It was a great day. The Cards enshrined three new players into their Hall of Fame, and the guys that still play beat the Rockies.
In a matinee HOF ceremony featuring more red jackets than a Canadian Mountie convention, the Cards enshrined three greats that wore the Birds on the Bat: Jason “Izzy” Isringhausen, Scott Rolen, and Mort Cooper (posthumously).
confessional broadcast booth during the game, Both Izzy and Rolen admitted to blubbering during their speeches and at other times on their special day. Congrats, you big strong men, you.
Hey, Did you realize Friday night’s win put the cards at a season-high 11 games over .500? Naaawww, didn’t think so. That’s okay. That’s why VEB was invented. Coming into tonight’s game, Baseball-Reference.com listed their average ROS record at 1 game over .500 at 18-17, which would make them 87-75. Their 95th percentile record was projected as 91-71; their 5th percentile mark was 82-80.
Here’s the thing. The opportunity is there to gorge on wins from now through mid-September. During that span, the Cards play Milwaukee (2 series), Cincinnati, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and Colorado. All but Milwaukee have losing records. After September 15, things get dicier to close the season against the Nats, the Cubs (2 series), and Arizona ( 1 game under at game time).
The Cards have been taking care of bid-ness against lesser teams and need to continue to do so to finish September with a playoff berth. Currently, those odds stand at 65.4%.
But that’s getting ahead of ourselves.
Dakota Hudson went up against Chi Chi
Rodriguez Gonzales of the Rockies. Dakota is coming off two good shut-out outings. But as a groundball-heavy pitcher, he relies greatly on his defense, which thankfully has been excellent this year. His 5.10 FIP (compared to a 3.63 ERA) illustrates this.
Chi Chi had injury issues in his young career before coming to the Rox. He has spent the bulk of 2019 in AAA, throwing 87 innings there before getting called up, giving up 10.9 H/9, 7.9 Ks/9, and 3.7 BB/9. He came into this game having thrown just 30.1 innings in the Show this season, and he hasn’t been fooling anyone to this point, with rates of 9.7 H/9, 5.3 K/9, and 4.4 BB/9. Perhaps most glaring is that hitters have a 47.1 Hard Hit % off him.
The Cards’ lineup, the same as the previous game vs. the Rox should have drool stains on their pretty white uni’s.
Speaking of those uni’s, the team really digs them, as evidenced by the clip below from the post-game party celebrating their first win in them Friday night:
The Cards only had 6 hits, but they didn’t need lots, because 2 were homers; plus, they drew 8 walks to clog the bases and produce runs. The Cards were seeing Chi Chi’s pitches well from the beginning, scoring twice in the first using just 4 batters via walk, single, deep sac fly, 2-run single; and, twice in the second in a more efficient way via a walk and a wallop for a quick 4-run lead.
That was, like 3 more runs then they actually needed, because Dakota continued his string of shut-out innings by tossing 6 scoreless. It took him 95 pitches to get there, and the high total included 3 walks; plus, only 58 of his 95 pitches were strikes. He’ll need to improve that to get to the next level of effectiveness, but he’s inching ever closer.
Just for good measure, the Cards tacked on 2 more runs, with one in the 5th on a sac fly and one on in the 6th on a solo shot by Goldschmidt, his 29th.
The bullpen had another excellent night, giving up just 2 hits over the final 3 frames, punctuated by Leone striking out the side to close it out.
Top of 1st
Often pitchers come out pumping fastballs to start games. Dakota, however, was mixing things up, right off the bat, with sinkers, sliders, and curves. Charlie Blackmon’s beard caught on his bat handle, slowing his swing, and he grounded out to Kolten for out 1. Trevor Story became Hudson’s first strikeout victim, as he watched a sinker tail down and in for a called strike 3. It ended up outside the zone, but hey, it was in the zone right before that. All-around excellent player Nolan Arenado mis-timed a poorly placed sinker in the upper-third of the zone and flew out to Bader.
