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Cards win 2023 finale, send Waino off in style

Cincinnati Reds v St. Louis Cardinals Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Forget about how bad this season was. Yes, the Cardinals finished 71-91 and put together their worst season since 1995. But today was all about Adam Wainwright.

Firstly, Jordan Walker had three hits and helped guide the Cardinals to a season-ending 4-3 win over the Reds, who they had eliminated from postseason contention the night before.

The game did not start well, as former Cardinal farmhand Nick Martini hit a leadoff home run to put the Reds up 1-0. Irving Lopez picked up his first career RBI with a sac fly to tie the game. After Elly De La Cruz put the Reds back in front, Walker tied things up with an RBI double and scored on Luken Baker’s double. Jose Fermin also drove in a run to make it 4-2.

Things got interesting late, but the Cardinals held off the Reds and won 4-3 to cap off a dreadful season on a high note. Let’s get into some takeaways from today’s win.

Mikolas throws a gem

Miles Mikolas drew the start for St. Louis this afternoon and he pitched quite well. I have to admit, I was really worried this past month when he had three consecutive starts of allowing at least five earned runs. But after he threw a gem in Milwaukee last week, he followed it up with yet another today.

He scattered seven hits and allowed three runs. He did not walk a batter and even recorded 10 strikeouts over seven innings.

To me, this was really encouraging, but what impressed me the most was the fact that he never wavered and worked out of trouble. Things got a little hairy in the seventh when the Reds added a run, but Miles worked his way out of trouble again and earned his ninth win of the year.

It’s no secret that this was not a good season for Mikolas, which casted a little doubt over whether or not the contract extension this spring was the right move. He went 9-13 with a 4.78 ERA, but he at least finished strong, and I think he’ll be back to his old self in 2024.

Waino’s goodbye

Today was all about Waino. I really enjoyed the ceremony. Having Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina back made it even sweeter. What stood out to me the most though was that Chris Carpenter was brought to tears when he recalled a great moment between himself and Waino. We always saw Carp as a bulldog and a badass who was intense and always focused. But I think it’s clear that he’s a great guy and was touched by Waino like so many.

I have to say the highlight was the puppy. Believe it or not, on my way out of the stadium, I saw Waino’s family walking away with the puppy. It was a pretty cute puppy.

Mo being booed was quite hilarious in my opinion, but it didn’t sour the mood. And getting to see Waino take one last at-bat was great. I wanted to see him finish by hitting a bomb, but it wasn’t to be.

Still, when Yadi flashed the sign saying he wanted to see Waino hit, you knew it was going to happen, and it was truly a beautiful moment.

Cardinal Nation won’t be the same without the veteran right-hander, but I hope he understands just how much we love him, despite how poorly this season has been for him.

He was the ace of the staff when I was growing up, and he’ll always be the ace to me.

Onto 2024!