The Cardinals have had a Brewer problem this year, but perhaps it’s just a Miller Park problem. The Cardinals have handled the Brewers just fine at Busch Stadium with two wins in two tries. Go ahead and start the completely unsubstantiated rumors that the Brewers are doing something to the air in their indoor park whenever they bat to help them win baseball games.
Tonight’s game was similar to last night’s game, it just didn’t come with an inning that put the game away, which yes is a fairly big “except for” point, but the Cards stranded quite a few runners at 3rd which could have theoretically put the game away. The Brewers scored all their runs on solo home runs, the Cardinals got on base 14 times and the Brewers bullpen blew the game. All the Miller Park games were the same, who says Busch Stadium ones can’t be too?
Despite the best efforts of Christian Yelich, the Brewers did not score on a non-HR in the first inning. With one out, Daniel Ponce De Leon walked Yelich. After striking out Yasmani Grandal, Ryan Braun hit a pop up in no man’s land. Jose Martinez, seemingly playing at the warning track and with the speed of a Molina brother, could not reach the ball in time, sliding and missing the ball. The ball hit the glove and slowed, but went behind Martinez, where Fowler picked it up and threw an on-target throw to nail an aggressive send of Yelich to end the 1st.
The Cardinals continued their assault on the Brewers pitching with the slow march of singles. Marcell Ozuna singled, Martinez singled, and then Yadier Molina singled. Only the slowest man alive thought he was the fastest man alive and got gunned at 2nd trying for a double. With one out, Fowler struck out and Kolten Wong flew out to end the inning. The flyout would have been deep enough for a sac fly if you were wondering. It would not be the first time Molina’s baserunning cost the Cards a run.
Despite Ponce De Leon confidently asserting that Yelich was human and like any other batter, when Lorenzo Cain reached second base on a rare error by Wong in the 3rd, Yelich was intentionally walked. He struck out Grandal looking to end the inning. Ponce De Leon was effectively wild throughout the night, keeping the Brewers off balance and making them look uncomfortable. If they were patient enough, he’d walk them, but his pitches were too appealing for most. In the 5th, the Brewers got on the board with a solo home run by Orlando Arcia. Ponce De Leon threw loads of pitches and was done after 5.
The Cardinals took back the lead in the bottom half of the inning when they started a rally with two outs. Matt Carpenter walked and then stole second. Yes, Carpenter stole second. Paul Goldschmidt drove him in with a single. Davies also threw loads of pitches and was done after 4.2 IP, having thrown over 100 pitches. Matt Albers produced a line drive double by Paul DeJong down the left field line, but it did not score Goldschmidt. It was the second inning in a row with a 2 out double with a man on 1st that the Brewers were able to keep the runner at 3rd. Both times, the next batter got out.
In the bottom of the 6th, John Gant took over and pitched well with the exception of, of course, a solo home run that tied the game. This one was by Travis Shaw. He pitched two scoreless innings with only that home run and another pop up single in no man’s land. Andrew Miller took over and looked... maybe the best he’s looked all year? He struck out Yelich and Braun on three pitches. He worked harder for the groundout by Grandal, but still two strikeouts and a groundout.
In the 8th, DeJong hit a solo homer to give the Cards the lead. The Cards weren’t done though and thank god for that. Martinez walked for the second time this year and was driven in by Molina’s double. Molina stole third! Because of a very high throw, but still. Fowler then hit a line drive double down the right field line.... except it was called foul. They replayed reviewed it, you can see chalk fly in the air, and yet still confirmed. Fowler hit a deep flyball to left field and... Molina tagged up earlier or something because he ran a foot and then grabbed his helmet in shame at not tagging up on a ball that should have been. Would have been 5-2, was still 4-2 unfortunately. Wong was intentionally walked, which is funny, but I guess he’s earned that. Yairo Munoz, up again in the majors, grounded out.
Jordan Hicks allowed a leadoff home run in the 9th to Shaw again, and things didn’t look better when he walked Eric Thames. But he struck out a helpless Ben Gamel looking and got a bit of a break when he produced an awkward swing by Arcia, who soft lined out to DeJong. He got a break because Thames decided to run to 2nd on the play, so that when DeJong caught it, he had an easy double play ball. Cards win.
- Ponce De Leon line: 5 IP, 7 Ks, 3 BBs, HR, 2 H, ER - I’m always impressed by Ponce De Leon’s ability to allow so many fly balls and walks that he can strike out as many as 7 in 5 and still only have a 4.00 xFIP for the game. To be fair, one walk was intentional to Yelich so that’s not completely fair. If he can just either not walk as many or get more groundballs, he’d be in good shape. Big if, of course.
- Not the sharpest outing for the bullpen, but 4 IP, 2 ER with 5 Ks and a BB is a pretty good off night. Obviously, don’t allow two homers but that’s going to happen some nights.
- Even though the score was 4-3, the Cardinals kind of dominated this game. It definitely shouldn’t have been a one-run game, not that I’m complaining. A win’s a win.
- Yadi’s steal of third is HIGHLY gif-able so I would recommend immediately looking up that particular highlight.
- If you combine rest of season ZiPS with current stats, Paul DeJong is set to finish with a 4.3 WAR season. That is good. I really love the Cards’ middle infield.
- Tomorrow, it’s Jhoulys Chacin against Adam Wainwright. This game could go either way. It is on at 12:15 central time, so most of us probably won’t get to see the game unfortunately.