As the St. Louis Cardinals deal with the fallout of another embarrassing clubhouse story (in case you missed it, Mike Matheny has reportedly been allowing Bud Norris to harass and/or haze his younger teammates in the name of “accountability” or something), there’s still a game to play tonight, and a chance to end the day on a somewhat high note.
After pummeling the Chicago White Sox with a 14-run barrage on Tuesday night, the Cardinals are in search for their sixth win in their last nine games (nice) as they visit the Chicago White Sox.
Luke Weaver took the mound for the Redbirds tonight. The young righty hasn’t gone more than 7 innings in a game since May. He was opposed by the left-handed Carlos Rodon, who entered tonight with a 4.17 ERA in just over 35 innings.
Following a scoreless top of the first that included Marcell Ozuna fouling a pitch off of his nether regions, Weaver issued a leadoff walk to Yoan Moncada. The next batter, Yolmer Sanchez, hit a high chopper to Kolten Wong, who flipped over to Weaver for the 4-1 putout, or so one would think.
— 📼 (@VanHicklestein) July 12, 2018
Even though Weaver’s toe is clearly on the bag first, Sanchez was called safe, the Cardinals challenged the call, and the play stood. Major League replay, everyone.
Fortunately, Weaver and the Cardinals were able to get out of the jam, Jose Abreu lined into a double play thanks to a baserunning blunder by Moncada, and Daniel Palka grounded out to first. Scoreless after one.
The next two innings were much less eventful for Weaver, who retired all six White Sox batters he faced in the second and third to keep Chicago off the board. The Cardinals, meanwhile, could only muster one baserunner in this span: a Matt Carpenter walk. Scoreless after three.
In the bottom of the fourth, Yolmer Sanchez hit a leadoff single to center, but Weaver bounced back with his fourth and fifth strikeouts of the evening to keep the game scoreless heading into the fifth, where the Cardinal offense still couldn’t get anything going. Through five innings, the Cardinals managed just one hit and two baserunners, and never got a runner in scoring position.
With runners at the corners and nobody out for Chicago in the bottom of the fifth, Tim Anderson drove in Leury Garcia on a fielder’s choice to give the White Sox the lead. Off the bat, it looked as though Paul DeJong might have had a play at the plate, but he decided to get the sure out at second rather than test Garcia’s speed. After the rough start to the inning, Weaver was able to limit the damage to just one run. 1-0 White Sox after five.
In the sixth, Matt Carpenter smoked a one-out double into the right-center field gap past a diving Charlie Tilson to put a Cardinal baserunner on second for the first time of the night. Just when it seemed like the offense was starting to wake up, Tommy Pham struck out and Jose Martinez grounded out to the pitcher to leave Carpenter stranded on base. Still 1-0 White Sox after six.
Carlos Rodon continued his dominant night into the second, with a 1-2-3 inning that included Yolmer Sanchez robbing Yadier Molina of extra bases with a backhanded stop along the third base line.
Luke Weaver was pulled for Mike Mayers after six innings, allowing one run on three hits, striking out seven batters and walking two. With two outs and a man on first, Tim Anderson hit an absolute laser past Jedd Gyorko at third to score Omar Narvaez, and Charlie Tilson followed that up with a bloop single into shallow center to drive in Anderson. By now, three runs feels pretty insurmountable. 3-0 White Sox after seven.
With Rodon approaching 100 pitches, Paul DeJong dropped a single into right to start off the eighth inning, but he would immediately be thrown out at second on a fielder’s choice from Dexter Fowler. Kolten Wong hit what appeared to be an inning-ending double play in the next at-bat, but the ball bounced off of the glove of Yoan Moncada at second base, putting runners at the corners. Rodon then ended his night by walking Matt Carpenter to load the bases.
While Rodon trashed a bat rack and punched a circular fan in the dugout for some reason, Tommy Pham and Jose Martinez struck out to leave the bases loaded. Apparently, the White Sox bullpen wasn’t wiped off the face of the Earth last night.
Jordan Hicks allowed a leadoff triple to Yoan Moncada in the eighth, which will likely lead to a stern lecture from Professional Hall Monitor Bud Norris on Effort and Playing The Right Way after the game. Moncada would score on an RBI from Jose Abreu, and the Cardinals would not score again. What a rotten day. Final Score: White Sox 4 Cardinals 0.
The Cardinals are now 47-44, including an 0-4 record when I’m on recap duty, amazingly enough. The Redbirds are off on Thursday, and will host the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend for one final series before the All-Star break. Good things tend to happen to the Cardinals when they play the Reds. We’ll see if that trend holds up, either in the form of wins or a new manager.