen remains entranced in quite a slump
-Mike Matheny is no fun
In between: Jhonny Peralta was striking out and getting key hits and I'm not sure if he could have helped more but aaaaaaaaaaaaa. Cards lost this one. The strikezone was also a bit inconsistent so make of this what you will.