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Four-Straight Sox Socks Stifle Sweep

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Four Cards make Major League debut in 7-2 loss

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago White Sox
Let’s be positive.
Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

An historic backdrop to all games today is a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Negro National League, in which the Stars represented the St. Louis club. What a different story the game would’ve written had all those talented players been allowed to compete since the beginning of professional baseball.

Did Someone Pack a Broom? - Guess it was only appropriate that after having a Spring Training 2.0, the Cards have embarked on Regular Season 2.0. The squad stress-testing the new version was looking for a 3-game sweep of the White Sox after taking both ends of the double header Saturday.

Dakota Hudson got the call for today’s game, trying to demonstrate worthiness of the phrase “no rust” from sports writers’ recaps. (Side note: When I Google “Dakota,” Dakota Fanning comes up as the initial search suggestion. Wonder if the Cardinals pitcher will ever overtake that spot.)

Dak’s lone start this season was on July 26, a clunker vs. Pittsburgh, in which he gave up 4 runs in 4.1 innings on 7 hits (including 2 dingers). He did have 4 Ks and just 1 walk, hurling 61 pitches.

Dallas, from Tulsa - One-time object of desire for many VEBers, sinister lefty Dallas Keuchel, threw for Chicago. This season, he’s had 4 starts, totaling 23.2 innings, giving up 21 hits, including the same number of homers as Dak has surrendered in 4.1 innings. He’s only walked 4 and K’d 15.

While the first 7 hitters in the Cards’ lineup were the same as Saturday’s Game 1, Shildt mixed things up a bit. Paul Goldschmidt served as DH, with Big John Nogowski getting a turn at 1B, batting 9th. Bader sat, and Dylan Carlson took his spot in CF. Tyler played LF. Dexter Fowler moved down a notch to bat 8th.

Oh, hell. It’s easier to show you:

The Bird’s-Eye View

A grand total of 4 rookies made their Major League debut for the Cards. Some went better than others, but congrats to all for realizing their dream of getting to The Show. It was just a 1-0 game with the Sox on top heading into the 5th, but the game turned ugly on one of those not-so-great debuts.

It was a battle of sinker-ballers to start. However, Dakota’s was not sharp initially, as he didn’t get his first ground-ball out until the 8th batter. It took him 23 pitches to get through the first, but he escaped with giving up just 1 run. He did improve after that frame, as 5 of his next 6 outs were all via ground-outs. In between, the Sox did have 8 hard-hit (over 95 mph EV) off him, 5 of which fortunately went for outs.

Ultimately, he exited after 4 innings and just 55 pitches, giving up just the one run. A bit odd perhaps that he was pulled, but hey, it’s a long weird season.

It took the Cards until the third to get their first barreled ball over 95 mph EV off Keuchel. And they had their own bit of bad luck on several of those. Dallas gave up just 5 hard-hit balls, but 4 of those went for outs.

The White Sox saved up several loud, barreled balls for a string of four batters in the fifth, when the wheels came off horribly, violently, and quickly against poor young pitcher Roel Ramierez Unfortunately, his Major League debut was spoiled as he gave up four 2-out home runs, back-to-back-to-back-to-back in his .2 innings of work. Not sure why he wasn’t replaced after the second one, but again, weird season.

When the smoke cleared, the Sox’ 1-0 lead suddenly was 7-0.

The Cards did answer with 2 runs of their own in the 6th, finally getting to Keuchel, using three singles and a walk. They may have had another tally if not for two bad base running mistakes on two different plays by the same player. (A debuter. Sigh. Rookies.)

The Sox relievers never faced any extended threat from the Cards over the final 3 innings. The Redbirds did come close in the 8th to adding at least 2 more runs, but a long fly by Carpenter with a man on was caught near the wall.

Not a sweep, but a big, successful weekend nonetheless: The Cards took 2 of 3 after the 2-week layoff, with no injuries (that I know of currently), and no positive test results (that I know of currently).

The Flight Path

Top of 1st - Three up, three jam-shots.