Bottom of 1st
Still leading off, Dex did a prototypical leadoff guy thing by drawing a walk. Joltin’ Kolten Wong then yanked a hard grounder in the hole between first and second into right for a single, but Dex wisely stopped at 2nd. Goldy then stepped in and drove one deep into right-center, but the center fielder Yonathan Daza ran it down near the wall. Both Dex and Kolten tagged up to put 2 RISP for Big Bear.
Ozuna wasted no time, jumping on a middle-middle low 90s fastball, driving it over the shortstop’s head, scoring both Dex and Wong. Just like that, 2-0 Cards!!!
The Big Bear at it again! pic.twitter.com/xjdl3Y1nPz— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) August 24, 2019
Paul DeJong then grounded one deep in the hole at short, but Story backhanded it, jump-throwing to second for a force, with Pauly making it safely to first. Rodriguez went to a full count on Yadi, who then zipped a worm-burner that was snagged on a nice backhand play by first baseman Daniel Murphy, who made the out unassisted.
Top of 2nd
Make a nice play, lead the next inning off, I always say. Daniel Murphy slammed a full-count sinker that split the middle of the zone, lining it into the right-field corner for a leadoff double.
At this point, Jim Edmonds and Danny Mac spent about 5 minutes marveling at how third baseman Tommy Edman (Edmonds loves Edman) altered his pre-pitch fielding setup after speaking with newly minted Cards Hall of Famer Scott Rolen, positioning his glove at his knee instead of on the ground.
Lefty hitter Ryan McMahon then lined a down and in fastball thankfully right at Pauly D, who actually snagged it to the right of second (his left), as he’d been givin’ ‘em the ol’ shifteroo. Ian Desmond sent a bouncing grounder over Dakota’s head that Kolten circled, gloved, and flung on the run to first that Goldy dug out on an in-between hop.
Dakota got another up the middle grounder, but DeJong was there, scooting to his left to make the play.
Bottom of 2nd
Awesome glove-positioner Tommy Edman showed he also knew how to position his bat on his shoulder and keep it there, as he earned a leadoff walk. Then on a 1-1 pitch, Bader Tots skied a moon-shot homer that the left fielder initially thought was too high. But with a 36- degree launch angle, after reaching its apex at 126 feet high, it feel over the fence, ultimately traveling 393 feet. 4-0 Cards!!!
HEH, HEH—TOTS TATERS. I GET IT!!!
Tots hit a tater! pic.twitter.com/xzwCrhsET1— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) August 24, 2019
Dakota than took a decent pitcher hack, sending a liner to right caught by Blackmon. In Dex’s second at bat, he was the opposite of his patient, walking self from the first inning, as he struck out swinging on a fastball 2 feet outside. Wong ended the inning by giving one a ride to deep right, but it was caught at the track.
Top of 3rd
Dakota got the first two outs on his signature result, inducing pitcher Chi Chi and leadoff hitter Yonathan Daza to hit easy grounders to Pauly D. Then he issued his first walk of the night, as Blackmon watched a close 3-1 pitch at the top of zone go by that was called ball 4. That was no big deal, as next batter Trevor Story grounded (duh) out right back to Dakota, who tossed it to first for the out.
Bottom of 3rd
Paul Goldschmidt banged a harsh grounder (105 EV), just to the wrong Rockie, as it went to third baseman Arenado, who vacuumed it up with quick reflexes and threw him out. Ozuna then got fooled on a nicely placed down-and-in full-count changeup for out 2. DeJong then showed patience taking a walk, the third given up by Chi Chi. I was worried for a minute the Cards were going to end their 2-inning streak of baserunners.
They did, however, end their 2-inning streak of run scoring, as Yadi popped up a low fastball to shallow center for the third out.
Top of 4th
Arenado grounded out to short for the first out, keeping DeJong quite busy this night. Daniel Murphy then walked; Dakota had gone 3-0 on him, got the count full, but then lost him. He repeated the result with the next batter, Ryan McMahon, walking him. His infielders then all visited him on the mound to tell him “Hey, we think you’re cool, but stop that.”
