The Cardinals enter today’s game having won All The Games lately. Except last night, you know. But there’s at least one school of thought that last night was just one big collective hallucination, and hey, I’m on board for it.
The pitching matchup today is less than inspiring, featuring the Rox’ peripheral-outperforming Tyler Anderson versus the Cardinals’ Austin Gombo. Gombo has been pretty good for being the fourth AAA band-aid to get plugged into the rotation this year (after Flaherty, Gant, and Ponce), but his skillset forebodes regression. But bad regression is not a concept that the Shildt Cardinals seem to bother with, so let’s PUT THE ROCKIES IN THE TRASH.
1B Matt Carpenter
C Yadier Molina
RF Jose Martinez
LF Tyler O’Neill (MEAT PILLAR)
SS Paul DeJong
3B Jedd Gyorko (OK so that one is easier than his real name)
CF Harrison Bader (Bader Tots! Love it!)
2B Yairo Munoz
P Austin Gombo (Yes I know it’s Gomber, do not @ me)
2B DJ LeMahieu
RF Carlos Gonzales
3B Nolan Won’twinMVP
SS Trevor Story
LF Matt Holliday
1B Ian Desmond
CF David Dahl
C Chris Iannetta
P Tyler Anderson
Fun fact: Tyler Anderson is Mr. Duck. That is fun. Also a fact.
The Cardinals didn’t screw around about setting the tone of today’s match. Matt Carpenter led off with a full-count double to right, then after Yadi and Martinez found themselves retired, Tyler O’Neill (MEAT PILLAR) deposited an Anderson mistake in the left-center seats.
From there, the first inning set the tone for this game as a laugher. With 2 outs, the Cardinals plated four more guys to leap out to a 6-0 lead. DeJong and Gyorko knocked singles after O’Neill’s dinger, then Harrison Bader ripped the first pitch he saw down the RF line for an easy RBI double. The Rox elected to IBB Yairo, loading the bases for the pitcher Gombo.
Gombo took a pair of ugly swings at ugly pitches, and watched another ugly pitch pass for a ball. It looked like the fun might be over, for this inning at least. But then, destiny struck. Gombo drove the fourth pitch straight down into home plate. It bounced sky-high as Gombo hustled down the line. Meanwhile, Jerk-Oh was jogging home from third, and Bader was doing his best flash impression from second. Gomber reached easily, and about the time the ball came back down to LeMahieu, Gyorko had just crossed the plate, and Bader had almost caught up with him. DJ threw the ball home, but Iannetta had no chance at Bader. So, a 2-RBI infield hit, courtesy (I assume) of a bouncy home plate and the insane twitchy speed of Bader Tots.
Matt Carpenter hit his second double of the first inning, and Munoz scored. Chad Bettis replaced Mr. Duck and got the third out of the game. After half an inning, Cardinals lead 6-0.
Gombo struck out two and got Nolan to line out in the pouring rain to close out the 1st. The Cards went down in order, all on good contact, in the top of the 2nd. The bottom of the frame saw the Rox get one back, on a Matt Holliday single (hello old friend!) and an Ian Desmond double, aided by a Bader/soaking wet baseball error. Dahl popped out and Bettis struck out looking to end the frame. Cardinals still lead, 6-1.
The Cards, egged on by the Rockies’ provocation, struck back in the top of the 3rd, aided largely by… the Rockies. Jedd Gyorko singled to left, then Bader laid down a dribbling bunt toward the mound. Iannetta fielded the bunt and threw it to third for some reason, where even the great Nolan couldn’t hope to tag Gyorko out, or as it turned out, even catch the ball. Yairo grounded into a 4-6 FC scoring Jedd, but legged it out to beat the double play. Munoz then advanced to second on a Gombo sac bunt, and scored on Matt Carpenter’s third double of the game. Molina singled to score Carp, and Jose Martinez doubled to score Yadi. #itsgottabethesalsa. When the dust clears, the Cards lead 10-1.
The Rox got another back in the bottom of the 3rd, on a LeMahieu double, a Nolan single, and a Trevor Story RBI 4-6 forceout. Cards still lead, 10-2.
Gombo faced the minimum in the 4th and 5th, as did Bettis and Chris Rusin for the Rox. The Cards ran the score up a bit more in the top of the 6th against Rusin, stringing together a Martinez single, an O’Neill single, a DeJong walk, a Gyorko single, and a Bader sac fly. Cardinals lead a little better, 12-2.
Gombo faced the minimum again in the 6th, marking 3 straight innings of such work, marred only by a 5th-inning leadoff single by the pitcher that was erased by a double play. Mikolas leaves the game after 4.2, while Gombo pitches 6 with the last 3 going effectively perfectly. Baseball! Gomber wasn’t bad though, notching 6 Ks in his 6 innings, while giving up 5 hits and a walk in the rightly-feared halls of Coors.
Tyson Ross pitched the next two innings for the Birdos, spending just 10 pitches in the 7th and giving up a run in the 8th on a LeMahieu single, a CarGo double, and a Gerardo Parra groundout. Dominic Leone was spotted in the 9th, making a garbage-time non-save that took all of four pitches to clinch the game. CARDINALS WIN, 12-3!!!!!
We won our 9th straight series and improved to 22-5 in August. This has been a fun run, and smacks of a postseason-bound team. And I don’t care who knows it.
Carpenter set some kind of record with his 4-double day. Yay Carp! Sponsored by MattVP 2018 and homemade salsa everywhere.
Cards have an off-day tomorrow, before we host the Pirates and Reds this week. The Wild-Card standings are still a mess, but we’re at the head of the mess and will stay there as long as we keep winning. For the division, we’re 4 games behind the Cubs, who are bound to implode any. day. now.