The Cardinals have not won two consecutive games since June 9, against the woebegone Reds. (That was the tail end of a three-game winning streak.) That’s more than two weeks since our last 2-game winning streak. If it feels like we’ve been bad, I feel you. We’re 5.5 games behind our opponents today, and 2.5 games behind their closest rivals.
Since June 9, the Cardinals are 4-9 against the Reds, Padres, Cubs, Phillies, and Brewers. If you throw in the series loss against the Marlins between June 5-7 and the other two wins against the Reds on June 8-9, that’s a stretch to sink a season–7-12 against a collection of division rivals and soft teams.
Yesterday, the Cardinals beat the Brewers behind a great performance by Mikolas and a couple Yadi dingers. Today, we go for a series split, which seems like a huge win. Which is sad, but let’s go ahead and get the huge win anyway.
The Cardinals struck first, in the top of the first. Brewers starter Jhoulys Chacin walked Matt Carpenter on four pitches. Greg Garcia doubled him over to third base, and following a Martinez backward K, El Oso Grande cashed in the run with a sacrifice fly to right field. Cardinals lead, 1-0.
After a quick strikeout of Eric Thames to lead off the inning, Luke Weaver surrendered a solo shot to Christian Yelich on a 3-1 count to tie the game back up. Braun doubled on the second pitch he saw, and after a strikeout of Travis Shaw, Hernan Perez drove Braun in with a single to right. Jon Villar doubled to put Perez on third, but catcher Eric Kratz lined out to end the inning. Brewers take the lead back, 2-1.
Nobody scored through the second and third innings. Chacin worked around a jam in the second by striking out Luke Weaver and Carpenter on seven total pitches.
The Cardinals broke the game open in the fourth. Dexter Fowler led off the inning with a double to left. Harry Bader walked. Kolten Wong flied out and Weaver struck out, but a Matt Carpenter single scored Fowler and Bader (who had both advanced on Wong’s flyout), regaining the lead for the Cards. Greg Garcia walked on five pitches, and Jose Martinez tacked on a trio of insurance runs with a massive homer. Ozuna continued the fun with a double on the first pitch he saw, but Yadi lined out to third to end the scoring at five runs. Cardinals lead, 6-2.
Weaver made quick work of Villar, Kratz, and Orlando Arcia in the bottom of the frame. The Cardinals tacked on two more insurance runs in the top of the 5th, behind a Fowler double and singles from Bader and Wong. Cardinals lead, 8-2.
The Cardinals didn’t look back. Weaver went another 1.2 innings and finished his night with 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 1 HR, and 9 K. Mike Mayers, Greg Holland (!!!), Brett Cecil, and John Brebbia were nails, logging 3.1 innings of 1-hit, 0-walk, 5-K ball. Cardinals win, 8-2.
I think it’s fair to say that this is the dawning of a new era, wherein we never lose and always win and we take the good old World Series trophy once again as is our due (12 in ’18!). Tomorrow we start a 2-game set against the red-hot Cleveland Indians at Busch. John Gant is set to face Mike Clevinger, a very good (if somewhat surprising) young Indians arm. We get to see Corey Kluber the following night against a hopefully better Carlos Martinez. Both games start at 7:15 CDT – be there or be square.