I just love Miles Mikolas starts. He works quick, throws strikes, induces a ton of bad contact, and absolutely refuses to walk guys. He also strikes a reasonable number of dudes out. Tonight, Miles takes on the extremely rebuilding Royals. Insert royal wedding joke here. Just kidding, I don’t do jokes.
Ian Kennedy, who was pretty good as recently as 2 years ago, leads the charge for the Royals.
The Mikolas Bit
The Lizard King sparkled all night, working all over the zone with his devastating mix of variety, velocity and command. He cut through the Royals, scattering 4 singles, an HBP, and his first-ever walk at Busch. The worst thing I can say is that it was 10 pitches over a Maddux. Only 6 Royals saw first-pitch balls, compared to 25 first-pitch strikes. Only 2 Royals saw ball 3. 9 strikeouts, no runs, and no additional Cardinals pitchers were on display. Game score 93.
Nice job, Miles. Best Japanese import to hit the league this year.
The Clobberin’ Bit
The Cardinals gave Kennedy a couple of innings to settle in, wasting a Carpenter double and an Ozuna walk in the first inning and then going down in 7 pitches in the second. The third started with a quick flyout from Mikolas and Tommy Pham’s second strikeout of the night.
At this point, the Cardinals realized they were up against Ian Kennedy, and behaved accordingly. Matt Carpenter threw his bat at an outside changeup, poking it into left for a single. Jose Martinez singled, then Ozuna singled, scoring Carpenter. Rookie Tyler O’Neill stepped into the box. If you don’t know about O’Neill yet, here’s a primer, courtesy of Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs:
A dense pillar of meat, O’Neill — at a shredded 5-foot-10, 210 pounds — is the most muscular baseball player many scouts have ever seen. But unlike most players with similar measurables, O’Neill is an above-average straight-line runner, has good range in (but not great feel for) the outfield, and an above-average arm. He does have the sort of power one might expect from a walking bicep, arguably plus-plus raw, and most scouts think O’Neill’s combination of ball/strike recognition and minimalist swing will allow him to catch enough fastballs to hit 20-plus homers annually despite justifiable questions about the hit tool.
Our very own walking bicep, our dense pillar of meat, got a barrel on a 93 mph fourseamer and skied it into the opposite-field dugout. The shot was marked his third game in a row with a dinger. BEHOLD, THE MEAT MAN COMETH:
CARDINALS LEAD, 4-0. They did not look back.
In the bottom of the fifth, Ozuna and O’Neill teamed up to add an insurance run, knocking a single and a double in seriatim. Carpenter added another in the 7th. Remember when Matt Carpenter went four years without swinging at a first pitch? It was all so he could do this:
Gotta love the long con. After Mikolas brought it all home, CARDINALS WIN 6-0.
- Matt Carpenter is something like 12-for-22 in his last 3 games, and Ozuna is similarly showing signs of life. This was always mostly a bad luck blip for both guys – they were both hitting the ball on the screws, right at somebody, with astounding regularity through the last month and a half. But it’s nice to see these balls dropping.
- MEAT MEAT MEAT MEAT MEAT
- Miles Mikolas is a delight, and him getting his first CGSO in Busch is awesome.
- Don’t forget your cheap drinks tomorrow!
- Tonight’s win during the Cubs’ and Pirates’ off night puts us in sole position of 2nd in the division, 1.5 games behind the Brewers and half a game ahead of the aforementioned rivals.
Here is Mikolas’s post-game presser with Jim Hayes:
Tune in tomorrow night at 7:15 to see the resurgent Luke Weaver take on the Royals, who will be lining up behind Jason Hammel’s shambling remains. WE’LL SELL YOU THE WHOLE SEAT, BUT YOU’LL ONLY NEED THE EDGE.