photo: Paul DeJong (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports Images)
The St. Louis Cardinals went 5-1 last week, strengthening their lead for the second NL wild card. Paul DeJong plated six runs. In our weekly history feature, the 2012 Kozma infield fly Wild Card game in Atlanta is remembered.
The St. Louis Cardinals pummeled the Braves in the first of a three-game series in Atlanta. The Redbirds took the 3-0 lead in the top of the first when Yadier Molina was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Matt Carpenter scored. Kolten Wong doubled to plate Marcell Ozuna and Jedd Gyorko. The Braves made it 3-2 before Wong hit a solo home run in the fourth and Paul DeJong added a two-run home run in the fifth. Two runs by the Braves by the Braves in the sixth and another in the seventh cut St. Louis’ lead to 6-5. Harrison Bader blasted a three-run home run in the eighth to give the Cardinals more breathing room, and Molina added two more in the ninth on a two-run long ball.
Starter Miles Mikolas went five innings, giving up two runs on four hits while fanning six and walking just one. Tyler Webb surrendered two unearned runs to begin the sixth. Dakota Hudson got the last out of the sixth then returned for the seventh and allowed one run. Carlos Martinez gave up a run in the eighth and John Brebbia pitched a scoreless ninth. Mikolas won his 16th game of the season.
The Redbirds continued their winning ways with an 8-1 victory over the Braves in the second game of the series. Austin Gomber got the start pitched five one-run innings in which he allowed six hits, struck out five and walked three. John Brebbia, Jordan Hicks, Dominic Leone, and Mike Mayers each tossed a scoreless inning of relief. Gomber earned his sixth win.
The Braves took the initial 1-0 lead, but the Cardinals responded with two in the fourth on a home run by Paul DeJong. DeJong drove in a run in the eighth, and Yadier Molina followed with a bases-clearing single for three more runs. In the ninth, Tyler O’Neill plated a run on a double and Marcell Ozuna singled for the eighth and final run.
The Cardinals were unable to complete the sweep, losing to the Braves, 7-3. The offense was kept off the board until the fifth inning, when Harrison Bader’s solo home run became the first of three St. Louis runs in the game. Yadier Molina singled in one in the sixth, and Jedd Gyorko added a sac fly in the eighth.
Jack Flaherty was unable to finish five innings, going 4 2/3 and giving up five runs on five hits. Chasen Shreve and Mike Mayers combined to get four scoreless outs. Tyler Webb and Brett Cecil each surrendered a run in the seventh and the eighth. Flaherty was tagged with his eighth loss of the season.
Thursday, September 20 – Off day
The Cardinals began the home weekend series with the Giants on Friday and pulled out the victory despite a very short outing by the starter John Gant. The right hander lasted only 2 2/3 innings, during which he gave up one run on four hits while fanning three and walking three. Tyson Ross followed with 2 1/3 scoreless frames. Dakota Hudson pitched a scoreless sixth. Jordan Hicks struggled in the seventh, surrendering two runs on two hits. John Brebbia spun a scoreless eighth to earn the win, and Carlos Martinez earned the save with a run-free ninth.
Marcell Ozuna singled in the first to plate the first St. Louis run. Kolten Wong singled in the fifth and the sixth to drive in two more. In the eighth, Matt Adams’ double plated the winning two runs.
St. Louis won the second game of the series in extras on Tyler O’Neill’s walk off home run. The Cardinals scored first on single by Adam Wainwright in the second inning. The Braves tied it up in the third, but the Redbirds responded immediately with an RBI single by Paul DeJong. The Giants battled back with three runs in the seventh, but again the Cardinals responded in the bottom frame with two runs to tie it on a home run by Yadier Molina. The game went into the 10th, when O’Neill hit the walk-off blast.
Wainwright made his third post DL start, going 6 1/3 innings and giving up four runs on eight hits and taking a no decision. Dakota Hudson followed with 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Carlos Martinez tossed the final two scoreless frames to earn the win.
The Cardinals completed the sweep on Sunday with a 9-2 victory behind excellent pitching by Miles Mikolas. The right hander went seven innings and gave up two runs, one earned, on only two hits. Mikolas fanned eight and walked none. John Brebbia and Giovanny Gallegos each pitched a scoreless inning of relief.
In the second inning, Yairo Munoz singled to score Jedd Gyorko for the 1-0 lead. Mikolas helped himself with an RBI single in the fourth. The offense really poured it on in the sixth, with five runs that began with a squeeze play by Harrison Bader that brought Patrick Wisdom home. Yadier Molina scored on Munoz’ single, Bader and Munoz came home on a double by Jose Martinez, and pinch runner Tyler O’Neill scored on Paul DeJong’s single. Matt Carpenter hit his 36th home run in the eighth, a solo shot.
The Cardinals had a good week, going 5-1. The team took 2 of 3 from the Braves and swept the Giants. St. Louis is in third place in the NL Central with six games remaining, 4.5 back of the Cubs, and two back of the Brewers. St. Louis holds the second wild card spot, 1.5 games ahead of the Rockies, who have seven games remaining.
The final week of the regular season begins on Monday with the first of three games against the Brewers in Busch Stadium. The Cardinals end the week with three games against the Cubs in Chicago. While the Cardinals have not been eliminated from the Division race, it remains unlikely that they can overtake the Cubs. A wild card spot is the most likely scenario.
St. Louis’ offense this week improved over the previous week, as did the pitching. There was some poor defense in the Giants series, however. Matt Carpenter hit his 36th home run of the season on Sunday, which is a hopeful sign that he may be coming out of his September slump. The Cardinals really need Carpenter to return to form for this last push toward the postseason.
