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Cards’ Big Bats Go Silent As Phillies Sweep with 2-0 Victory in Game 2

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Well, I thought last night’s recap was tough, but this one takes the cake, as the Cards’ season comes to a jarring end. Getting skunked by the Phils was not an unpredictable outcome with their 1-2 punch of Wheeler and Nola presenting a formidable obstacle to overcome in a three-game series. But there was hope that the Cards could at some point get to Philly’s bullpen at least once over the two games to reach a Game 3 and pull it out with home field advantage. The Cards actually outhit the Phils 12-9 in the series, and 7-4 in Game 2, but the Cards just couldn’t find a way to score. There’s no sense in placing blame, but the Cards’ offense was, in large part, carried by Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado all year, and the two simply didn’t produce. Goldy went 0-7 with 4 strikeouts ( 3 strikeouts today) and got hit once. Arenado went 1-8 with 2 strikeouts, but he did hit a ball that could have been a homer in a different park yesterday. When you only score 3 runs in just one game out of two and all 3 runs were driven in by bench players, it’s tough to win. We basically got shut down by the Phillies’ starters who, combined, allowed 5 hits and no runs in 13 innings pitched with 10 strikeouts and 2 walks. Our pitching was competitive, but our offense was not enough. It was nice to see Pujols and Molina get base hits in the final plate appearance of their careers at home, but it will be a long winter wondering how far the Cards could have gone.

Miles Mikolas took the mound for the Cards, and started things off by striking Kyle Schwarber out swinging at a low-and-in 2-2 curve. Rhys Hoskins sharply grounded a 1-2 low-and-in fastball to Nolan Arenado towards the 3rd base line for the 2nd out. J.T. Realmuto popped a 1-2 high-and-inside fastball to shallow center to end the inning. Aaron Nola took the hill for the Cards. Lars Nootbaar crushed a 1-1 outside fastball, lining it to right-center. Brandon Marsh raced to his left from his center field position, and made a nice play to knock it down on a hop and deflect the ball to his left to prevent the ball from going to the wall. The deflection allowed Nootbaar to hustle into 2nd base. This was scored as a single and an error, which was unfair to both players. Unfortunately, the Cards couldn’t bring him around. Albert Pujols struck out swinging over a 1-2 low change. Paul Goldschmidt was looking for something else and struck out looking at a low 2-2 fastball. Nolan Arenado flied an outside 0-1 cutter deep to right-center, but Nick Castellanos caught it at the track to end the inning.

Bryce Harper launched a first-pitch low-and-in curve from Mikolas deep into the right field seats for a solo HR to give the Phils a 1-0 lead to start the top of the 2nd.

Nick Castellanos grounded a 1-1 outside slider to 3rd. Alec Bohm sharply grounded a 3-2 down-the-middle fastball right to Donovan at 2nd for the 2nd out. Brandon Marsh struck out looking at a 1-2 high fastball to end the inning. Brendan Donovan grounded a down-the-middle 0-2 sinker to 2nd to lead off the bottom half. Juan Yepez grounded a low 2-2 sinker to 3rd. Corey Dickerson chased a low-and-in 0-1 change and grounded out to 2nd to end the inning.

Jean Segura popped an 0-2 high fastball foul to Goldschmidt against the railing for the first out of the top of the 3rd. Bryson Stott, on the 9th pitch of the plate appearance, smoked a 2-2 low-and-away fastball, but right at Noot in medium center for the out. Schwarber lined an 0-1 low-and-away fastball right at Arenado opposite the shift to end the inning. To lead off the bottom of the 3rd, Yadier Molina smoked a 1-1 low-and-away curve towards the 3rd base line, but Bohm made a great stab for the out.

Tommy Edman was down in the count 1-2, but worked a 3-2 walk. Nootbaar struck out swinging at a low-and-in 1-2 curve. Pujols sharply grounded a first-pitch down-the-middle sinker towards the 2nd base bag, but Segura was positioned there and threw to first to end the inning.

Hoskins flied an 0-1 up-and-in fastball to shallow left to lead off the top of the 4th. After Realmuto worked a 3-2 walk, Harper struck out swinging at a 2-2 low curve. Castellanos chased ball four, and grounded a high-and-outside 3-2 fastball to short to end the inning. Goldschmidt flied a hanging 2-1 curve to left to start the bottom half. Arenado lined an up-and-in 0-1 curve towards the 3rd base line, but Bohm made an outstanding backhanded catch with quick reflexes and extension.

