The Cardinals begin their second half with a key five game series against the Cubs. This is a critical juncture in the season for the Cardinals as it could not only dramatically affect their playoff hopes, but affect the general direction of the organization going forward for years to come with the trade deadline looming.
Carlos Martinez gets the start against Kyle Hendricks.
Matt Carpenter started things off by striking out, but was picked up by Molina who singled up the middle. After advancing to second on a groundout by DeJong, Molina came around to score on a single by Ozuna. Gyorko joined in with a single hit so hard his helmet almost flew off, but Wong ended the threat with a sharp line drive hit right to Jason Heyward.
Leadoff hitter Anthony Rizzo lead things off with a double, but Carlos was then able to retire Bryant, Heyward and Zobrist. Carlos finished the inning with just eight pitches.
Dexter Fowler with a ground out. Tommy Pham totally walloped a ball onto the street somewhere, an absolute shot. Carlos struck out. Back to the top of the lineup, Matt gets worked inside and takes one off the arm. Molina smashed a double, but Matt ran past a Jose Oquendo stop sign, but by the graces of intangible Shildtian regime change magic, Matt was able to get back to third unscathed. DeJong flew out to center and the inning is over.
Ian Happ lined a ball directly to Jedd. Schwarber grounded out to DeJong who stands alone on the left side of the infield. Russell lined out to Pham. Carlos through two innings on twenty-one pitches.
Ozuna, the Gyork, and Wong go down 1-2-3.
Cubs backup catcher Victor Carantini lead off with a walk, and is sacrificed over to second by Hendricks. Rizzo then lined out and Bryant
ends the inning by grounding out I mean Gyorko bobbles and flips the ball away and the inning continues. With runners at the corners, Heyward won a nine pitch battle by flaring an opposite field single. Pan to Gyorko’s furrowed brow. Zobrist swings and misses and Carlos is able to limit the damage.
Dexter Fowler strikes out. Pham launches a line drive right in front of Addison Russell who can’t handle the hop and the ball flies into the outfield. As quick as that ball left the bat, Pham is immediately picked off at first. Carlos grounds out.
Happ, Schwarber, and Russell go down in order. Russell striking out gives Carlos his second of the night.
Carpenter flies out but Molina slashes a single. DeJong strikes out looking but Ozuna slashes a single. Gyorko’s cautious eye watches four straight balls. Bases are loaded. Wong slaps a grounder up the middle which is fielded by a beautiful Addison Russell swan dive. However, the second part of his acrobatic routine wasn’t so graceful, as he fecklessly flails his arm out, no ball to leave his hand. Runner scores and the bases remain loaded. That’ll be it for Kyle Hendricks who couldn’t make it through five, throwing a season high 113 pitches. Dexter Fowler comes up batting right handed against the lefty Brian Duensing. I fully expected him to hit his second right-handed grand slam in the city of Chicago this season, but my totally reasonable wish was left unfulfilled as he grounded out to end the inning.
Also at this point I think was when a national broadcast of this game referred to a specific St. Louis cuisine as Fried Ravioli.
Mystery man Carantini does a little trickery and hits a groundball up the middle that somehow DeJong is able to get to, but he makes an ill advised throw that goes wild, and the Carantini man is now at second. LaStella goes down as a pinch hitter, but Rizzo crushes a double and that will score the runner. Bryant singles to put runners on the corners, and Heyward continues the parade with a single to tie the game. With Bryant on third, Zobrist hits a sacrifice fly to take the lead. Ian Happ outdoes everyone and clobbers a two run bomb. That’s now five runs off Carlos in the inning. Schwarber lines out to end the madness.
I think I was in some kind of stupor after that and I got snapped out of it by a Tommy Pham ground out that shattered an emptiness and silence going on in my head. Anthony Bass is pitching for the cubs. Garcia grounds out. Carpenter then salvages the inning by slamming a bomb to the opposite field. That’s his twentieth of the year. Molina follows him up with his fourth base hit of the game. If you’re following along with the catchers today, that’s four hits for Molina, one for Carantini, and zero for Contreras who is taking a breather today. DeJong lines out to put a cap on the rally.
Sam Tuivailala is in for the Cards. Russell gets on via Paul DeJong throwing error that Carpenter couldn’t pick. Carantini comes up and slaps a base hit to right on a hit and run to put runners at the corners. Albert Almora comes in to pinch hit and grounds one to Gyorko, who makes a good play to throw out Russell at home. Tui then strikes out the red hot Rizzo. Bryant grounds out and the Cardinals escape further damage.
Former Cardinal Steve Cishek is in for the Cubs and he gets Ozuna, Wong, and Gyorko to go down in order. You gotta think Cishek and Ozuna, who are both former Marlins are gonna have a laugh over this later at some nearby bar.
Heyward gets his third base hit of the game. He steals second easily off of Tyler Lyons. He is swiftly driven in by Zobrist. Zobrist tries to steal as well but is picked off. Happ and and Schwarber are quickly dispatched via strikeout and the Cubs get their run back.
Dexter Fowler strikes out. Pham singles. Jose Martinez pinch hits and singles to chase Cishek. Justin Wilson comes in to get Carpenter to ground into what could have been a double play, but after getting Jose out at second, Russell throws the ball away and Pham scores from second. Carl Edwards Jr. comes in and gets Molina to weakly pop out to Russell.
Matt Bowman comes in and gives up a double to Addison Russell. Carantini lines one off the glove of Wong and Russell comes around to score, and Carantini advances on the throw home. Baez pinch hits and immediately grounds out. Rizzo is walked intentionally. Bryant singles in a run. Bowman gets Heyward and Zobrist to go down to finish off the Cubs.
DeJong doubles, and Wong drives him in, but it’s not enough to change the outcome.
Cubs win 9-6
The Cardinals wasted an opportunity to capitalize on a shaky start by Kyle Hendricks. The offense got the lead early, but a shaky Carlos wasn’t able to hold up in the fifth inning. Three errors were committed by the Cardinals, and the bullpen didn’t look good other than Tui. The Cardinals were able to muster fifteen hits but just couldn’t put that together in a way to win the game. This was a really hard to watch game. It was sloppy and we didn’t really get to look at many managerial tactics by Shildt because of said sloppiness took us out of the game. The good news is the Cardinals still have four games this week against the Cubs to get that ground back. I fully expect them to win the next four games with ease so long as they play blunderless baseball. However, a lot of my ill advised optimism in a post-Matheny world has been subdued by tonight’s showing, and I will gaze upon the Shiltian Futurescape with a more realistic and skeptical gaze as the season continues.