Taillon Blanks Cardinals 4-0 to Even the Series
The Cardinals would send their best starter of 2018, Miles Mikolas, to the mound, who was in search for his 7th win, still with a goose egg in the loss column. Jeez, I’ve hit a low point, talking about pitcher’s W/L’s like they actually matter, but in Mikolas’ case, they’ve mattered this year.
Mikolas would be matched up against Jameson Taillon, who is in my opinion, the Pirates best starter, he’s just had a rough start to the season.
So with that being said, we naturally knew how this game would play out, especially after that dramatic win last night, right?
Another note I want to speak of before I break down the recap, the defense tonight. The defense literally saved the Cardinals in so many ways tonight, but at the same time turned out to be the Achilles heel. More on this in the recap.
The Boring Game:
Mikolas found himself throwing more pitches than he’s used to inning-by-inning, tossing a scoreless 1st, stranding Marte (single) and Bell (walk). Mikolas recorded only 2 strikeouts on the night, collecting 1 in the 1st inning, getting Cervelli on a fastball.
Mikolas would battle back with a 1-2-3, 13 pitch, 2nd inning. The highlight of the inning, and pretty much the game, Harrison Bader’s phenomenal catch on Polanco’s fly ball to the warning track in front of the Bucs bullpen. Bader would run 119 feet in 6.2 seconds, reaching a top speed of 29.1 ft per second. Statcast rated the play a 4-star catch.
The Pirates would strike first in the top of the 3rd on a sac-fly from Josh Bell, scoring Adam Frazier. Frazier got the inning started with a one-out infield double that ricocheted off Mikolas left ankle. Following the double, Mikolas would hit Cervelli with a pitch and Marte would load the bases, reaching on an error from Muñoz at SS. Bell would cash in, connecting on a sac-fly to Ozuna.
Mikolas, after looking shaken up after the line drive off his ankle, would bounce back with a 7 pitch, 1-2-3 inning. Moran fly out to RF, Polanco fly out to CF, and Mercer groundout to 3B.
The Bucs would push across another run in the top of the 5th, courtesy of back-to-back one out triples off the bats of Frazier and Cervelli. Cervelli’s triple is a generous scoring from the official scorer, probably should’ve been ruled a double with an E7 on Ozuna who would bobble the ball trying to pick it up. Ozuna also showed off that rocket of an arm he has. Can you sense the sarcasm?
Then, Carp would make the first of two great plays down at the hot corner, robbing Marte of extra bases and an RBI, throwing him out at first on a nifty play. Mikolas got Bell to fly out to LF next, ending the inning.
Notice how I haven’t mentioned the offense yet? That’s because through the first 4 innings, Taillon would face the minimum, allowing no hits, one walk, and two strikeouts (Peña & Carp).
The Cardinals would get TWO HITS in the 5th inning, that’s incredible given how this game went. And it was back-to-back singles to boot, to leadoff the inning. Ozuna (2-4, with 2 blistering infield singles) collected his first infield single of the night before Fowler would rip a single into RF. Taillon would get two big strikeouts next, retiring Muñoz looking on a fastball and Wong swinging at a slider. Peña grounded out to Mercer to end the threat, the only threat the Cardinals would pose all night.
Mikolas’ night would be finished after he tossed a scoreless 6th inning, working around back-to-back leadoff singles from Dickerson and Moran. With Polanco batting, Mikolas would throw a high curve and induce a pop out to Carp in foul territory. Mercer would come up next, ripping a ball down to Carp at the hot corner. Carp would snag the liner and fire it to Wong at second to double Up Dickerson to end the inning.
Sam Tuivailala worked a solid 7th inning, earning two strikeouts on Taillon and Cervelli. Tui’s velocity and fastball location has looked tremendous his past few appearances. Both his strikeouts coming via the fastball. Kolten Wong also joined the web-gem party this inning, stealing an infield single away from Frazier. Who wants a lousy infield single anyways?
Ozuna hit his second infield single of the night in the bottom of the 7th, that’s the only highlight from that half inning.
After throwing a 12 pitch inning, Tui would go back out for the 8th, striking out Marte on a fastball to begin the frame. Tui then walked Bell and gave up and RBI double to the LF line to Dickerson, making it 3-0 Bucs.
Mike Mayers would relieve Tuivailala, finishing the final 0.2 IP. Mayers would give up a sac fly to Moran on a fat slider, lucky it wasn’t hit to the moon, scoring Dickerson to give the Pirates the 4-0 lead.
Brett Cecil, not Austin Gomber, because Austin Gomber apparently is unnoticed in the pen, would pitch the 9th inning. After giving up a leadoff single to pinch-hitter, David Freese, Cecil would retire the next three in order.
Edgar Santana would pitch the bottom of the 9th for Taillon, who threw an amazing 8 innings tonight, hat tip to him. Santana would give up a two-out double down the LF line to Cafecíto who was in the midst of an (0-16) slump, so that’s a positive. Santana would get Ozuna to fly out to deep RCF to end the game for a 4-0 Pirates win.
As the kind @stlcupofjoe mentioned to me earlier in the game, Ozuna hadn’t barreled a ball since 05/17 vs PHI- to make it worse he has 23 poorly hit balls in that time. The good news, Ozuna would barrel the final out of the game. (101 mph, 383 feet)
Luke Weaver (3-5, 4.63) will look to put the Cardinals back in the win column tomorrow afternoon against Chad Kuhl (4-3, 3.94).
First pitch 1:15 c/t.
Thanks for reading, cheers!
Game 55 is in the book
by Stew // @StewStilez