Nothing Up their Sleeves: In a bit of a cosmic nod from the GOBs last night, the Cards’ Magic Number was reduced to match that of a certain Cardinal who had a big night....
No, not the young guy with a homer and double with 3 RBIs. The 39-year-old cyborg catcher who got his 2,000 hit! Yadi and the Cards’ Magic Number 4 entered tonight with yet another shot at getting to a season-high 3 over.
That’s the Fact, Jack: Jack came in with a score to settle with the Brewers, who roughed him up two outings ago for 9 earned runs off 8 hits (2 HRs) in just 3 innings of work. He did strike out 6, but it was his worst outing since June of last year when he gave up 7 ER vs. the A’s.
Suter, not Sutter: Lefty Brent Suter went for the Brew Crew (with Shildt auto-writing Harrison Bader’s name in the lineup). Suter’s having a nice 2020, with a 3.15 ERA (3.15 FIP), but that’s over just 3 starts and 27.2 IP.
Only the Shadow Knows: With the 4:15 CT game start, the hitters were in the shadows, with a swath of sunlight between them and Jack, who also was in the shadows. But by the time the bottom of the 2nd started, both batter and pitcher were in shadows.
The Bird’s-Eye View
For whatever reason, the Brewers have had Jack’s number over his young career. They’ve scored the most off him than any others, and it’s not even close. The Brewers have touched him for 37 runs over 11 games. The next-highest total? The Cubs with 19.
Jack got BABI’d in the 2nd, with a walk and 3 instances of weak contact (2 hits and a fielder’s choice) that totaled just 242 mph but plated 2 runs. That inning bloated his pitch count to 39 already. He had 4 walks overall on the day, which kept the bases clogged.
And the Cards’ offense was a great cure for insomnia, producing just 5 hits (which were so spaced out they felt like 2) and 1 walk with 7 strikeouts.
Brent Suter proved you don’t have to throw hard for success. His “fastball” tops out at barely 90, and he used it wisely, pairing it up in the zone with changeups down. The Cards never could time him up, producing just 1 hit through 3, and that was a weak infield single by Kolten Wong to start the game. It took them until the 4th to get their second hit, and that was Suter’s last inning.
But this was not a case of getting BABPI’d, as the Cards just couldn’t barrel him up. They had zero—zip—nada—no hard contact (over 95 mph EV) off him through 4. They didn’t even get a runner to second against him.
The Brewers also erased even the glimmer of a rally, turning three double plays on the day.
In the third, the Brewers added another single tally and Cards’ fans got a scare. With one out and Jack facking Yelich, he landed awkwardly on his lead foot and tumbled during his follow-through. After a trainer visit, he was deemed fine. Unfortunately, later in the at-bat, Yelich took him deep to make it 3-0, which felt like an insurmountable mountain, as the 2020 Cards aren’t exactly built for comebacks. And if you’ve looked at the title of this recap, you know that was the final score.
In the end, the Brewers only had 4 hard contact off Jack, and the homer was the only one hit safely.
The Cards eventually, got a runner reach second, but it wasn’t until Goldy’s lead-off double in the 7th off Josh Hader. A ground-out and two strike-outs followed to end the game.
The Flight Path
Top of 1st - Two K’s already on two different curves helped create a clean inning.
Paul DeJong had Jack’s back, as first batter Avisail Garcia smacked a 1-2 slider sharply on the ground (98 mph EV) to short, but Paul ranged to his left, kept his glove on the dirt, set himself, and fired a strike to the other Paul for out 1.
Starting off with a 1-2-3 inning!— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 25, 2020
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Mr. Christian Yelich got to a full count, but became Jack’s first K by waving over a huge, arching curve that started at Yelich’s eyes and ended below the zone for the second out. Jack busted out a curve of a different flavor on a 2-2 count to Braun, one thrown a few mph faster and was more slurvy, tilting low and away as Braun whiffed for the final out.
Bottom of 1st - A lead-off lucky hit was spurned, as Suter pitched like he got paid by the number of pitches/minute.
Kolten Wong busted out his Speed Tool, squibbing a slow grounder to third that Eric Sogard bobbled slightly, which was more than enough to allow Kolten to reach on an infield hit. Tommy seemed over-anxious (or wasn’t picking up the ball in the shadows), as he got three-straight mid-80’s fastballs, and after fouling of the first one, he swung through the last 2, which were way high and outside.