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Over the past six games (does not contain recent Sunday game results):
- Paul DeJong has an OPS of 1.063. He has two HR, three doubles, and six RBI.
- Tyler O’Neill has an OPS of 1.429 in seven plate appearances. He has one HR, one double and two RBI.
- Kolten Wong has an OPS of 1.147. He has one HR, one double, and five RBI.
- Harrison Bader has an OPS of 1.106. He has two HR, one double, and four RBI.
- Jedd Gyorko has an OPS of .908. He has two doubles, and two RBI.
- Adam Wainwright has an ERA of 2.92 and a WHIP of 1.05.
- Austin Gomber has an ERA of 1.80 and a WHIP of 1.80.
- John Brebbia has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.33.
- Mike Mayers has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 1.80.
- Tyson Ross has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 0.43.
- Chasen Shreve has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 1.50.
- Dominic Leone has an ERA of 0.00 and a WHIP of 1.00.
- Dakota Hudson has an ERA of 2.08 and a WHIP of 1.15.
Over the past six games (does not contain recent Sunday game results)
- Yairo Munoz has an OPS of .321.
- Matt Carpenter has an OPS of .350.
- Jack Flaherty has an ERA of 9.64 and a WHIP of 1.50.
- Brett Cecil has an ERA of 9.00 and a WHIP of 1.00.
A Look at Cardinals Lineups
The lineups over the last six games (does not contain recent Sunday game):
- The leadoff hitter has been Matt Carpenter for five games and Kolten Wong for one game.
- The number two hitter has been Jose Martinez for five games, and Yairo Munoz for one game.
- The number three hitter has been Paul DeJong.
- The cleanup hitter has been Marcell Ozuna.
- The fifth hitter has been Jedd Gyorko.
- The sixth hitter has been Yadier Molina.
- The seventh hitter has been Wong for three games, Harrison Bader for two games, and Matt Adams for one game.
- The eighth hitter has been Bader for three games, Munoz for two games, and Wong for one game.
Trade and Acquisition Rumors
There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.
- 9/21 The Cardinals recalled RHP Giovanny Gallegos from the Memphis Redbirds
- 9/23 The Cardinals recalled SS Edmundo Sosa from the Memphis Redbirds.
- RHP Alex Reyes (right lat strain) had surgery on June 6 to reattach a tendon in his right lat. The right hander was transferred from the 10 day DL to the 60 day DL. Reyes is expected to be out for the remainder of the season.
- RHP Michael Wacha (left oblique strain) was transferred from the 10 day disabled list to the 60 day disabled list on September 10. Out for the rest of the season.
- RHP Luke Gregerson (right shoulder impingement) was transferred from the 10 day DL to the 60 day DL on August 11. Out for the rest of the season.
- OF Dexter Fowler (fractured left foot) was transferred from the 10 day DL to the 60 day DL on August 21. Out for the rest of the season.
- Kolten Wong left Friday’s game with a hamstring cramp. His availability is day to day.
The Cardinals wind up the final week of the regular season with a three-game series against the Brewers in Busch Stadium. Jack Flaherty will make the Monday start, followed by Austin Gomber on Tuesday and John Gant on Wednesday.
A travel day on Thursday takes the Cardinals to Chicago to play the Cubs in the final series of the regular season. With the possibility of the Wild Card game on the following Tuesday, rotation for the Cubs series is still undecided. Adam Wainwright, Miles Mikolas and Jack Flaherty are possibles, but it will likely depend on what pitcher the Cardinals are considering to pitch the Wild Card game.
The Cardinals’ regular season schedule can be found here.
Should the Cardinals make the postseason, the NL Wild Card game is scheduled for October 2, and the NLDS begins on Oct 4. The postseason schedule can be found here.
Blast from the Past
This week’s postseason history segment covers the infamous 2012 Wild Card game between the Cardinals and the Atlanta Braves. It was the first-ever MLB Wild Card game, added in 2012 when the postseason structure was increased to two wild card teams per league from one.
The game was played on October 5, 2012 at Turner Field in Atlanta. It also was the first postseason for St. Louis manager Mike Matheny.
The Cardinals prevailed by the score of 6-3 after a controversial call involving the infield fly rule that many thought (and some still think) was erroneous. The play came in the eighth inning, with the Cardinals ahead 6-3. Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons hit a pop up fly ball to shallow left field with two runners on, which Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday and shortstop Pete Kozma both made moves to field. It appeared that Kozma was the closest to it, and may have called for it, but at the last minute, he pulled off, perhaps hearing Holliday calling it behind him. In any event, the ball dropped, but umpire Sam Holbrook had already signaled the infield fly rule prior to the ball dropping and Simmons was called out. Had the infield fly not been called, the Braves would have had the bases loaded with only one out.
The call was disputed by the Braves, but the signaling of the infield fly rule was by the book a judgment call by the umpire. The call stood, but the Braves fans did not agree, and the game had to be delayed for 19 minutes because fans littered the field with trash, including beer bottles that could have caused injury to players on the field. The players had to come off the field until the pandemonium could be halted and the field cleared of debris.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez lodged a protest and the game resumed. The Cardinals won the game and the protest was denied by Joe Torre, Vice President of Baseball Operations for the Commissioner’s Office, shortly after the game was over.
St. Louis starter Kyle Lohse was the winning pitcher, and Braves starter Kris Medlen took the loss. Holliday hit a solo home run in the sixth inning. Braves fans resumed throwing debris as the game concluded, causing the players to rush off the field to avoid injury.
The Cardinals went on to defeat the Washington Nationals in the NLDS but lost the NLCS to the San Francisco Giants.
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