I’m gonna be honest, coming into tonight’s pitching matchup, Mikolas vs Darvish, I thought to myself, “this is gonna be a high scoring game.”
And it’s funny how baseball can makes us completely wrong about every situation we imagine. This was a complete 180° of what I had in mind, as I wondered if the Cardinals bats will ever get rolling consistently.
Mikolas was tasked with stranding the bases loaded in the 1st inning, giving up back-to-back singles to Bryant and Rizzo. The Cubs were first pitch feasting vs Mik, or at least that seemed like the game plan the first time thru the order.
Báez would then ground into a 5-4 fielder’s choice, moving Bryant to 3B, with Hayward coming to bat. Heyward worked a free pass, bringing up the worst human on the face of the earth.
And when you’re the biggest piece of trash on the earth, nothing good comes your way, as the loser would line out to Dex, stranding the bases juiced.
All that work and Mik still ended the inning with 14 pitches.
Yu Darvish and his command issues that have been plaguing him this season followed him into tonight’s start, issuing back-to-back walks to the Leadoff Guy and Pauly Deez. Goldy would fly out to deep RF, advancing Carp to 3B on the play.
Swags then delivered for the Cards only run of the game, until extra innings that is, sending a sac-fly to Heyward in RF, with Carp beating the throw (not by much) that was just a bit up the line. Oh, that was also Swags 50th rbi, not a shabby total as we flip the calendar to June.
But, the Cubs would strike back immediately, as the switch hitting Caratini drove a ground-rule double into the Cards pen. Almora would move him up 90 feet with a ground out on the right side of the infield, bringing up Darvish in a rbi spot. With Darvish down in the count with a couple strikes on him, he’d get a fat bender from Mik and he’d hit it in the air just enough to Swags to score Caratini, tying things up at 1-1.
This is when Darvish and Mik lock in and go beast mode until they are relieved.
Darvish would face the minimum the 2nd-4th innings, inducing 4 ground balls, one being an inning ending 3-6-3 DP off the bat of Wieters in the 4th, also adding three k’s to his line.
Mik was in the zone too. Retiring the side in order on 15 pitches in the 3rd, and working around back-to-back singles to leadoff the 4th. Heyward and the POS both lined singles, but Caratini would fly out to Bader in shallow CF and Almora would ground into an inning ending DP, 1-4-3 on the put out.
Mik would face the minimum in the 5th and 6th, getting some slick help from his backstop, Matt Wieters.
Mik tossed an 11 pitch 5th, striking out Bryant on slider for his second punch out of the game to end the inning.
In the 6th, Báez would draw a one out walk and be thrown out caught stealing 2B from Yad...I mean, daddy Wieters. It wasn’t even close. Heyward then rolled over a grounder to the right side of the infield (shocker) for the final out.
The Cards bats would collect one hit an inning thru the 4th-6th, but weren’t able to cash in on any situation.
Dex worked a leadoff walk in the 4th, but was thrown out on a KoWo bunt base hit, as he came off the bag when running into 2B, and Báez would keep the glove on him for the tootblan. Harry got drilled by a pitch next, hammer throwing the bat in frustration to put runners on for Mik.
Mik was asked to bunt, and of course couldn’t get one down, striking out on a bunt attempt to bring up Carp. Carp would get rung up on a front door 2SFB to end the threat.
Mik’s last inning of work came in the 7th, as he found himself in a little two out trouble. After striking out Caratini for the second out, Albert Almora would rip a triple past a diving Harry in RCF, who tried stopping the ball to avoid extra bases, but that plan backfired. Bote (pinch-hitting for Darvish) would fly out to Bader to end the inning.
Both bullpens would match each other the rest of the way. Ryan*, Brach, and Kintzler worked a scoreless/hitless 7th-9th, Kintzler picking up two k’s (Goldy & Swags).
Tsunami would relieve Mik in the 8th, working back-to-back games for the first time this year out of the pen. And he made it look like a breeze, zooming thru the top of the order on 11 pitches, making Bryant look silly on a 3 pitch, all sliders, strikeout.
Jordan Hicks was tasked with another multi-inning relief appearance, and I gotta be honest, even though it worked, I’m not the biggest fan of this. Hicks would record three soft ground outs in the 9th before coming back out to the mound in the 10th.
Almora lead off the 10th, and he got the honors of swinging and missing at a 95mph changeup (LOL). Descalso (pinch-hitting for Kintzler) walked and advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch.
Babe Ruth then struck out looking at a 103mph sinker and Bryant grounded out to Carp, taking things to the bottom half of the 10th.
Maddon would use three different pitchers to try and keep things tied in the 10th, using Montgomery first with Dex and Wong starting things off. Dex would ground out and KoWo would line a double into the RF corner, as Maddon would go back to his pen, bringing in Maples to face Bader and Trap House (pinch-hitting for Hicks). Maples didn’t do a great job, but didn’t get any help from home plate umpire, Laz Diaz on a full count vs Haaaaaaarry. Harry got bailed out on a strike three call, walking to advance things to Gyorko. Trap would work a walk, too.
Soooooo, the bases are loaded with one out for the best bases loaded hitter......ever?!? I like it. Maddon turned back to his pen, double-switching Schwarber out for Contreras, then playing 4 infielders on the right side of the infield, with a wicked shift on in the OF. Cishek was brought in to try and escape the jam. Carp greeted him with the Cards 1st walkoff of 2019, sending the longest single of all time into the LF corner (bouncing over the wall, but not a ground-rule double) scoring KoWo for a 2-1 extra inning winner.
The Cardinals are now (3-2) in extra innings in 2019.
Jack Flaherty (4-3, 3.77) takes the mound in game two, matching up with the lefty, José Quintana* (4-4, 3.73). First pitch 6:15pm c/t on the big FOX network. Blues game 3 is at 7pm, LGB!!!!!!!