Kolten Wong got jammed on a sinker that didn’t sink, as it stayed up and in, causing him to ground out weakly to 1B. Tommy Edman jammed himself as well, just on a cutter in his kitchen, which produced a weak pop-out to short. Not to sound like a broken record, but next batter Paul Goldschmidt unfortunately copied his teammates, hitting one below the label, floating a shallow pop-out to first baseman Jose Abreu on the infield grass.

Bottom of 1st (In Play, Run(s)) - Lots of pitches (21) but thankfully few runs. Like the fewest possible without the total being zero (i.e., 1).

Dakota fell behind lead-off hitter Tim Anderson 3-0 and got a bit of a gift call for strike 1 to keep the at-bat alive. After getting to 3-2, Dakota left a fastball out over the plate that Anderson slapped past Nogowski down the 1B line for a single.

Daks’ first pitch to next hitter Yoan Moncada flicked off Andrew Knizner’s mitt, rolling between his legs behind him. Luckily, the runner did not advance, however. He should’ve. Moncada then flew out to Dex in right for out 1.

Dakota got ahead of Yasmani Grandal 0-2 then K’d him swinging on a nice curve ball. (Slurve maybe?)

On a 1-2 count to Abreu, Anderson stole second. The pitch was a tough one to handle, a 94 mph sinker that dove down and in, but Knizner fired off a strong, accurate throw to make it close. With first base open, Dak then pitched the dangerous Abreu carefully, trying to get him to fish at not strikes. Alas, that didn’t work, as Abreu walked to put runners on first and second with 2 outs.

Next batter Eloy Jimenez pulled his hands in and yanked a sinker that didn’t sink down the 3B line for a single, making it 1-0 Sox, putting runners at first and third.

Yet another dangerous hitter, Edwin Encarnacion, next cranked a fly ball to deep center (100.3 mph EV), but Dylan Carlson tracked it down easily in front of the track.

Top of 2nd - Dylan got a hit. Nothing else noteworthy.

Canadian Strongman Tyler O’Neill chopped one to third and his Canadian speed made it a close play, but he was thrown out. Matt Carpenter next grounded out to first. Youngster Dylan Carlson, batting righty, impressed by getting the barrel to the ball on an 0-2 cutter way inside, singling on a liner to left.

His bat speed was too fast to capture on video, so here’s a still pic:

Next, Knizner flailed at two cutters to get down 1-2 then tapped a grounder to third for the third out.

Bottom of 2nd - Dakota remembered he was a ground-ball pitcher.

Dakota proved to his coaches he paid attention during Pitcher Fielding Practice (PFP), snagging a crisp come-back grounder off the bat of Luis Robert (at 109.1 mph) for out 1. Next hitter Nomar Mazara grounded out to Wong’s backhand in the outfield grass for out 2. And hey, just for symmetry, Dakota got 9th-place hitter Danny Mendick to ground out, with Carpenter taking care of it at third.

Top of 3rd - Nuthin’ doin’. Almost somethin’, but no.

Dex jumped on a rare mistake pitch from Keuchel out over the plate, lining it to right-center, but it hung up enough for the RF Mazara to make a running catch for out 1. Nogowski then grounded right into the shift, directly at second baseman Mendick positioned just to the right of the bag.

That turned the line-up over to bring Kolten back up for his second at-bat of the day. On a full count, he rolled over on a wide sinker, grounding out to his counterpart at second.

Bottom of 3rd - Dakota looked sharper with command for a clean inning.

The Sox turned their lineup over, but Tim Anderson led off with a harmless ground-out to short. Dak then got Moncada to go after a good curve on pitch one, grounding out to Nogowski, who tossed to Dak for the out. Grandal then did not time a slider well, flying out to Dex in right.

Top of 4th - More unlucky lead-off loud noise.

Like Dex in the previous inning, Edman led off with a screamer into right (106 mph), but was likewise unlucky, as it was not far from the right fielder, producing an out. Pauly G worked a walk, the first Dallas gave up on the day to that point.

