We’re almost to May, and the Cardinals are toiling in last place in the NL Central. Not great! Here are the starting lineups tonight for both the Cardinals and Dodgers.
- Tommy Edman, 2B
- Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
- Nolan Arenado, 3B
- Willson Contreras, DH
- Dylan Carlson, CF
- Tyer O’Neill, LF
- Paul DeJong, SS
- Andrew Knizner, C
- Lars Nootbaar, RF
Jordan Montgomery - SP
And the Dodgers:
- Mookie Betts, RF
- Freddie Freeman, 1B
- Will Smith, DH
- Chris Taylor, SS
- Max Muncy, 3B
- Miguel Vargas, 2B
- James Outman, CF
- Trayce Thompson, LF
- Austin Barnes, C
Clayton Kershaw - SP
Jordan Montgomery registered his fourth quality start of the season and looked stronger as the game went on, but Clayton Kershaw was even better. The future Hall of Famer didn’t allow a base hit until the fifth inning, and although the Cardinals did threaten in the eighth and ninth innings after his exit, they were unable to muster a single run tonight. The Cardinals are now 10-18 on the season, and are 10 games behind the first-place Pittsburgh Pirates.
Are Cardinal fans simply paying their penance for the magical Albert Pujols joyride season? I’m starting to think so.
Anyway, here are the details of tonight’s pitchers duel....
Kershaw worked a quick first inning, getting Edman to ground out Goldschmidt to fly out to right field, and Arenado to pop out in foul territory.
Montgomery worked around a little traffic, but kept this game scoreless going to the second inning. Mookie Betts led off with a line drive single straight back up the box, but was erased a minute later when Freeman hit a ground ball to Goldschmidt at first. Goldy went to second base for the force out, but the Cardinals could not double up Freeman at first.
Will Smith drew a one-out walk, but Montgomery bounced back to strike out Taylor and Muncy to end the inning.
Another easy 1-2-3 inning for Kershaw. Contreras popped out in foul territory, Carlson flew out to right field, and O’Neill struck out swinging.
After a Vargas groundout, the rookie Outman whacked the sixth pitch of the at bat into left field for a one-out base knock. Montgomery struck out Trayce Thompson for the second out, but Outman took off for second on the final pitch of the at-bat. Knizner’s throw down to second took a bounce, Edman couldn’t handle it at second, and the ball rolled into center field. Outman took third with one out, and scored on a two-out RBI single from Austin Barnes, whose OPS jumped to .265 on that hit. Betts flew out to center field to end the inning, with the Dodgers leading 1-0.
Just like the first two innings, no resistance from the Cardinals in the third. Kershaw struck out DeJong and Knizner for the first two outs. Nootbaar hit a shallow fly ball into center field that looked like it might drop, but Outman dove forward and made the play to keep Noot off the bases.
Montgomery retired the Dodgers in order for the first time in the game — Freeman flew out to left, Smith grounded out to short, and Taylor struck out swinging at a changeup at the knees.
Kershaw retired the Cardinals in order for the fourth consecutive inning. Edman hit a high chopper to the right of Kershaw on the mound, but the former Gold Glove award winner hopped off the mound, got to the ball, and fired a dart to first to nab Edman. Goldschmidt popped out in foul territory, and Arenado struck out swinging.
Kershaw threw 43 pitches over the first four innings, 36 of them for strikes.
Muncy and Vargas both grounded out for the first two outs in the Dodgers’ half of the fourth, but Outman broke things up with a two-out single — his second hit of the game. Trayce Thompson struck out looking on an up and in fastball from Montgomery to end the inning.
Contreras struck out on a foul tip to start the fifth, but then Dylan Carlson, our lord and savior, broke up the no-hitter! Carlson served a 2-1 fastball into center field for a one-out single to give St. Louis its first baserunner of the game. O’Neill struck out and DeJong grounded out to end the Cardinals’ half of the inning, but hey, a hit!
Montgomery worked a scoreless sixth on nine pitches — Barnes flew out to right field, Betts flew out to center field (on a phenomenal play by Dylan Carlson), and Freeman grounded out to Goldschmidt at first base.
Kershaw struck out Knizner, struck out Nootbaar, and got Edman to ground out for a quick and easy top of the sixth. Kershaw worked through the first six innings on 70 pitches — 56 of them for strikes.
