I’d like to get the most important thing out of the way first: Kill the Tomahawk Chop. Kill it with fire, raze it to the ground, and salt the earth.
Going for the sweep in Atlanta today, the Cardinals put out this lineup:
First inning: Jose Martinez, whose BB% in the second half has dropped to just 6.3%, picked up a rare walk. Unfortunately, Paul DeJong followed this with a GIDP.
Second inning: Yadier Molina, also not one known for a particularly selective eye for walks, also takes a walk. Yadi would also be stranded.
Third inning: Harrison Bader is hit by a pitch from SP Touki Toussaint. I’ve got my eye on you, Toussaint. No funny business. Jack Flaherty continued to move quickly through the Braves lineup with another 1-2-3 inning.
Fourth inning: A prime opportunity to score presents itself, with Marcell Ozuna and Jedd Gyorko both getting singles and then both stealing a base....but a K to Molina ends the inning. The Braves, however, are able to score, with Ender Inciarte singling to center followed by a Freddie Freeman home run on the very next pitch. Braves up 2-0.
Fifth inning: Harrison Bader takes his revenge with a HR to left field. Cardinals on the board 2-1. The wheels come off a bit for Flaherty in the bottom half, though - Tyler Flowers starts things off with a leadoff double. Flaherty was able to work 2 quick outs to Dansby Swanson and Toussaint after that, but then things got messy. Ronald Acuna Jr walked. Flaherty threw a WP that scored Flowers. Inciarte walked. Freeman singled. Flahety came out of the game in favor of Chasen Shreve (whose name I am still unable to say without laughing). Then we were treated to a weird play in which Freeman stole second and Inciarte stole home on the throw out to second. When the dust settled, the Braves had taken a significant lead of 5-1.
Sixth inning: Cardinals gained a run back through a Martinez single, Jedd Gyorko BB, Yadier Molina single combo. Cardinals down 5-2. In the bottom half, Shreve and Mike Mayers each give up a walk, but the Braves don’t add to their lead.
Seventh inning: The Braves continue to pile onto their lead, with Nick Markakis driving home Inciarte, who doubled earlier in the inning. Braves lead 6-2.
Eighth inning: Jose Martinez and Paul DeJong start things off effectively with a single and double, but the Cardinals are only able to translate this to a single run, as Jedd Gyorko brings Martinez around on a sac fly. Not content to let the Cardinals take that run back, Brett Cecil gave up a HR to Tyler Flowers (of the 91 OPS+). Braves up 7-3.
Ninth inning: Well, the Cardinals were able to make it interesting, at least. Patrick Wisdom started things up with a single and advanced on a WP, followed by walks to Matt Carpenter and Kolten Wong. But with the bases loaded, things fizzled with a Jose Martinez K (on a “yikes, that was awful” AB) and a Paul Dejong foul out.
Cardinals return home to take on the Giants starting Friday at 7:15. 6.0 GB of the Cubs, 3.5 GB of the Brewers.