Tonight, the Cardinals open a 3-game set hosting the Rockies. The Rox are in the mix for the NL West title this year, and the Cardinals are at a decision point with the non-waiver trade deadline looming. Fun fact: the Rockies just signed old friend Matt Holliday, 38, to a minor league contract. Yay Matt!
Pitching matchups are Carlos Martinez, returning from his oblique, against Tyler Anderson. Anderson is a talented young lefty who has, despite Coors, experienced a fair bit of recent success. Lineups:
Let’s get this show on the road.
Carlos Martinez and Tyler Anderson traded zeroes for 4 innings, and Martinez sandwiched a pair of strikeouts between singles from Gerardo Parra and Charlie Blackmon to start the 5th. Martinez left the game with a strained pitching shoulder. Hopefully it’s no big deal, but this sort of thing is getting way too common for me to feel comfortable with it. Carlos’s final line: 4.2 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 7 K.
Dan Poncedeleon entered the game in relief and faced Rockies 1B Ian Desmond. Poncedeleon pushed the count to 1-2 and then this happened:
Dan went on to walk Desmond to jam the sacks, and of course Nolan Arenado followed by murdering a grand slam to straightaway center. Dan took a couple more pitches to induce a 6-3 groundout. 4-0 Rockies.
Jedd Gyorko led off the next half-inning with a mighty dinger of his own. The next three Cardinals went down in order. 4-1 Rockies.
The 6th started with a flyout from Ryan McMahon and a K from Tom Murphy, but things got hairy from there. Parra singled to right, then advanced to third on an errant pickoff throw that ended up in right field. Ponce walked Garrett Hampson, then with the opposing pitcher in the box, threw a wild pitch, starting the race for Desmond to come home. Ponce got a late break to cover the plate, but made a close, close, close tag. SAFE! Shilt calls for a replay challenge. OUT! Whatever. Just glad the run didn’t score. The Cards went down in order in the bottom of the 6th.
Ponce pitched a clean T7. Tyler Anderson walked the bases loaded to start the bottom of the frame, and his night was over. Scott Oberg took over and struck out Dexter Fowler swinging on a full count. Harrison Bader showed excellent plate discipline and let Oberg walk him, scoring Ozuna. Jose Martinez grounded into a 5-2 FC, and our salsa-loving NL MVP candidate Matt Carpenter stood in. He smacked a 1-2 changeup back up the middle to score Munoz and Bader, capping a 3-run rally that only involved 1 hit and 2 instances of contact of any sort. Baseball! Brand new game, tied 4-4.
Jordan Hicks gave up a single to Arenado, but suffered no additional damage. The Cardinals mustered a single of their own from Gyorko, but he was stranded. Bud Norris also gave up a single of his own in the top of the 9th, but worked around it without incident. Dexter led off the bottom half with a sharp single, then stole second with a ridiculously good jump and got third on Greg Garcia’s 1-out groundout. The Rockies cravenly issued an IBB to Matt Carpenter, and then Yadi unleashed on the first pitch he saw, but got a liiiittle too far under it. The game’s still tied, so we get bonus baseball. Yay!
Dakota Hudson took T10 for the hometown heroes. After issuing a leadoff walk, Hudson buckled down to retire Arenado and Carlos Gonzales on 3 total pitches. But Ryan McMahon singled, and the speedy CarGo was chomping at the bit at second base. Hudson battled back to strike out Tom Murphy and end the threat.
The bottom of the 10th was mercifully short. Paul DeJong struck out, and Marcell Ozuna knocked the cover off of the ball. Cardinals win, 5-4!
This game felt bigger than it probably was, in no small part because it felt like the sort of game that would get our hopes up only to cruelly crush them and make a nice garnish out of. But we weren’t crushed! Indeed, good Ozuna showed up, and we crushed the dream crusher! Good job, folks.
Hard to say what we’ll do tomorrow, if anything significant. The baseball fan in me says “yes! do the trades! trades are fun!” The Cardinals fan in me says “also yes! do the trades! we are pretty good, but we could get better, and it would be fun to be better!” I’m really perplexed as to what I should hope for here.
Cubs were off today, so we gained another half-game on them. Milwaukee is thumping the Dodgers at press time 4-1. Here’s to hoping Carlos’s injury is less awful that it seems, and here’s to a speedy recovery.