Hello Brewers, our old friend
We’re here to beat you once again
In the division third place keeping
Leave you there while we are leading
The division that is central in my brain
Within the sound of Cardinals
The Brewers and Cards couldn’t get enough of each other at the beginning of this season, playing 10 times by the end of April splitting them right down the middle at five apiece. But just like when you met that person at the brew pub last spring, and you realized you lived in the same apartment building and then ran into each other all the time in the lobby and the laundry room, and by the mailboxes, so you just kept kind of casually hanging out, and it turned into, like consistent dating before you knew it! So you wisely realized you needed a break.
But then after about 3 1⁄2 months, you mused, hey, that person really brought out some good qualities in me, perhaps I should text them out of the blue to see if they want to get together. However, since then, you’ve both changed a great deal. So really, you’re a “known unknown” to them, and they you. That would make for an intriguing reunion...perhaps entertaining...potentially disastrous.
Throwing caution to the wind, the Cards invited the Brewers over for some domestic hop-infused, fermented beverages; pork steaks; and Simon & Garfunkel. Home field advantage, yo.
Turn and face the strange
Don’t want to face that pitcher, man
The Brewers lineup did not start a single player with double-digit ABs against Dakota. Oppositely, 5 of the Cards’ hitters had double-digit ABs vs Milwaukee’s stater Zach Davies. Dakota is 6’5” 215 lbs; Zach Davies is 6’0” 155 lbs soaking wet. Which of those would be the Keystone Light Key to the Game™?
Well, Dakota towered over the Brewers’ lineup, giving up nary a hit over 6.2 innings and striking out 7. He did walk four and went to 7 full counts on the night, so his command did waver, but it never completely buckled.
The Cardinals’ familiarity with Davies did not breed contempt for his pitches, as the Cards could only muster 3 hits (and 2 walks) over his 5 innings, striking out 4. His best pitch was reportedly his changeup, which he threw constantly to beguile Cards’ hitters into all manner of off-balance contact.
But the Cards scratched out 2 runs in the 5th via small ball that made Whitey proud. It was so 1982-sexy: walk, single, hit-and-run single, force out (to score run 1), sac bunt, single (to score run 2).
For good measure, Pauly D mashed his 22nd homer into the Big Mac Land M in the 6th to make it 3-0, providing a fun punctuation mark and more than needed as the Cards’ pitchers shut out the Brewcrew.
Top of 1st
Dakota threw 16 pitches in the first, working around a 2-out walk to Yelich. Leadoff man Trent Grisham dutifully played to the script, grounding a Dakota sinker to Kolten for an easy first out. Dakota then apparently surprised Yasmani Grandal with a fastball that came back to kiss the insider corner for a called third strike. Flashing his entire repertoire to Yelich, Dakota nibbled at the plate, and on a full count walked him. Keeping a close eye on Yelich, Hudson got Moustakas to roll over a down-and-away sinker for a slow roller to Kolten for the third out.
Bottom of 1st
The Cards also got a 2-out walk, but like the Brewers, couldn’t make anything come of it. Dexter Fowler led off by striking out, waiving over the top of a Davies changeup. Future Shildt son-in-law Tommy Edman followed by weakly topping a changeup to first base for out 2. “I think he used a doctored ball, Tommy,” the manager was heard saying. Paul Goldschmidt gave the faithful something to earnestly clap about, as he laid off four not-strike down-and-away pitches to earn a walk.
Ozuna likewise laid off bad pitches, but on a 3-1 count, caught one off the end of the bat to fly out to right.
Top of 2nd
Dakota was throwing free and easy. There isn’t a stat for that, but I decided he was. Dakota started the second by striking out Keston Hiura on a nice, biting slider down and away for out 1. Hudson thought that was such a cool outcome, he repeated that against burly Eric Thames, throwing no straight fastballs, getting a swinging strike three on another slider.
Quickly going to 0-2 to Ben Gamel, Dakota didn’t get a called strike three on a pitch that totally was, just inside the top of the zone. Both he and Yadi started off the field, but the ump made them continue. On the 8th pitch of the at bat, Gamel zipped a liner toward third, but he was denied, as Carp put his glove right where he thought the ball was going, snagging it for out 3. Justice, yo.
Bottom of 2nd
The first of something to happen in the game happened in the 2nd (but don’t get used to it). Davies wasted no time with Paul DeJong, getting him to watch an 80-mph changeup float down the inside part of the zone, ending with the ump calling it a strike on the third pitch. Pauly didn’t like it, but it was close.
Carp got things started by lifting a liner that glanced off the second baseman’s glove into center for the Cards’ first hit. Yadi then ambushed the first pitch he saw, a sub-90’s fastball, sending a long one into left that Ben Gamel snared on the run a couple of steps from the wall for a long second out that got the fans all excited only to realize disappointment. Kolten produced no such false hope, as he lunged at a low—you guessed it—changeup, popping it up harmlessly to the second baseman.