While the left-hander wearing blue and white was the story of the night, the Cardinals’ lefty was cooking, too. Montgomery put up his fourth-consecutive scoreless inning in the sixth. Smith flew out to O’Neill in left, Taylor struck out on three pitches, and Muncy grounded out to Edman at second base.
Goldschmidt led off the top of the seventh against Kershaw, and finished an eight-pitch at-bat with a base hit to right field. Arenado popped out on the infield for out number one, Contreras struck out swinging, and Carlson popped out to shallow right field. Goldschmidt never never left first base.
Vargas dug down and drove a 1-0 changeup from Montgomery into the left field corner for a leadoff double — the Dodgers’ first extra base hit of the game. However, Montgomery did his job to hold the runner right there, striking out Outman and getting Thompson to ground out to third base for two quick outs — while Vargas stayed put.
Montgomery walked the light-hitting Barnes on six pitches to put two on with two outs, and Oli Marmol walked out to the mound to lift him in favor of Jordan Hicks.
Hicks has looked better since being demoted to only “lower leverage situations”, and has not been scored on during his last four appearances. Those four appearances totaled 4.2 innings, and he struck out 11 while walking one and giving up four hits.
Hicks’ challenge on Saturday night was Betts, who he promptly struck out with a 103 mph sinker at the knees. The score was still 1-0 heading to the eighth.
Kershaw’s final line: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K’s (88 pitches)
Montgomery’s final line: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB’s, 7 K’s (93 pitches)
Dave Roberts did not send Kershaw back out for the eighth. Instead, right-hander Evan Philips made his ninth appearance of the season. It began with a strikeout of O’Neill, which was his third of the day — his first hat trick of the season. DeJong struck out as well, but Knizner drew a two-out walk to keep the inning alive. Nootbaar fell behind 0-2 against Phillips, spit on a slider in the dirt, and then hit a hot ground ball to Taylor at shortstop. The Dodgers’ shortstop couldn’t field it cleanly, and Nootbaar hustled to beat out Taylor’s throw at first.
With two on and two outs in a one-run game, the Cardinals pinch-hit Brendan Donovan for Tommy Edman. Donovan worked the count to 2-2, and then squared up a Phillips slider and ripped a line drive back up the middle.
…..unfortunately, Taylor was shaded a bit towards the second base bag, and made the catch to kill the Cardinals’ threat in the eighth.
98.2mph exit velocity, .830 xBA on that Donovan lineout, what a dumb sport— Stew (@StewStilez) April 30, 2023
Hicks remained in the game to face the rest of the heart of the Dodgers’ lineup. He walked Freeman on five pitches, but bounced back to strike out Will Smith for the first out and Taylor for the second out (which was also Taylor’s fourth strikeout of the game — golden sombrero!).
Oli took the ball from Hicks and brought in Genesis Cabrera to face the left-handed hitting Max Muncy with two outs. Cabrera walked Muncy to completely disregard the intended matchup, and had to face the right-handed Vargas with two runners on. Vargas popped a line drive into right-center field, but Carlson made an impressive sliding grab to end the inning.
The hard-throwing Venezuelan right-hander Brusdar Graterol took the mound in the ninth to shut it down. Goldschmidt flew out to left field and Arenado grounded out right back to Graterol for two quick outs, but Contreras delayed things with a two-out base knock to right field. Carlson grounded out to the shortstop Taylor to end the game.
FINAL: Dodgers 1, Cardinals 0
The Cardinals (10-18) will try to improve their comically impressive record in series finales tomorrow (they’re 6-2 in finales), and also avoid a sweep at the hands of the Dodgers (15-13).
Noah Syndergaard (0-3, 6.58 ERA) will start for Los Angeles. Thor gave up seven earned runs to the Pirates earlier this week in an eventual Dodgers win. Jake Woodford (1-2, 5.47 ERA) will throw for St. Louis in what could be his final start before being bumped from the rotation, with the return of Adam Wainwright looming.
First pitch is set for 3:10 p.m.
Around the Central
Reds 3, A’s 2
Marlins 7, Cubs 6
Pirates 6 , Nationals 3
Pirates 16, Nationals 1
Brewers 7, Angels 5
MLB Pickle #416 - 4/9