TON couldn’t advance him, as he flew out harmlessly to right. Keuchel then carved up Carpenter on 3 pitches, all sinkers down and in that he whiffed at for a 3-pitch K.

Bottom of 4th - Dak got the 3-4-5 hitters to chase his breaking pitches for a 1-2-3 inning.

Abreu is an aggressive hitter, but that was his downfall in his lead-off at-bat, as he hacked at a 2-2 curve in the dirt for a strikeout. Likewise, next batter Jimenez swung at a similar not-strike curve down and away to produce an out, but in his case, he made contact and lofted it to center for a fly-out. Dak got his third strikeout of the day vs. Encarnacion, getting him to chase a sweeping slider down and away.

Top of 5th - Carlson joined the loud-out lead-off curse of today.

Dylan led off and jumped all over a middle-in cutter, hitting a screamer to left (108.3 mph) that unfortunately was right at the fielder for out 1. Knzizner followed by grounding out to short. Dex next got good wood on one again, but it was a grounder just to the backhand of the second baseman, who gloved it cleanly and threw him out.

Bottom of 5th - Young righty Roel Ramirez entered in relief of Dakota. It did not go well. He initially was unlucky twice, but then horrible 4 times in a row.

Roel announced his presence with authority, striking out young stud Luis Robert with a nasty splitter tipped into Knizner’s mitt for his first MLB strikeout. He next got a bit unlucky, as Mazara grounded one through the infield against the shift. “Normal” positioning woulda produced an out, but that’s the way it goes.

The Sox then successfully executed a run and hit, with Mazara rolling one into right field, where the second baseman would’ve been had he not been covering second for the steal.

Now with first and third and 1 out, Tim Anderson stepped in. The Sox got greedy with their stealth, as Knizner nailed Mendick with a laser, spot-on throw at second four out 2. The runner stayed put at third.

Roel lost Roberts, however with a walk to re-set runners at first and third. On the first pitch to Moncada, Roel spiked a curve that ricocheted off Knizner for a wild pitch. It bounced only far enough away, though to allow Anderson to get to second; Mazara remained at third.

Knizner made another great block on another spiked curve that landed in front of the plate, saving a run. Alas, young Roel then grooved a 92 mph fastball that Moncada launched into right (417 ft) to up Chicago’s lead to 4-0.

Adding insult to injury, Grandal then smoked a no-doubter dinger (425 ft) also into right on a meat fastball, his first as a White Sox to make it 5-0.

Not to be out-done, next batter Abreu also hit a tater, his variety a line drive off a change-up into the LF corner (372 ft) , staying just fair. 6-0.

Oh, sure, why not? Jimenez then wanted to see if he could make the young hurler cry, launching a moon-shot home run into left (402 ft) off a slider to make it 7-0.

That’s a total of 1,616 feet worth of home run.


Shildt finally came to the mound, bringing in another debuter, Seth Elledge, who granted, needed just one out, but fared much better. He struck out Encarnacion on 3 pitches to end the carnage.

Top of 6th - Two instances of bad base running by rookie Nogowski initially kept the Birds off the Board. Carpenter came through later to change that.

Nagowski singled to center for his first Major League hit, heaving a huge sigh of relief at first base afterward. See?

Kolten followed that up with a single to right to make it first and third. Tommy, however, grounded into a force-out, third to second. He was safe at first. Nagowski stayed at third for some reason.

Now with first and third again and 1 out, Goldy dribbled one to first. This time for some reason, Nogowski broke for home and was out by a mile. Goldy reached first safely. Now with first and second 2 out, Tyler worked a walk to load the up for Carpenter, who shot a single to right to score 2, making it 7-2.

Keuchel then was pulled for righty reliever Jimmy Cordero to face Dylan Carlson with runners on first and second. He hit a soft liner off the end of the bat to center for the last out.

Bottom of 6th - Knizner notched his second caught stealing.

