Jack Flaherty would get the nod this afternoon in search of the three-game sweep of Luis Castillo and the Cincinnati Reds. A battle of team number ones if you will. What more could you ask for on a Sunday afternoon?
Flaherty had no issue keeping the streak of consecutive solid starts going for the rotation, controlling things from start to finish. There wasn’t as much nibbling and deep counts for Jack this afternoon, a trend that’s caused him not to go deep into starts in the past. He had a few occasions here and there early today, but for the most part was going right at the Reds hitters.
After a quick 1-2-3 top of the 1st, the bats would give Flaherty a quick run on the board vs Castillo. Castillo has been dealing with some 1st inning issues this year, and it didn’t start off how he’d imagined. Edman and Carlson led things off how they will lead things off a lot this year moving forward, with back-to-back singles to bring in the Goldy/Nado combo. With runners at the corners, Goldy would ground into a 5-4 fielder’s choice, driving in Edman to make it 1-0 (not to spoil anything, but with the win today the Cardinals are 9-0 in games when Tommy Edman scores a run).
Flaherty would enjoy some solid defense behind him in his 2nd inning of work, retiring the side in order on 14 pitches. Pauly Deez would rob Votto of a base hit, in the shift and diving on the second base side of the 2B bag, quickly firing to Goldy for the out. Arenado made the second out, taking away a double down the line from Suárez. Arenado would backhand a rocket and zip a throw for out number two (102.1mph exit velocity, .560 xBA). Goldy would end the inning by flashing the leather in foul ground down the RF line, making a nifty snag on a Nick Senzel pop up.
Prince Sex extended the Cardinals lead with two outs in the bottom half of the 2nd, sending his 2nd HR of the season to RF (104.6mph, 419 feet) to make it 2-0.
Flaherty just kept cruising, throwing to the minimum thru his first 5IP, running up his k count to four.
The Cardinals kept their foot on the gas, chipping away with a couple more runs for Flaherty in the bottom of the 5th. Prince Sex O’Neill would lead things off with his 2nd HR of the game, absolutely crushing it to RCF to make it 3-0 (107.2mph, 423 feet). Kiz followed the solo shot up by ripping a single past Votto into RF and Flaherty would move him over with a sac-bunt, 3-4 on the play. Edman then moved Kiz up to 3B with a ground out to India, bringing up Carlson with two outs. And just like that, Carlson would rip a single right back up the middle thru the legs of Castillo to drive in Kiz to make it 4-0 Cardinals.
Carlson would pick up another 3-hit game, his second consecutive, finishing the game (3-4, 2B, rbi).
David Bell would make things interesting with one out in the top of the 6th, after India was plunked with a Flaherty heater in the coconut. Joe West aka Mr. Ump Show, made sure to give warnings out after the HBP and Mr. Bell didn’t think that was necessary. I see a ton of people giving Bell flack for arguing here, and I think we need to understand that it’s simply a manager made about his team getting warned when one of their batters was just hit by a pitch in the head. It makes it impossible for his pitchers to throw inside the rest of the game. I get it, seemed really unnecessary for Joe West to issue warnings at all here, it clearly wasn’t a purposeful pitch.
Jesse Winker picked up the first two of three hits vs Flaherty this afternoon, sending his second for a solo HR to leadoff the top of the 7th to make it 4-1. Castellanos then singled and Votto then grounded into a casual 6-5-3 double play to quickly erase the single. Captain Jack ended his outing with his 6th strikeout, getting Suárez to freeze up on a 96mph fastball.
Flaherty’s final line: 7IP, 3 hits, 1ER, 0bb/6k’s (95 pitches, 60 strikes)
Hicks and Reyes worked the final two frames, running into some trouble with long appearances. Hicks would need 27 pitches to escape the 8th. A Tyler Naquin pinch-hit, one out, rbi single would cut things in half to 4-2. Blandino would ground out to Hicks to end the Reds threat, taking things to the bottom of the 8th.
Carl Bean kept doing Carl Bean things with a leadoff double vs the lefty, Doolittle. Dylan would drop a double down in front of Castellanos right by the line. Goldy followed that up by ripping an rbi single into LF, his 11th rbi of the season to score Carlson to make it 5-2. Goldy would also add his 1st SB of the season, swiping 2B with an exceptional jump and read off Doolittle. The first non-Edman SB the Cardinals have got this year.
Reyes would come in, searching for his 5th save and to compete the weekend sweep of the last place Reds. Things started off perfect, as Reyes dotted 99mph gasoline on the upper outside quadrant to Winker to freeze him up for the first out. Castellanos followed that up with a double into RF and Votto followed by working a walk to bring up the tying run in Suárez. Reyes would win the battle, getting Suárez to fly out to O’Neill in LF, as him and Hurst (entered as defensive replacement top 8th) almost collided. With two outs, Senzel would work a walk to load the bases for Tucker Barnhart. Reyes would get squeezed of a strike on a slider right down the middle during this at bat, eventually sending things to a 3-1 count. Reyes would get Barnhart to ground out to Goldy unassisted on the next pitch, stranding the bases loaded and securing a sweep and 5-2 victory over the Reds.
The Cardinals (11-10) welcome the Phillies (10-11) into town for the start of a four-game series Monday night. Uncle Charlie (0-2, 5.03) gets the ball in game one, facing the right hander Zack Wheeler (1-2, 3.80). First pitch from Busch Stadium is scheduled for 6:45pm c/t.