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Molina & Mikolas Put the Team on Their Backs 6.23.18

The Cardinal battery delivers 6.2 impressive innings, and a pair of home runs to boot.

St Louis Cardinals v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images


1st Inning

The Cardinal offense picked up about where it left off. Carpenter popped out in foul territory, and Pham struck out on a similar pitch to the one he struck out on last night. This one, however, was actually a strike. Jose Martinez then drew a 4-pitch walk (though ball 4 was clearly a strike), and Marcell Ozuna got ahead 3-0, but ended up swinging at a couple of balls and flew out to CF. They made Anderson throw 17 pitches.

The Brewers’ offense battled Miles Mikolas hard, fouling off good pitches and forcing the Cardinal righty off the plate. Eric Thames led off with a bloop single to LF, but was erased on Yelich’s 1-6 fielder’s choice that required replay to get right. Mikolas then hit Cain with a fastball to the ribs, and lost Shaw to a walk after a long battle, which loaded the bases for the red-hot Jesus Aguilar. The hulking righty smoked a long fly ball to RCF, but the ball died in Bader’s glove right in front of the track for a sac fly. Brad Miller then followed with an RBI, bloop single over Munoz’s head to extend the lead. Mikolas bailed himself out with a strikeout of Hernan Perez. He threw 27 pitches in the long inning. 2-0 Brewers.

2nd Inning

The Cardinals quickly got one back. Yadier Molina led off by working a 3-1 count and walloping an outside fastball well over the wall in RCF. After Gyorko stared at a curveball for a called strike 3, Yairo Munoz looped a single to LF, and stole 2B as Bader struck out looking at the same pitch Gyorko saw. Mikolas grounded out to 3B on Anderson’s 40th pitch to strand him. 2-1 Brewers.

Mikolas got back on track in the 2nd. Though Manny Pina led off with another soft Brewer single, this one to RF, Chase Anderson erased him with a bad sac bunt that was turned into another 1-6 fielder’s choice, no replay required. Eric Thames then grounded into a 4-6-3 double play on Mikolas’ 6 pitch of the inning, 33rd overall.

3rd Inning

Does it still count as “striking out the side” if you don’t set the side down in order? Because that’s what happened in the 3rd. Anderson struck Carpenter & Pham out on well-placed, inside fastballs before walking Martinez & Ozuna. After a visit from his pitching coach, he struck Molina out with a fastball right down the middle. He was up to 68 pitches, however.

Mikolas set the Brewers down in order in the 3rd. He got Yelich to ground out to 3B, before Cain looped a ball into the gap in short RCF. Pham and Bader both had a bead on it, but there seemed to be a lack of communication, as Bader laid out for it as Pham was closing in on the catch. Mild concern was felt by all. Shaw concluded the inning with a ground out to 1B on Mikolas’ 46th pitch.

4th Inning

Anderson cruised through the bottom of the Cardinals’ order. He got Gyorko to ground out into the jaws of the infield shift, Munoz to ground out to 3B, and Bader to strike out looking at a change-up underneath the strike zone. He was up to 85 pitches.

Mikolas returned the favor. He struck out Aguilar & Miller with a pair of sweet, sweet curveballs, before getting Perez to ground out to 1B. He threw 12 pitches in the inning, bringing his total up to 58.

5th Inning

Anderson put up another 0 in the 5th. He struck out Mikolas with a curveball before walking Carpenter on 4 pitches. But Tommy Pham struck out looking again, and Jose Martinez flew out on a ball just short of the wall in RF. Anderson was now at 100 pitches.

Mikolas was in a groove, setting down the Brewers in order for the third straight inning. He struck out Pina swinging through a slider, then got pinch-hitter Jonathan Villar to ground out to 2B, and Thames to ground out to 1B. He was at 74 pitches.

6th Inning

Jeremy Jeffress relieved Anderson. Marcell Ozuna greeted him with a broken bat single up the middle, and Yadi followed him with a home run off the top of the wall in RCF. Jeffress recovered to get Gyorko to line out to CF, Munoz to strike out swinging, and Bader to ground out to SS, but the damage was done. 3-2 Cardinals.

Make it 12 in a row. Mikolas struck out Yelich with a 95 mph fastball on the outside edge of the plate before a pinch-hitting Ryan Braun laid into a hanging curveball. The tall blast carried Ozuna deep into the LF corner, but was hauled in by the Cardinal left fielder at the wall. Shaw popped out to 2B to complete the inning on Mikolas’ 88th pitch.

7th Inning

Taylor Williams relieved Jeffress, and unquestionably struck out the side. He got Mikolas to wave through a 96 mph fastball, before getting both Carpenter and Pham to look helpless as they waved through his sharp mid-80s slider.

Mikolas finally ran out of steam in the 7th. But before he did, he got in on the hands of the dangerous Aguilar to induce a flare out to 2B, and walked Brad Miller. He appeared to get the double play ball he needed, but Gyorko’s throw to 1B sailed far wide of Martinez, and into the Brewers dugout. Mikolas was up to 97 pitches, and the Cardinals have not often let him go past 100, so they opted to go to the bullpen to complete the inning.

Jordan Hicks entered and gave everyone a heart attack. After his first pitch, a 96 mph fastball way off the mark, Matheny came trotting out to the mound, and everyone was thinking “injury.” Nothing ended up coming of it, and Hicks got Pina to ground out to 2B.

8th Inning

Adrian Houser relieved Williams. He got Martinez to slice out to RF before he walked Ozuna. The Cardinals then put the hit-and-run on, but Molina guided the ball right up the middle, where Sogard had been drawn by the running Ozuna. He fielded, stepped on the base, and threw to 1B before Molina had even gotten halfway there.

The Cardinals gave everyone an ulcer in the 8th. Austin Gomber entered in relief of Hicks. He promptly hung a curveball, which Eric Sogard looped to CF for a single. His next curveball was much better, as it induced a grounder off the bat of Thames. Wong gloved it, tagged Sogard, and fired to 1B to get Thames by a hair. But when Gomber missed with a change up and plunked Yelich on the hands, Matheny lifted him in favor of Tuivailala to face Braun.

But Braun pulled a slow grounder to SS for an infield single, and Tuivailala followed that up by plunking Shaw on the foot with a cutter, to bring up Aguilar with the bases loaded. But this time, Jesus could not deliver, as he grounded out to SS.

9th Inning

Houser remained in and pitched a perfect 9th. He got Gyorko to fly out to CF, Munoz to pop out to himself, and Bader for fly out to RF.

Bud Norris closed this one out. He struck out the aptly-named Erik Kratz, surrendered an infield single to Perez, but got Manny Pina to ground into a game-ending 6-4-3 double play. Cardinals win 3-2.

Final Lines

Miles Mikolas: 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 0 HR, 5 K, 2 BB, 69 GSc, 97 pitches

Chase Anderson: 5.0 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 1 HR, 9 K, 4 BB, 58 GSc, 100 pitches


  • Lorenzo Cain left the game with groin tightness, though I could have sworn FSMW said it was a shoulder injury.
  • Matheny said post-game that letting Mikolas bat for himself in the 7th, with his pitch count getting up there, was not something they typically do.
  • Tommy Pham struck out in all 4 of his PAs today, and struck out 12 times in 24 PAs this week. It felt encouraging that his last strikeout today was swinging. That’s how bad it is.
  • Conversely, this was Molina’s 2nd 2-HR game this week. So that’s good.

The Cardinals will look to salvage a series split tomorrow, sending Luke Weaver to face Jhoulys Chacín. Game starts at 1:10 CST, and can be viewed on FSMW.