Now with a 1st and 2nd and just one out situation all totally Dakota’s fault, he got back to doing what he do, getting Ian Desmond to hit a grounder that he snared himself, flipping to Kolten at second, who made the turn and threw a low one that Goldy scooped cleanly for the 1-4-3 DP to get out of the inning.
Bottom of 4th
The first two Cardinals were retired in four pitches total. Tommy lead off by floating a clunker that briefly seemed to be headed for a cheap hit, but shortstop Trevor Story flagged on the run for the first out. Harrison Bader then grounded directly back to pitcher Chi Chi, and even Tots couldn’t beat that one out. Dakota then flew out to right for a quick 1-2-3 inning, the first one of the night for the Cards.
Top of 5th
Dakota got Tony Wolters on a swinging strikeout on a nice over-but-low slider, only his second punch out of the night. He returned to the groundout-type of out, getting Yonathan Daza to send one to someone besides DeJong, this time instead to Edman. Lastly, his counterpart, pitcher Chi Chi slapped a sharp grounder to Kolten’s right, who zipped over quickly to snag it via his backhand and throw him out.
Bottom of 5th
Leading off for the second time of the night, Dex earned his second walk in 3 plate appearances. Wong, however, couldn’t advance him, as he popped out to second. But the GOB gave the Cards a break and with Goldy up, Dex advanced to second on a wild pitch. Chi Chi then invited more trouble by walking Goldy, making it 1st and 2nd, one out.
He then tried to get Ozuna to chase pitches outside various edges of the zone, but he passed on all of them, walking to load the bases.
That was all for Chi Chi, who left to work on his putting. Righty DJ ”Jazzy” Johnson and his massive full beard entered to see what he could do with the situation. He did a god job, getting DeJong to reach for one, lofting it to shallow right...but, Blackmon muffed it, as the ball hit off the tip of his glove extended in front of him, allowing Dex to score to make it 5-0 and Goldy to reach third. Ozuna was forced at second, as he was in no-man’s land, going just half way on the fly.
Yadi then earned the third walk of the inning, getting a free pass on 4 straight pitches, none particularly close. Jazzy Johnson then threw two straight balls to Tommy Edman before getting him to foul two off. Ultimately, Tommy popped out in foul territory beyond third.
Top of 6th
Now Dakota reached the third time through the order time. Blackmon started the inning by flying out to right center on one that hung up for quite a while as Dex ranged over to catch it. Trevor Story then sent a liner to right center that Dex did a good job to cut off and hold Story to a single. On a 3-1 count to Arenado, Dakota executed dat sinker to get Nolan to ground into a 5-4-3 double play to end the threat.
Bottom of 6th
The Rox brought in another new pitcher, hoping to find one that could throw strikes. That candidate was righty Bryan Shaw, who had significantly less facial hair than the previous pitcher, sporting just a goatee.
Same ol’, same ‘ol, as he walked Bader to start things off. A Bader that walks is reaaaly cool. Lane Thomas then came up to pinch-hit for Dakota and flew out to right. Tyler Webb was warming up at the time. With Bader stealing, Dex looped one to right, and it became an easy double play when Blackmon tossed it to first, with no chance for Bader to return.
Top of 7th
Webb entered to bridge the game from Dakota to...other relievers, and Lane Thomas remained in the game in right, so Dex got the rest of the game off. Facing lefty batter Daniel Murphy, Webb got him looking on a nicely placed down-and-away fastball. Opting for another variety of strikeout, he K’d the next batter Ryan McMahon swinging on a fastball at the top of the zone. Third batter Ian Desmond ruined that trend by hitting a screamer down the right-field line that Thomas lunged at, but it went off the top of his glove, bouncing in the stands for a ground-rule double.
