Lance Lynn takes the mound in what well could be his last pitching appearance in a Cardinals uniform.
Unsurprisingly, the Cubs put out their B-team lineup tonight. Of the starting nine, only 3 (Alex Avila, Ian Happ, and Kyle Schwarber) have more than 300 ABs this season, and none will get enough PAs this season to qualify for the batting title.
(Also of note: the Cubs account got the game start time wrong)
First inning: after two pop-outs to start things off, Ian Happ hit a solo shot off Lance Lynn to give the Cubs an early 1-0 lead. The Cardinals were retired in order by Kyle Hendricks in the bottom half.
Second inning: Lance Lynn allows two more baserunners via a walk and a single, but no further runs score. Paul DeJong is the Cardinals first baserunners with a double to left field, but the Cardinals are unable to move him from second base.
Third inning: Carson Kelly nicely fields a bunt attempt by Leonys Martin, showing a nice flash of defensive potential. Otherwise, the inning is remarkably similar to the prior - a single and a walk, but no scoring. Bottom half featured Lance Lynn, batting right-handed and coming into the AB with a .057 average, hitting a single to left field. It would be a shame to waste such a rare unicorn of an event, and Tommy Pham responded by hitting a single to advance Lynn (very, very slowly and reluctantly) to third. A walk by Dexter Fowler would load the bases, but Hendricks would strike out Jose Martinez to end the threat.
Fourth inning: Kyle Hendricks keeps up his practice of striking Cardinals out (his 7th of the night), while the Cardinals keep up their practice of keeping runners off the basepaths at all costs, by having Jedd Gyorko make an out at second in a strike out-throw out double play.
Fifth inning: Two more baserunners for the Cubs (both on walks), but no additional scoring. Lynn would get no more chances to strand runners, however, as he was lifted in the bottom half for pinch hitter Randal Grichuk. Unfortunately, Kyle Hendricks still insists on striking people out (nine through 5 IP!), and the Cards were left still looking for their first run.
Sixth inning: Ryan Sherriff enters in relief of Lynn, prompting a long discussion of his tattoos, pitcher tattoos, and player tattoos by broadcasters Jim Edmonds and Dan McLaughlin. I don’t know. Sherriff allows a runner but gets out of the inning scoreless after a nice catch in left by Tommy Pham. Justin Grimm would replace Hendricks in the bottom half. Pham started things off with a single, followed by stolen base #25, and then advanced to third on a wild pitch. Dexter Fowler brought him home with a groundout to second base, putting the Cardinals on the board.
Seventh inning: Brett Cecil enters the game and puts the Cubs down in order. Grimm would also be replaced in favor of Dillon Maples, who would walk Stephen Piscotty but then strike out the next 3 Cardinal batters.
Eighth inning: Juan Nicasio becomes the fourth Cardinal pitcher of the game and also the fourth effective Cardinal pitcher of the game, giving up only a single. Tommy Pham would reach base again in the bottom of the 8th with a walk. However, in a reenactment of the previous inning, the next three Cardinals would strike out. This would make 15 Ks through 8 for the Cardinals (or 62.5% of their outs).
Ninth inning: New inning, new pitcher - this time, Sam Tuivailala, who managed three quick outs. The Cardinals are lackluster and go in order themselves.
Extra innings: Matt Carpenter gets aboard in the tenth, is replaced by pinch runner Harrison Bader (who gets caught stealing). The eleventh inning is the undoing - the withered, broken shell of Matt Bowman comes in and puts Kyle Schwarber aboard on his throwing error. A Taylor Davis double (first of his career, and yes, it’s the same guy from the video where he stares at the camera) would put the Cubs ahead for good. Paul DeJong would make his best effort to tie it up with a ball caught at the wall, but no luck - the game ends 2-1. And that officially marks the end of the dying gasps of the Cardinals playoff hopes.
Cardinals finish the season at home against the Brewers, starting tomorrow at 7:15.