Confession time: I forgot that I was supposed to write the recap today. I actually forgot there was even a baseball game. I mean, I knew that baseball games were being played, but in my mind, the Cardinals' season ended last week. I jumped on the Dbacks trolley, where I've had a half-foot planted most of the season, and I started to focus on Wednesday. Anyway, I'm telling you this only so you understand that I feel like a total jerk, because I missed an awesome game. And there is only one more left in this sometimes exhilarating, sometimes devastating, largely blah 2017 regular season.
I thought about where the Cardinals were on VEB day, only six weeks ago, having just won our eighth game in a row, tying the Cubs for first place in the Central division, and I wondered, what went wrong? I am sure our faithful commenters have some ideas, and I'm sure our talented writers will be dissecting this subject ad nauseam in the coming off season, so I will hold my thoughts on the subject for now. Suffice it to say, it was a disappointing season. The only thing that did not disappoint me, dear readers, was you. As always, I enjoyed writing for you during my fourth (!) season on the masthead. Thanks for reading, thanks for commenting, and thanks for not ribbing me too hard about my drunk rants.
And now, the game:
Luke Weaver took the mound in Game 161 today. He's been very good all season, a shining light and a hope of what the future might be. (I know some are down on this team, but one thing we should not worry too awful much about is the pitching. With Carlos Martinez at the helm, Luke Weaver and Jack Flaherty showing signs of MLB readiness, and Alex Reyes returning from Tommy John surgery next season, we have a lot to be excited about.) Unfortunately, Weaver struggled today, giving up six runs to the Brewers through two innings. The Brewers needed this win (and a Rockies loss, of course) to stay alive in the second wild card race. They came out swinging, and like a team that just might force that elusive Game 163. The Cardinals had other plans in mind.
In the bottom of the third inning, facing a 6-0 deficit, the Cardinals started chipping away with four runs of their own. With the bases loaded, Paul DeJong (another pleasant surprise this season) hit a bases-clearing double. Jose Martinez followed with a double of his own to score two more. 6-4 Brewers.
The teams were at a deadlock through the next four innings, until the Cardinals exploded for three more runs in the bottom of the eighth. Greg Garcia singled, and Tommy Pham walked (the same sequence that led to them both scoring in the third inning). DeJong grounded out, but Martinez walked to keep the threat going. With the bases loaded, Stephen Piscotty came through, hitting a single through the infield to score Garcia and Pham. Martinez was thrown out trying to take third, but Piscotty was able to take second on the throw. He was originally called out, but the call was overturned after the Cardinals challenged. That turned out to be a huge call, as Piscotty scored easily on a single by the next batter, Harrison Bader. 7-6 Cardinals.
Juan Nicasio allowed a two-out single in the ninth inning, but otherwise pitched well, closing out the Cardinals' 83rd win of the season.
The last day of the regular season comes tomorrow. Jack Flaherty takes the mound against Aaron Wilkinson at 2:15 CT. I can't believe how quickly 2017 flew by. We have a lot to look forward to in the coming years, and I will be watching the Cardinals' moves this off season with a cautiously optimistic eye. Enjoy the weekend, the playoffs, and the offseason, VEB. See you in 2018.