Knizner was called for catcher’s interference on the first batter Robert, giving the Sox a gift runner. He made up for that, however, as he nailed Robert trying to steal for his second caught stealing of the day. The throw was high and wide, but Tommy made a nice slap-tag to get the out. It was close; the Sox did not challenge.

Elledge got his second strikeout by getting Mazara with a backward K on an inside 95 mph heater. He then jammed Mendick, who flew out to Kolten on a running catch into shallow right.

Top of 7th - Base runners, but none made it home.

Knizner grounded out sharply to third for out 1. Dex followed by singling to right just beyond the reach of the diving second baseman. Nogowski, still flyin’ high after his first hit, was sent back to Earth, striking out swinging for out 2. Kolten worked a walk to make it first and second 2 outs. Tommy couldn’t keep the rally going, as he was called out on strikes on a pitch outside the zone.

Bottom of 7th - Elledge remained in and seemed to gain more confidence, as he struck out the side (the 1-2-3 hitters).

Elledge sat down lead-off hitter Tim Anderson with high heat for out 1. He used a nice sweeping slider against Moncada to K him swinging as well. Feeling his oats, he returned to the elevated gas, getting Grandal to take a mighty whiff and fall to one knee in the process.

Top of 8th - Righty reliever Matt Foster came in to bridge the game for the Sox. A long fly gave brief hope, but it wasn’t to be.

Goldschmidt led off by lining a single to right-center. Tyler didn’t get around on a down-and-in fastball and inside-outed a fly ball to right on the first pitch for the first out. Matt Carpenter did his best to get the Cards back in it, sending a deep fly to right center, but Luis Robert leapt and caught it a step in front of the wall. Dylan then flew out to left to end the inning.

Bottom of 8th - Another debut: lefty Rob Kaminski entered in relief of Elledge and had a clean 1-2-3 inning. Brad Miller came in to play short for Edman. Bader came in to CF; Dylan went to RF to replace Dex. Max Schrock came in to 2B to replace Wong.

Kaminski sat his first batter down with a grounder, nicely plucked via backhand by Miller. He then got his first Big League K, striking out Jimenez. He then got Encarnacion to ground out to third for the final out.

Top of 9th - Lefty Ross Detwiler came in to clean things up for the Sox. He did.

Knizner went down swinging, striking out on a fastball up and away. Next batter Miller did the same, but he waved at a sweeping slider, a tough one lefty on lefty. Nogowski then popped out to third for the final out.

Bottom of 9th

Not applicable.

The Bottom Line

  • After escaping the first giving up just the 1 run, Dakota pitched well over the next 3. In the end, he gave up 2 H and had 3 Ks, 1 BB. Would’ve been nice to see him go longer, but of course, it’d been 3 weeks since his last start.
  • The Cards couldn’t string anything together (6 H; 3 BB) and had few chances, going 1-5 with RISP.
  • The Sox only had 8 H and 2 BB (and 10 SOs!). But when half of your competition’s hits are homers, it’s usually gonna be a tough day.
  • But special shout-out to Elledge and Kaminsky, who shut out the Sox with no hits for the final 3.1 innings.
  • And kudos to Knizner throwing out 2 Sox trying to steal!
  • The outcomes for the 4 Cards making their Major League debuts:

- John Nogowski: 1-4 (single); 1 K; 1 very questionable & 1 bad base running decision

- Roel Ramierez (stay strong): .2 IP; 6 R; 6 H (2 1Bs, 4 straight HRs with 2 outs); 1 SO; 1 BB

- Seth Elledge: 2.1 IP; 0 R; 0 H; 5 SOs; 0 BB

- Rob Kaminsky: 1.0 IP; 0 R; 0 H; 1 SO; 0 BB

  • And apparently, the home-run barrage was history-making. (Sorry Roel. I blame Shildt.)
  • The Cards travel just to the North Side of Chicago to play a 5-game series vs. the Cubs, including 2 DHs that will bookend a single game. Unusually, the Cards will be the home team for one game in each of the DHs.