Well, this certainly felt like another Opening Day, didn’t it? For the first time in 17 loooooong days we got Cardinals baseball, and a doubleheader to boot. So a million transactions and roster changes later, here we are in Chicago getting to face a young talented White Sox bunch.
Uncle Charlie would get the ball in game one, looking like the 17 day lay-off had zero effects on him, as his sinker and curveball looked sharp as ever. You wouldn’t tell looking at the box score and seeing 3 walks, but Larry Vanover’s zone was really tight, especially those low sinkers clipping the knees. Knizner would draw the start behind the dish with Yadi out, and he struggled getting Waino some of those low calls.
But before he even took the mound, the bats would rattle off 4 runs as they batted around vs Lucas Giolito in the 1st.
KoWo started things off with a great plate appearance and Edman followed slapping a single against the shift into LF. After striking out Goldy on a slider out the zone, Giolito would lose command and drill back-to-back batters (O’Neill and Carp) to load the bases and then bring a run in to make it 1-0.
Up next, making his big league debut, Cards number 1 prospect, Dylan Carlson. Carlson would chase a high heater, striking out to bring in Dex. Dex would bloop a single, placing in perfectly between Anderson and Robert to score Edman and Prince Sex to make it 3-0. Knizner, fresh with no mustache, kept the line moving as he drove a single into RF to score Carp to make it 4-0.
The White Sox wouldn’t get their first hit until the bottom of the 3rd, as Mendick would double into the RCF gap with Bader shading towards LCF. Moncada was able to drive him in with a groundout to Goldy to make it a 4-1 game. After that, the Sox bats went silent, and pretty much the rest of the afternoon into game 2.
The Cards would tack on a run in the 4th, as Dex reached on a an infield single to the left side. Bader would work a one out walk to put two runners on and after a Wong groundout Edman would bring in Dex on a fielding error by Abreu at 1B to make it 5-1.
Dylan Carlson showed off the glove to lead off the bottom half of the 4th, sliding to grab an Encarnación liner. A nice little circled play in the book. Waino followed that with back-to-back k’s, his second and third of the afternoon, to get Jiménez (fastball) and Robert (74mph Uncle Charlie).
Gio and G-Spot would end game one, taking the 6th and 7th innings. Gio would make his second appearance of the season, not missing a beat either. Gio would strikeout Moncada (slider), Grandal (4SFB), and Abreu (slider) to take things to the 7th inning aka the new 9th inning for doubleheader purposes.
G-Spot came in picking up right where Gallegos left off, striking out two batters in his outing to seal the deal. Robert would mix in a two-out double before Gant would get Mazara to whiff on the nasty vulcan change.
A few more debuts rolled in for the Cardinals in game two. Jake Woodford would make his debut, getting the start on short notice. Woodford said he didn’t know he was pitching game two until right after game one, according to him in his postgame presser.
It was a bullpen game for both squads, as Matt Foster would take the ball for the Sox. Foster and Woodford would both trade perfect 1st and 2nd innings. Foster racking up a couple k’s and Woodford one k and five groundouts. Woodford would collect his first big league strikeout vs Abreu to leadoff the bottom of the 2nd, getting him on some 95mph cheese.
Heuer would relieve Foster in just the 3rd inning, throwing some straight junk. This stuff was 99mph with crazy movement in every direction, especially riding away from lefties. Heuer would need 28 pitches to escape a two runners on situation as Bader reached on a Moncada error and Edman worked a walk.
Luis Robert would officially welcome Woodford to the bigs to leadoff the bottom of the 3rd, cracking an oppo taco HR, his 3rd of the season to give the Sox a 1-0 lead. Woodford wouldn’t let it shell him, getting the next three, striking out Mendick and Anderson on fastballs to end the 3rd and his afternoon (3IP, 1 hit, 1ER, 0bb/ 3 k’s).
Goldy made sure the Cards weren’t down long, as he got the run back leading off the 4th vs Burdi. Burdi was throwing straight darts, too. Goldy would take him deep to LF, his 2nd of the season, 103.7mph exit velocity and 400 feet.