Paul Goldschmidt ended the inning with a line-drive double play, hitting it softly (79 mph EV) to shortstop Orlando Arcia, who fired to first to catch Kolten off first.
Top of 2nd (In Play, Run(s)) - A lead-off walk and lots of weak contact produced 2.
Jack went to a full count to cleanup hitter DH Daniel Vogelbach. Jack sprayed pitches middle-down, inside, and outside, but Vogelbach didn’t chase, earning the free pass. Keston Hiura then got just enough good wood on an 89 mph sinker (78 mph EV) that bore in on him, but he got it through the middle of the infield into center for a single, making it 1st and 2nd for Jedd Gyorko.
Jedd topped a slider well off the plate, chopping it slowly to 3rd. Edman charged it well, gloved it cleanly, and fired to first to get the out, as the runners advanced to 2nd and 3rd now with one out.
The middle infielders were back, and the corners were even with the bags. Lefty Eric Sogard bonked an up-and-in 95 mph fastball for a fliner into center (83 mph EV) that scored Vogelbach with Hiura stopping at third, making it 1-0 Brewers.
Orlando Arcia grounded weakly to Edman at 3rd, Hirua broke for home, Tommy briefly looked that way, but decided to take the second out at first, making it 2-0 Milwaukee. Hiura possibly blocked his throwing lane toward home.
Finally, Jack got weak contact that produced an out, as he got Omar Narvaez to pop out to Tommy at third.
Bottom of 2nd - If the Cards could lay off high fastballs, they’d be dangerous.
DeJong led off the inning by getting fed a steady diet of 4 high fastballs. After changing speeds with a changeup, he got him to chase another high fastball above the zone to strike out, which you’ve seen many times before.
Yadi got the reverse treatment as three of the five pitches he saw were changeups. But he likewise whiffed through a high not-strike fastball for the second, repetitive out. Dexter Fowler then ended the frame by flying out to right.
Top of 3rd (In Play, Run(s)) - Jack tumbled, literally. The Brewers added another tally.
The Brewers’ lineup turned over to start this inning. Jack went all hard stuff, attacking him in the zone, getting a 3-pitch swinging strikeout. An an 0-2 pitch to Yelich, Jack fell as he followed through, as the pitch veered low and inside, almost hitting Yelich’s foot. A reply showed his landing foot twisted, causing him to tumble.
After your heart came back down from your throat, the trainer left the field and Jack said he was okay.
Jack went to a full count, then Yelich put a charge into a slider, homering to dead center (104 mph EV, 425 ft) to make it 3-0. It wasn’t a bad pitch, but wasn’t outside enough and wasn’t down enough, and good hitter took advantage.
Jack then got Braun to ground out to short for the second out, not using a slider, but the following hitter Vogelbach walked. Jack came back to strike out Hiura swinging on an up-and-in 95 mph heater.
Bottom of 3rd - Dylan led off with a walk, but it lead to nothing but disappointment.
Getting a hitter’s 3-1 count, Dylan Carlson didn’t chase an over-but-high fastball, and took his walk. Conversely, Tyler O’Neill got down 1-2 and did in fact, go after the high “heat,” at 86 mph for out 1.
Harrison Bader then offered at a low-and-away not-strike changeup, tapping it to pitcher Suter, who flung it to second to force Dylan, but the relay was too late to get Bader. That got Kolten up to the dish, but he popped out to shallow right, caught by the second baseman to end the frame.
Top of 4th - Good defense kept this a clean inning.
Jedd Gyorko began the 4th by grounding an easy one to Pauly D, but the shortstop turned it into a difficult play for Goldy. His throw was high, pulling the tall first-bagger of the base, but the Gold-Glover was able to tag Jedd on the way down for out 1.
Sogard, however, went the other way with an over but high fastball, knocking it into left for a single. Dylan saved a run and prevented another in scoring position by making a nice running catch on a liner in sunny right field. With the Wayfarers on, he loped to his right to pull the ball down that was otherwise destined for the gap.
Jack then got a come-backer off the bat of Narvaez to end the inning.
Bottom of 4th - Somebody tell the Cards this game is only 7 innings.
Tommy Edman started things off by grounding out to short. Goldschmidt lined one, but not that hard, right at the well-positioned second baseman Hiura, who had shaded him toward the bag.
After getting ahead of DeJong 0-2, the count went full. Paul then got a fastball out and over the plate that he took the other way, lining it softly (79 mph EV) into right for a single. Yadi then grounded to Sogard at third, who slid to his left to glove it then fired to second for the inning-ending force.