Top of 3rd
Taking a page out of Davies’ book, Hudson used a changeup to entice Orlando Arcia to chop an easy-hop grounder to Pauly D for the first out. Speaking of Davies, he next was properly disposed of, called out on strikes in three neat pitches, for Dakota’s fourth K. Using even fewer pitches on the next hitter, Hudson got Grisham to fly out on his second pitch, for only the second in-flight ball of the night by the Brewers.
Bottom of 3rd
Afraid to throw much else than his changeup, even to Dakota hitting, Davies got him to swing through that changeup for the first out. Dex pulled an outside that pitch on the ground to first, at least making it close but making an out as the pitcher covered. Sweet Jeebus, Tommy then did the exact same thing, on the exact same pitch, in the exact same location, but just for kicks, the first baseman Thames took it himself for the third out.
It was at this point that I created a shortcut key to type the word changeup.
Top of 4th
Dakota got leadoff hitter Grandal to ground out right back to himself on the first pitch for out 1. Dealing with Yelich next, Hudson went to a full count again on him like in the first inning. And history repeated itself, as Mr. Christian again walked on a nowhere-near-close pitch in the dirt. Second walk on the night; both to Yelich.
Certainly an extreme ground-ball pitcher would make you expect a double play to get out of the inning. Not hope for it—expect it. Instead, Moustakas popped out directly behind home plate as Yadi drifted into the backstop screen for out 2. Fine, I guess.
With 2 outs, Keston Hiura floated a jam-shot fly ball into short right that Edman raced in on to catch for the third out. He didn’t even need to slide or nuthin’. Tommy shouldn’t play there so much, but likely Dex and certainly Cafecito both field that ball on a bounce.
Bottom of 4th
Pauly G started the fourth by shooting a low changeup (now to be known as the “c word”) to third for an out. Ozuna followed that by getting out in front of another c-word to fly out to shallow left. Not once to this point did I hear our sharp announcers mention a hitter “keeping his hands back.” Pauly D’s at-bat mirrored Marcell’s, as he was on his front foot and lofted a fly-out to not-deep left.
Top of 5th
Rolling right along, Dakota kept doing what he was doing, getting a grounder to second off the bat of Thames. Next hitter Ben Gamel tapped an easy comebacker to Dakota for out 2. Pushing Dakota to 8 pitches, Arcia finally succumbed to an inside fastball that ate him up, and he check swung through it for a strikeout third out.
Dakota was at 74 pitches, which seemed a bit high for as well as he was throwing.
Bottom of 5th
Run, rabbit run... The dude with the only Cards’ hit of the night, Matt Carpenter, led off with a walk, the Cards’ 2nd of the night. Forcing the action, the Cards sent Carp on the move, then Yadi grounded one right into the hole into right as Matt scampered easily to third. On the very next pitch, Wong blistered a liner juuust foul down the right-field line. Keeping with the small-ball theme, Kolten pulled a grounder to the second baseman, who got Yadi at second for the force, but he beat the relay to first (he’s the toughest to double up in the NL), scoring Carpenter for a 1-0 lead!!!
Small ball for the lead! pic.twitter.com/YCn8cWxZCK— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) August 20, 2019
With Dakota up, everyone following tonight’s game knew he was bunting, which he did successfully, moving Wong to second, giving leadoff man Dex a 2-out RISP chance. It all worked, as the Cards continued to push the right buttons this inning. Wong took off for third and Dex blooped an outside pitch (you know the one) in front of the left fielder, scoring Wong. 2-0 Cards!!!
On a 1-2 pitch to Edman, Dex took off for second, but Tommy swung over the top of a diving c-word for the third out. Stanford didn’t have a seminar on that.
Top of 6th
Lorenzo Cain entered the game to pinch-hit for Davies, who had thrown 75 pitches, which included 92 changeups. Thank GOB. I hoped the Brewers’ next pitcher would be a Lance Lynn-esque fastball aficionado. Dakota made Lozo his 6th K of the night on a tight slider.
Trent Grisham then sent a sharp grounder up the middle that Pauly G smothered, not really via dive, more of a flop, but scrambled up and slung it to first, where Goldy dug it out for out 2.
Cool as the other side of the pillow! pic.twitter.com/F0AIDgKHBX— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) August 20, 2019
Dakota then unfortunately decided to issue his third walk of the night one hitter too soon, as he gave a free pass to Grandal, the hitter directly in front of Yelich (the owner of the other 2 walks).
A hitter of Yelich’s ability is always a RISP when up to the plate, and he suddenly represented the tying run. Staying on the edges of the plate, Hudson enticed Christian to offer at a perfect sinker just beyond the bottom of the zone, and he tapped it harmlessly up the middle to DeJong, who gloved it easily and stepped on second for the third out.
Bottom of 6th
The Brewers brought in rookie righty reliever Devin Williams to face the Cards’ 3-4-5 hitters. The scouting report on him noted he added a changeup this year that became his second-best pitch. Hoo-boy. Making only his 4th MLB appearance, he got Goldy to ground out to short (slider!). Always one to go with the crowd, Ozuna did the same thing for the second out; however, he was unlucky, smacking it at 102 mph.