Génesis Cabrera would make his 2020 debut in relief of Woodford in the 4th. And lemme just say how filled out Cabrera looks, wow it’s awesome to see. He was sitting around 93-94mph his inning of work, striking out Moncada to start things off with a 93mph 4SFB. Grandal would then work a one-out walk and then Abreu would fly out to Bader, bringing in Jiménez. Jiménez would cash in on his 6th bomb of the season to make it 3-1 Sox. Cabrera ended his outing getting McCann to go down on a changeup low and away.
Jimmy Cordero would come in from the Sox pen in the 5th and this is where the rally beers came into play.
Schrock, making his debut, would collect his first big league hit with a perfectly placed bloop single between Mendick and Mazara. Bader then showed off his hustle by beating out a 5-4-3 double play, originally getting called out on the play. The Cards would review it and that would be the difference, the hustle of Harry. Edman followed getting drilled by a pitch to bring in Carp who would ground out into the shift, 4-3, driving in Bader after him and Edman moved up a base during the at bat on a wild pitch.
Evan Marshall would come in looking for the final out of the inning, trying to secure the Sox lead. But Goldy would drive a ball up the middle of the infield, allowing Edman to come across and tie the game at 3-3.
What happened next sent me through the roof. What made it better was the fact that Jimmy Ballgame called it on air. Prince Sex would drive an excellent changeup low and in on the hands over the LF wall for a two-run blast (95.7mph exit velocity, 378 feet), his 3rd of the season to put the Birds on top 5-3.
Brad Miller and Dylan Carlson followed that with back-to-back knocks of their own, both their firsts in a Cardinal uniform. Miller would single up the middle and Carlson would collect his 1st big league hit, a double into RF as he showed off some hustle turning a sure single into extra bases. Carlson also walked and drove two balls to the warning track today while making that fine defensive play. He will find himself in the lineup every day with that sort of play moving forward.
Alex Reyes would make his season debut, getting the luxury to pitch to Luis Robert right off the bat. Reyes didn’t back down from the challenge, blowing a 99mph fastball right down the pipe for the strikeout. It wouldn’t end there, as Reyes kept throwing straight gas, getting Mazara (looking 98mph) and Mendick (98mph) on the heater as well.
It was such a delight seeing him pump fastballs in the upper 90’s and mixing in the rest of his repertoire, too. There was a 1-0 curveball for a ball to Mendick that had some of the most wicked movement I’ve ever seen.
Tyler Webb kept doing Tyler Webb things in the 6th, missing barrels and producing soft contact after soft contact. How he keeps doing this is the worlds biggest mystery. He even did it facing the top of the Sox order (Anderson, Moncada, Grandal, & Abreu).
The Cards would add an insurance run in the top of the 7th off former Cardinal, Steve Cishek. Carp would greet him by beating the shift for a single where the SS would normally be playing. After Goldy would fly out to Mazara, Prince Sex kept his wonderful afternoon rolling, lacing a double into LCF to put two runners in scoring position for Brad Miller.
Miller would miss his first Cards HR by a matter of inches, hitting a sac-fly to the RF warning track to plate Carp, making it 6-3 Cards.
Andrew Miller would get the save opportunity in the 7th, getting Jiménez, McCann, Robert and Encarnación (pinch-hitting for Mazara), no easy task.
Jiménez led things off with a single into LF, making all of us feel uneasy I’m sure. But Miller wouldn’t let it get to him as he would get the next three in order, striking out McCann and and Encarnación to end it, 6-3, picking up his 1st save of the season.
After sweeping the doubleheader, the Cards move into 2nd place in the NLC only playing just 7 games.
Dakota Hudson (0-1, 8.31) gets the nod for the series finale tomorrow afternoon. He will matchup with leftie, Dallas Keuchel* (2-2, 3.04). First pitch from the south side is set for 1:10pm c/t.