When is September baseball best? When it’s meaningful, of course. Or I guess when it’s hopelessly meaningless and all despair has gone out the window and you’re finally blissfully freeeeeee
But that doesn’t serve my point! My point is that baseball down the wire that still gives you a glimmer of hope that you can make a crazy 2011-esque run is really what we live for. And theoretically, against the unfortunate Reds (coming into today at 63-83) and pitcher Amir Garrett (who has been bad to the tune of -1.2 fWAR this year), the Cardinals had a golden opportunity to extend the possible meaningful timeframe of this season.
First inning: Matt Carpenter walks, water is wet, the earth continues to spin on its axis. Despite a Jose Martinez single, no runs would score.
Second inning: Reds struck first - after Scott Schebler doubled, a fielding error by Paul DeJong would allow him to score. The damage was limited to the single run, though.
Third inning: The Cardinals strike back. Tommy Pham walks! Paul DeJong walks! checks scorecard Yes, Paul DeJong walks! Tommy Pham steals second! Tommy Pham steals third! Paul DeJong steals second! Jose Martinez singles to drive them both in! Cardinals on top 2-1.
Fourth inning: Although he would allow a single to the sneaky good Eugenio Suarez (4.6 fWAR so far this year), Luke Weaver continued his sharp command - strikeouts, little loopy grounders, light contact made up the majority of the Reds’ batting against him.
Fifth inning: Matt Carpenter walks. Matt Carpenter knows nothing else. Matt Carpenter pities the foolish ballplayers who do not know the zen patience that washes over him when he enters the batters box. Matt Carpenter is one with the ball and his bat is one with his shoulder. AND THEN TOMMY PHAM DINGERS TO RIGHT CENTER. Matt Carpenter sighs - he alone appreciates the beautiful tranquility of the simple walk. The other guys are always going for the flashy stuff. Paul DeJong walks again. His walks for the day now make up 12.5% of his total walks for the season. Sensing blood in the water, Bryan Price pulls Amir Garrett from the game. Relief pitcher Patrick Kivlehan would give up a single to Harrison Bader, but would otherwise get three pop-outs. Cardinals increase the lead to 4-1.
*Tommy Pham is now the Cardinals first 20/20 player since Reggie Sanders in 2004*
Sixth inning: Weaver is removed for pinch hitter Kolten Wong, who would stay in the game.
Seventh inning: Tyler Lyons enters the game attractively. After walking Joey Votto, he would handsomely get 2 quick Ks. Adam Duvall would then double, but Harrison Bader’s excellent defense and throw would nail Votto at home, as Tyler Lyons looked on hotly.
Eighth inning: John Brebbia enters, gives up a single to Tucker Barnhardt but no runs. The Cards would tack on another run after a Bader walk, a Randal Grichuk single, an intentional walk to Kolten Wong, and a sac fly by Greg Garcia, who was surely wondering why the pitcher didn’t just hit him with the ball.
Ninth inning: Juan Nicasio enters (somewhat unexpectedly, as I was imagining he would be saved for the important series against the Cubs this weekend) and allows a run after a Votto double and a Schebler triple, but otherwise makes it through the inning. Cards win 5-2.
Cardinals play a heck of a critical series against the Cubs starting tomorrow at Wrigley.