Top of 5th - The Brewers couldn’t tack on despite 2 walks to start this frame.
Now came the third time through the order spot of the game, and Jack gave up back-to-back walks to lead-off man Garcia then Yelich. Jack then made a good pitch against his nemesis Braun, jamming him to produce a grounder directly at DeJong, who flipped to Kolten, who turned the DP as Garcia advanced to third, but now with 2 outs.
Vogelbach got down 1-2 then couldn’t catch up to a well-placed 2-2 fastball on the corner to end the inning.
Bottom of 5th - Righty Devin Williams (St. Louis native, don’t ya know) came into relief. A one-out single wasn’t enough to spark a rally.
Dex was out in front of a 1-1 changeup, grounding it softly to first baseman Gyorko, who took it unassisted for the first out. Dylan then got some good fortune, grounding one to Hiura’s right at second. The keystoner back-handed it and attempted an off-balance jump-throw, but it was off-target, allowing Dylan to reach on an infield single. (An on-target throw woulda made it close, but Dylan might’ve beaten it out anyway.)
Brad Miller then entered to pinch-hit for O’Neill.
Miller produced the Cards’ very first hard contact on the day, (107 mph EV) and of course, it was on the ground right to third baseman Sogard, who was positioned on the 2nd-base side of 2nd, who then flipped to Arcia to start the double play that ended the frame.
Top of 6th - John Grant relieved Jack. Miller stayed in to play 3B. Tommy went to left, as Tyler’s day was done. John re-injured himself; Helsley set down the three hitters he saw.
Hiura greeted Gant by lining a single to right on a middle-middle 89 mph sinker. Before throwing another pitch, the trainer and Mike Shildt came out to the mound. It looked like he re-aggravated his recent groin injury.
Ryan Helsley grabbed his personal rosin bag and trotted to the mound to provide the unexpected appearance.
Ryan made quick work of the first two batters, striking out Gyorko looking at a high cutter, just needing 3 pitches to do so and whiffing Sogard swinging on a pitch 4 curve up and out of the zone that he regardless couldn’t resist. Helsley then retired Arcia on a fly-out to Bader in right-center.
Bottom of 6th - Luis Urias replaced 2B-man Hiura (who’s not in the league because of his D).
Bader fought off a 96 mph fastball in on his hands, floating a duck-snort just barely over the shortstop’s head into left-center for a single. He was erased, however, as next batter Kolten grounded into a 6-3 double play.
Top of 7th - Tyler Webb came in to show the Brewers a lefty. He kept them off the board.
Kolten fielded an easy grounder in the outfield grass to produce out 1 against Narvaez. The next grounder however, off the bat of Garcia, was hit more firmly, and it went off the back-hand glove of DeJong, bounding into left, ruled a base hit.
Webb, however, got the dangerous Yelich to tap one back to him, which he fielded while still on the mound, paused a beat, then fired to second to start the inning-ending double play.
Bottom of 7th - All the Cards had to do was score 3 against Hader. Sogard went from third to second. Urias went from second to third. Tyrone Tayler replaced Braun in right.
Hey! Goldy smacked a 1-1 94 mph fastball into left-center for a lead-off double, their first runner to reach there on the day! DeJong couldn’t advance him, next grounding out to third for out 1.
Yadi worked the count full, getting a mix of sliders and fastballs. But on pitch 8, Hader went up the ladder, getting Yadi to wave through a 95 mph fastball up and away.
Now Dex was the last hope. He also got a full count, but when looking fastball, he got the slider down and in, and he kinda sorta half-swung/half tried to check his swing, producing an ugly looking strikeout to end the game.
Cards lost, 3-0.
The Bottom Line
- Jack’s line: 5.0 IP, 3 ERs on 4 H (1 solo HR), 4 BB, 5 SO
- The homer Jack gave up to Yelich in the 3rd made it the 8th-straight game against the Brewers that he’s given up a dinger.
Has anyone looked for garbage cans and monitors in the Brewers’ tunnel?
- Braun came in 8-17 against Jack.
But he was 0-fer today.
- The Brewers came in winning 18 of the 19 games Hader has pitched against the Cards. Make that 19 of 20.
- Goldy came in having reached base in every game against the Brewers this season.
He kept that streak alive by doubling in his final at-bat.
- The Cards were 0-3 with RISP (all in the 7th); the Brewers were 1-6.
- The Cards were part of a sleep study: