After a week of baseball on the road where the Cardinals went 3-4, you have to be frustrated. However, just when it seems like these guys are going to roll over and quit for the season, they do just enough to keep you interested. This is exactly what happened towards the end of the week in Milwaukee.
St. Louis dropped 2 of 3 in Philadelphia to start off the week. Each of those games was decided by one run, including a walk off loss in the first game of the series. The score in those games was broken down like this: 5-6 (L), 7-6 (W), 3-4 (L).
The second leg of the road trip took the Cardinals straight into the mouth of the division leaders, the Milwaukee Brewers. The series started out U.G.L.Y. The Cardinals got embarrassed in the opening game 3-11 then lost a close one 1-2. Just when it looked like the team was going to throw in the towel, they fought back and beat Milwaukee by scores of 2-3 and 2-8. The question still remains: what Cardinal team will show up from day to day?
Game 1 @ Philly
Miles Mikolas went 5 innings in the first game of the Philly series, giving up 4 runs on 4 hits. With the Cardinals 9th inning push to send the game into extras, he was relieved of the potential L on his record. Matt Bowman took responsibility for the ultimate fate, giving up a two run double to end the game.
However, the winning runner was actually intentionally put on base by Matheny. He chose to give Carlos Santana an IBB, which came back to bit him. Bader started in right over Dexter Fowler and the Cardinals had 3 total home runs between Pham, Carpenter, and Molina. However, that was not enough.
Side note: After the game, Bowman was put on the DL for blisters on his hand. It was brought to light that he suffers from Raynaud’s Syndrome, which affects blood flow.
Game 2 @ Philly
On Tuesday, Luke Weaver took the hill and following suit, gave up 4 runs in 5 innings as well. Carp and Pham both smashed home runs again, and this time Wong added one of his own.
Tommy Pham's 13-game hitting streak is the longest active in the Majors. He just extended it with a long solo home run off Vince Velasquez.
Phillies, 1. Cardinals, 1.
— Joe Trezza (@JoeTrezz) June 20, 2018
Carpenter’s solo hr came in the top of the 9th innings, and put the Cardinals ahead for good after Jordan Hicks blew a save opportunity when he came into the game in the 9th inning. However, Hicks did earn the win, which he owes to Matty C..
Game 3 @ Philly
Wednesday, the offensive power took a dip from the beginning of the series when the only home runs from the Cardinals came off the bat of one Yadier Molina. He hit a solo shot in the first and a 2 run home run in the 6th, ending the day with all of the Cardinals RBI’s.
Michael Wacha only made it into the 4th inning before being pulled due to an oblique injury. Four relievers finished off the game and did surprisingly well, only giving up 1 run during their extended day of work. With Wacha on the shelf, many are speculating that we may soon see Dakota Hudson in St. Louis, as he appears to be the next man up (unfortunately this would come at the cost of a roster spot so probably won’t happen) after his incredible work in AAA so far this season.
#STLCards pitching prospect Dakota Hudson tossed eight innings of one-run ball for @memphisredbirds tonight, shrinking his ERA down to a PCL league-leading 2.04 mark over 14 starts this season (88 1/3 IP).
— Derek Shore (@D_Shore23) June 24, 2018
Game 1 @ Milwaukee
This game hurt. Carlos Martinez gave up 7 runs (5 earned) in 4 innings and then later in the game, John Gant gave up 4 unearned runs. The Cardinals committed 4 errors on defense with the guilty parties of Carpenter, C. Martinez, and Gyorko (2).
Matt Carpenter hit a home run and Yairo Munoz assembled 3 hits for a pair of RBI’s, but it was nothing close to the 11 runs that the Brewers scored. Try and put this game out of your memory.
Game 2 @Milwaukee
Even though this match up was much closer, we witnessed another underwhelming offensive performance from the Cardinals. With 3 total hits in the game, St. Louis only mustered one run in the third inning.
So…the Brewers didn’t do much more on offense. In fact, they also had 3 hits. It just so happened that two of them went over the fence. Both of those homer belonged to Jesus Aguilar. He his his first in the 7th off Flaherty and 2nd off Norris in the 9th, which gave the Brew Crew a walk-off win.
On a positive note, Jack Flaherty pitched a studly game. He threw 110 pitches and struck out 13(!) batters with his only blemishes being 2 walks and one of the aforementioned home runs. In the month of June, Flaherty has an ERA of 2.31 in four starts. He also has an impressive 32 k’s in the books against only 7 walks. This was done in 23.1 innings of work.
This loss was the 19th of the season for St. Louis where they have scored 2 or less runs.
Game 3 @ Milwaukee
Two days after being blown out, the Cardinals sucked it up and grinded out a win behind the brilliant pitching of Miles Mikolas. He continues to be a rock in the St. Louis rotation. He gave up two runs in the first inning but shut down the Brewers in a 5k, 3h performance that spanned over 6.2 innings. Hicks, Gomber, and Tui all earned holds and Bud Norris snagged the save (14).
The Cardinals got all of 3 of their runs between 2 innings, the 2nd and the 6th. Oh, and all the runs came courtesy of Yadi bombs. The all or nothing trend continues, but this time the 3 runs was enough.
Game 4 @ Milwaukee
Giving the Brewers a little taste of their own medicine, the Cardinals had a big offensive day and scored 8 runs, the most they had scored since the second game of the Philly series. Again, the Brewers struck early and scored 2 in the first – and again that was all they got. Mr. inconsistent, Luke Weaver, threw 5.2 innings and struck out 9 while giving up 5 hits and 2 walks.
This time it was Jose Martinez’s turn to go yard for his 11th homer of the year. Marcell, Dexter, and Bader all recorded multi hit games in this team effort. The Cardinals scored in 3 separate innings, with their most productive inning in the 4th, when they put up a 4 spot.
The Cardinals fought hard to earn a split in the series with the division-leading Brewers, and somehow are only 4.5 games back of them as of Monday morning.
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) June 24, 2018
Over the course of the above 7 game stint, Carp and Yadi smashed a total of 8 home runs out of their combined 15 hits. Together, that pair was responsible for almost half of the RBI’s between the two series. The Cardinal outfield struggled over the course of the week, hitting well below .200 as a group.
On the mound, we experienced some excellent pitching from both the front and back end of the squad. Greg Holland had a good week for probably the first time this season and didn’t give up any runs in three appearances. Hicks, Mayers, and Cecil also pitched scoreless baseball in their 3 game weeks. I don’t want to sound too hopeful, but if Matheny can rely on 3-4 guys in the bullpen day in and day out, then St. Louis might be able to steal a few games that they previously had no chance of winning.
Upcoming, the Cardinals have 3 games of inter league play at home vs Cleveland (at the time of posting they have already won the first). Following that, they will host Atlanta for a 3 game weekend set.