Donovan struck out chasing a low-and-away 1-2 backdoor curve that was almost in the dirt to end the inning.

To start the top of the 5th, Bohm got a 2-2 fastball in the heart of the zone and smoked it into left-center. The ball bounced on the track and over the wall for a ground rule double. Marsh executed a drag bunt on the first pitch, and pushed it towards the first base line. Mikolas raced over, barehanded the ball, and flipped it to first while falling to the ground for an excellent play to nip Marsh at first. Marsh didn’t square around until Mikolas was in his motion, but the play was ruled a sacrifice that moved Bohm to 3rd.

The Cards brought the infield in, but Mikolas hit Segura on the left elbow with a 2-0 inside sinker. The Cards stalled for time, then brought Jordan Montgomery to pitch to Stott with runners at the corners. Montgomery walked him on 4 pitches to load the bases for Schwarber, who flied a hanging high 2-2 curve to right. The Sac Fly scored Bohm to give the Phils a 2-0 lead. Yepez had no real chance to get Segura at 3rd, but fired the ball there anyway, which allowed Stott to advance to 2nd base.

Hoskins struck out chasing a 2-2 low-and-in curve to strand the runners.

Yepez led off the bottom of the 5th by lining an inside 0-2 sinker to left for a base hit. Dickerson grounded a 3-2 hanging curve slowly to 3rd for the 5-4 force. Molina chased an inside 0-1 fastball that almost hit him, squibbing it to 3rd. Bohm charged and fired to 2nd, but Dickerson slid in safely before the throw. Segura was still able to throw Molina out at first, 5-4-3. With a runner at 2nd and 2 out, Edman chased an outside backdoor 2-2 curve and grounded out to short to end the inning.

Realmuto worked a 3-2 walk to lead off the top of the 6th, and Montgomery’s last pitch of the plate appearance sailed to the backstop. Harper grounded a high-and-outside 0-1 fastball up the middle for a base hit. Realmuto beat Noot’s throw to 3rd, but Harper decided to try to run to 2nd. Arenado fired a strike to 2nd, and the call on the field was that Arenado threw Harper out. The Phils challenged the play, and on review, it looked like Donovan was too slow to get the tag down and that Harper’s left hand hit the bag before Donovan tagged him on the chest. Somehow, the booth crew in New York ordered the call on the field to stand.

Castellanos grounded a first-pitch low curve right to Arenado in front of the 3rd base bag. He looked Realmuto back before throwing Castellanos out at first for the 2nd out. The Cards intentionally walked Bohm to put runners at the corners for the lefty Marsh. With the count 0-2 on Marsh, Bohm ran to 2nd as Montgomery threw to first. Bohm could have had 2nd base, but he stopped short of it, trying to get in a rundown. Goldschmidt fired to Edman, and then Bohm ran back to first. At this point, Realmuto raced for home, but Edman threw Bohm out at first. The inning ended with 1-3-6-3 pickoff and caught stealing.

Nootbaar grounded an outside 2-1 curve to 2nd to lead off the bottom half. Pujols poked an outside 0-2 curve off the end of the bat and through the hole to left for a base hit. Goldschmidt struck out swinging at a 2-2 high hanging cutter at the top of the zone. Arenado chased a 1-2 fastball about neck high and struck out to end the inning.

To lead off the top of the 7th, Marsh skied an up-and-in 1-0 fastball to deep right-center. Yepez was close to the ball, but when he saw Noot racing in from center, he stopped, and the ball bounced between them on the track and over the wall for a ground rule double. If the ball had not gone over the wall, Marsh would have had a stand-up triple easy. Segura laid down a beautiful bunt down the 3rd base line for the 5-4 sacrifice to move Marsh to 3rd. Arenado had to make a great charging play just to get Segura at first.

Stott struck out swinging at a high 0-2 sinker. Schwarber couldn’t check his swing and struck out on a 2-2 curve in the dirt to end the inning, and the Cards fortunately got out of the jam. Donovan flied a down-the-middle 2-0 fastball to medium center to lead off the bottom of the 7th. Yepez chased a pitch that would have been ball four, fouled it off, then grounded a 3-2 low-and-away curve to 3rd. Dickerson lined a high 0-2 fastball, Nola’s 101st pitch, to center for a 2-out base hit. The Phils then brought in lefty Jose Alvarado to pitch to Molina, who popped an outside 2-2 fastball foul to the first baseman Hoskins to end the inning.