Webb couldn’t retire next hitter Tony Wolters, either, as he banged a line drive to right for a single. Luckily, it was hit actually too hard for the runner to attempt to score from second. Lane’s throw was on the money but bounced several times near the plate, so the runner spent time regretting that decision.
Giovanny Gallegos then was brought in to put out the fire, which he did, striking out Daza looking on a fastball just beyond the outside edge that the ump thought was close enough, ringing him up for the third out. Frustrated, Daza slammed his bat (but not all that egregiously) and was immediately tossed by the ump.
Bottom of 7th
Yenoy Almonte entered to become the 4th pitcher for the Rox. Wong led off and during his at bat ended up on his knees and doubled over for minutes after fouling one off the top of his right big toe area. Aided by the trainer and limping, he came out of the game.
Matt Carpenter came in to finish the at bat, but he grounded out to first for out 1. Goldy then ambushed an up and in first pitch fastball to bump the lead to 6-0!
Goldy has left the building! pic.twitter.com/lmZjrrEph3— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) August 25, 2019
Ozuna followed that by smacking a hard grounder through short and third for a single, but DeJong struck out swinging after that.
Yadi picked up the slack, though, serving a floater into right off the end of his bat, making his previously injured thumb feel not good. Ozuna read the ball well, making it to third.
With first and third, 2 out, Edman came in and popped out to third.
Top of 8th
Gallegos remained in the game, and I approved. He got pinch hitter Garrett Hampson to fly out to Bader in left center and Blackmon to pop out to shallow left on his first pitch. Finishing the job, he retired Trevor Story on a soft grounder to Goldy, who flipped to Gio covering.
Bottom of 8th
Tots lead off by flying out to his counterpart in center for out 1. Lane Thomas then got jobbed by screaming a liner at 109 mph off the bat, but right at the shortstop, who nearly was knocked over on the play. Old friend Yairo Munoz made a pinch-hit appearance, his skills properly applied in the 8th inning of a 6-0 game. With much less playing time these days, he perhaps was a bit over-eager, as he swung at a slider a country mile outside.
Top of 9th
Recently recalled Dominic Leone was brought in to finish off the Rox under the cushion of the 6-run lead. He sat down Arenado quickly, striking him out looking on a tight low-and-away slider. He then got back-to-back strikeouts, as he retired Murphy on another really good slider that started as a strike then dove downward, away from the swinging bat. Finally, on a 1-1 count, sensing his slider was working p good, he went back to it on the final two pitches, getting swings and misses on both from Ryan McMahon, striking him out and, like the entire side for the win!
Cards win, 6-0!!!
Bottom of 9th
THE BOTTOM LINE
- Dakota brought his shut-out streak to 18.2 straight innings.
- Despite using 95 pitches to get through 6, he relied on 13 ground ball outs to keep the Rox scoreless.
- Hudson induced 2 DPs, giving him 20 on the year, tied for the NL league with former Cardinal, now Marlin, Sandy Alcantara.
- Gallegos came in to tonight having given up just 1 run in his previous 20 innings. Make that 21.1 now.
- The Cards’ 8 walks were one shy of their season high, which they achieved just recently on August 20th vs. Milwaukee.
- 5 of the Cards’ 8 walks came in to score.
- When Carpenter came in to finish Kolten’s at-bat due to Wong’s foot-fouling injury, anything except a strikeout would’ve been credited to Carpenter. I did not know that. Good news is Kolten’s tootsies are not broked:
Kolten Wong is glad that he was able to avoid a fracture: "I've taken balls off my toe hundreds of times and I've been able to run to first base. I could barely even put pressure, so I thought for sure it was broke." #TimeToFly pic.twitter.com/EvD9cZGzcA— FOX Sports Midwest (@FSMidwest) August 25, 2019
- The Redbirds go for the 4-game sweep tomorrow at 1:15 CT, pitting Wachamole vs. Senzatela, which may or may not be his nickname.
- Cubs lost 7-2 to the Nats, pushing them 1.5 back. The Brewers beat the D-Backs 4-0, leaving them still 3.5 back.