But wake up!!! Pauly D attacked a fastball middle up, but not up enough, as he smashed it into the M of Big Mac Land for a 3-0 lead! The clout dimmed the letter’s light, and the ball settled at its base, choosing to rest there instead of falling into a fan’s waiting hands below. It was recorded to have gone 398 feet.
He hit the Big Mac sign! pic.twitter.com/1jtP7SOd7q— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) August 20, 2019
Not wanting to show DeJong up, Matt Carpenter then grounded out to first for the third out.
Top of 7th
Back out for the 8th at 92 pitches, Dakota went to a full count to Moustakas before getting him to bounce a low outside sinker to Goldschmidt at first for the first out. He then got Keston Hiura on a check-swing strikeout call that the hitter didn’t like. It was close, but his bat did just break the plane. Dakota then went to 3-2 to Eric Thames, the 7th full count of the night.
Dakota couldn’t put him away, walking him, his fourth of the night. That was all she wrote, as Shildt came for the ball with Dakota’s no-hitter still intact. Oh, did you not realize he had a no-no going? No way I was going to mention it and bring on a jinx! He left the field at 111 pitches and tens of thousands appreciative, applauding fans.
Cheers, hugs and handshakes for Dakota Hudson as he walks off the mound. #TimeToFly pic.twitter.com/KcPiFjVl2c— FOX Sports Midwest (@FSMidwest) August 20, 2019
Reliever extraordinaire Giovanny Gallegos came in to pitch. Lane Thomas came off the milk carton and into center, Dex went to right, Tommy went to third, Carp went to the bench. Gio didn’t need any of those guys when facing Ben Gamel, as he got him on an easy grounder to Kolten.
Bottom of 7th
Heading into the State Farm Insurance Run Inning™, Yadi started things off by grounding out to third. Wong then got plunked in the hammy, his Cards-leading 12th HBP of the season. Pinch hitter Lane Thomas then smoked a liner at 102 mph right at the shortstop, who fired to first to just get Kolten for the double play. Kolton’s sore hammy didn’t twitch fast enough.
Top of 8th
Gallegos stayed in and induced Arcia to hit an easy roller to DeJong, but he booted it off the heel of his glove for just his 6th E of the season. Looking for a boot and a blast, the Brewers sent Ryan Braun in to pinch hit, but he got under a first-pitch low fastball, flying out to center. Grisham then flew out harmlessly to short right.
However, Yasmani Grandal pulled a liner down into the right-field corner for a clean double, ruining the no-hitter. Ugh!!! The Cards had bigger issues, however, as that made it 2nd and 3rd, 2 outs, with Yelich approaching the plate as the tying run. Shildt interrupted him, going out to replace Gallegos with Miller.
In the Marlboro “Hold On to Your Butts” Moment™, the Cards decided to put him on to face Moustakas, now the go-ahead run. Regardless of your opinion on IBBs, this time it worked, as Mousse grounded out on the first pitch to Wong for the third out.
Bottom of 8th
Another righty reliever entered for the Brewers, Jay Jackson. I had no idea of his preference for changeups, as I was burned out speaking about the pitch. He retired Dex on four pitches on an up-and-away fastball. Hitless Tommy Edman got a hit after all, singling to right, earning him a start for every game the rest of the season. Goldy then lined out to the shortstop, who attempted a repeat of his liner-double play of Wong an inning earlier, but Edman safely got back to first, earning him a start in every playoff game for the Cards this season. Ozuna then ended the inning on a soft liner into center.
Top of 9th
Miller stayed in to finish things off and got leadoff man Hirua to ground out to third. He then retired pinch hitter Manny Pina striking out swinging at a cross-fire fastball low and away. Lastly, after going to a full count on Gamel, he got him to fly out to Ozuna for the final out!
3-0 Cards win!!!!
Bottom of 9th
THE BOTTOM LINE
- Dakota’s fine line: 6.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 7 K
- True to his colors, Dakota got 9 ground-outs, mixing in 4 fly-outs.
- It was his 12th win, which leads all MLB rookies (if you’re into that sort of thing).
- The Cards were 4 outs away from a combined no-hitter, dang-it.
- Bud Smith, the last Cardinal to throw a no-no (2001), shot-gunned a can of Bud in celebration of his name being mentioned on TV
- DeJong’s homer (22nd) was his first at Busch since June 6th.
- Cards had lost 4 of their first 5 against the Brewers this season, but this victory marked their 5th-straight win against them.
- Cards’ pitchers hurled their third shut-out in their last 7 games.
- 33 of Zach Davies’ 75 pitches were changeups (44%). No lie.
- The win nudged the Brewers to 3 games back of the Cardinals.
- Cubs were off tonight (more than usual). I mean, they didn’t play at all (so what else is new?). Sigh. They had an off—never mind. They’re a half-game back of your Cards.
- Cards and Brewers face off again tomorrow night, 6:45 CT, with Wacha going against Gio Gonzalez.