Giovanny Gallegos came out for the Cards to pitch the top of the 8th. Hoskins grounded a high-and-outside 2-2 fastball to short for the first out. Realmuto popped an inside fastball high to the right side of the infield, where Edman got under it for the second out. Harper tapped a low slider slowly to Goldy at first for the 3-1 flip to end the inning. Edman chased an inside 2-2 95 mph cutter and grounded it slowly to 3rd to lead off the bottom of the 8th. Nootbaar worked a 3-2 walk, and looked at a 99 mph sinker that looked like it clipped the bottom part of the zone. The Phils then brought in righty Seranthony Dominguez to pitch to Pujols. Pujols smacked a 2-1 inside sinker past the 3rd base line, but the ball bounced off the front part of the side wall, holding him to a single that moved Noot to 2nd. Here’s the final at-bat in Pujols’ career.

Ben DeLuzio ran for Pujols. Goldschmidt struck out chasing a 99 mph 3-2 sinker that was in the dirt. Each of his three swings-and-misses were on pitches that were nowhere close. Arenado struck out swinging at a low 1-2 slider to end the inning and strand two runners. Here’s a clip of the two strikeouts.

Jordan Hicks came out to pitch the top of the 9th for the Cards. DeLuzio became the DH. Castellanos struck out chasing an inside 1-2 slider. After Bohm walked on 5 pitches, Edmundo Sosa ran for him. Marsh torched a low 101-mph sinker on the ground right at Hicks at the mound. Somehow Hicks came up with it, spun, and fired to 2nd for an inning-ending 1-6-3 double play.

It’s the last chance for the Cards. Sosa stayed in the game at third base for the bottom of the 9th, and the Phils brought in righty Zach Eflin to try and end the series. Donovan smoked a 1-1 hanging curve, but right to Segura at 2nd base for the first out. Yepez flied a low 2-2 curve to right. Dickerson golfed a low 2-2 curve, slicing it for a bloop base hit into left-center to keep the Cards alive. Molina lined a 1-2 low-and-away cutter to right-center for a base hit to move Dickerson to 3rd. Here’s the final at-bat of Molina’s career.

Dylan Carlson ran for Molina. With runners at the corners, Edman popped a high 2-2 cutter foul for Sosa right by the Phillies dugout to end the game and the series.

Mikolas (4 days rest) 4.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO, 1 HR, HBP; Montgomery (6 days rest, top 5, 1 out, men on 1st and 3rd, down 1-0) 2.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 1 IBB, 3 SO, allowed 1 out of 2 inherited runners to score; Gallegos (no rest, top 8, down 2-0) 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO; Hicks (no rest, top 9, down 2-0) 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 SO.

Nola 6.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 SO; Alvarado (bottom 7, 2 out, man on 1st, ahead 2-0) .2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 SO; Dominguez (bottom 8, 1 out, man on 1st, ahead 2-0) .2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 SO; Eflin (bottom 9, ahead 2-0) 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 SO


The Phils used only 4 out of their 10 relievers, and 6 out of 13 pitchers...Since the 2019 NLDS against the Braves, the Cards are 1-9 in playoff games. Over the last 10 playoff games, the club has scored 26 runs, hit .178 as a club, and gone 11 for 78 with men in scoring position. The club scored 26 runs in the 2019 NLDS alone...The Blue Jays had an 8-1 lead over the Mariners going into the top of the 6th, but couldn’t hold it. They were still winning 9-5 in the top of the 8th. After cutting the Jays’ lead to 9-6, with 2 out and the bases loaded, J.P. Crawford hit a bloop to short center. Shortstop Bo Bichette and center fielder George Springer had a nasty collision, which allowed all three runs to score to tie the game. Springer had to be carried off the field on a cart. The Mariners would win the game and the series on Adam Frazier’s RBI double in the top of the 9th...The Guardians would also sweep the Rays, but today’s game would take 15 innings. Oscar Gonzalez hit a walkoff homer off of Corey Kluber to give the Guardians the 1-0 victory and the series...The only Wild Card Series that has turned out not to be a sweep is the Padres-Mets series. The Mets won Game 2 7-3, blowing the game open in the 7th off of Adrian Morejon and Pierce Johnson. Game 3 of that series will be the only baseball game on tomorrow night. Joe Musgrove of the Padres figures to match up against Chris Bassitt of the Mets.