Lizard King Cruises to Seventh Victory, Cafecíto & Voit Provide Bombs, Cardinals Beat Marlins 4-1
Miles Mikolas continued his superior 2018 season Thursday afternoon, the Lizard King keeps proving why he was the best free agent pickup in baseball.
Miles Mikolas started this afternoon with his longest inning of his spectacular outing, throwing 23 pitches, striking out Riddle to end the inning on a curveball in the dirt. Mikolas retired Castro and Dietrich before Bour and Anderson would connect for back-to-back singles. The singles would go by the wayside, as Mikolas would snatch his first strikeout of five, getting Riddle swinging on some junk.
The Cardinals offense would provide two big runs for their starter in the bottom of the 1st, courtesy of Cafecíto. Trevor Richards, a graduate of Drury University in Springfield, Missouri, would pitch against his favorite childhood team, and it didn’t go as planned. Tommy Pham, who’s slashing (.170/.200/.255) with a .194 BABIP since 05/22, muscled a one out single into LF, bringing in Cafecíto. Cafecíto would get a fastball on the lower-inner half and take it deep to LF (383 feet, 98 mph exit velocity) for a 2-run shot, giving the Cardinals the 2-0 lead. That’s all Mikolas needed.
Following the Riddle strikeout to end the top of the 1st, Mikolas would sit down the next 13 Marlins he faced, Castro breaking up the streak in the 6th inning, reaching base on a fielding error from Dexter Fowler. Mikolas would absolutely dominate over the next four innings, mixing in his entire repertoire, recording three more strikeouts (Holaday, Richards, & Riddle). Mikolas would strikeout Holaday on a 96 mph high heater to end the top of the 2nd, throwing only 10 pitches. Mikolas started the 3rd where he left off, striking out his opposition on a curveball on the outer half of the plate, before retiring Castro and Dietrich to end the inning on 17 pitches, bringing his total to 50. Mikolas, again, retired the Marlins in order in the 4th, striking Riddle out on a high fastball at 97 mph to end the inning. The Lizard King had two more perfect innings in him, one coming in the top of the 5th. Mikolas retired Brinson, Rivera, & Holaday on 13 pitches, still without allowing a hit since the 1st inning.
The Cardinals offense would be held quietly the 2nd-5th innings, only recording two base hits off Richards, both off the bat of Kolten Wong.
Mikolas should’ve had another 1-2-3 inning in the 6th, but after striking out Richards on a slider, Castro would reach base on a, two-base, fielding error from Fowler in RF. Dex did a great job tracking the ball down and getting to it, but just missed it as the ball hopped out his glove. Dietrich then lined out to Dex for the second out before Justin Bour lined an RBI double to LF, making it 2-1 Cardinals. With first base open and a hot hitter coming to the plate in Anderson, Matheny would elect to intentionally walk him to bring up Riddle. Riddle grounded out to Muñoz to end the inning, stranding two runners.
After giving a run up, the Cardinals decided to get one back the following half inning. Pham and Cafecíto would start the inning with back-to-back singles, running Richards from this game after: ( 5 IP, 7 hits, 3r/3er, 0 bb, 4 k’s, 83 pitches). The veteran submariner, Brad Ziegler, would be called upon to face Swags Ozuna. Ozuna greeted him ripping an RBI single to LF, scoring Pham to make it 3-1 Cardinals. Ziegler escaped the inning striking out Peña on a curveball, stranding Ozuna and Wong (IBB) on base.
Mikolas ended his afternoon after throwing a perfect 7th inning on 10 pitches. Mikolas retired Brinson on a grounder to Carp, who replaced Cafecíto at the beginning of the inning for defensive purposes, as Gyorko came in to play 3B. Rojas too, would ground out to Carp, 3U on the putout. Mikolas ended his day getting Holaday to fly out to Ozuna.
Lizard King’s line: (7 IP, 3 hits, 1r/0er, 1 bb, 5 k’s, 99 pitches, 76 game score) Mikolas threw 74 strikes (75%).
The Cardinals added an insurance run in the bottom of the 7th, playing a little game of chess to get it, Matheny’s favorite. Ziegler went back out to pitch the inning for Mattingly, and Matheny would announce Greg Garcia as his pinch-hitter for Mikolas. Mattingly countered the move, turning to his lone lefty, Adam Conley. Matheny would do the same, pulling Garcia back for Luke Voit. The move paid off, as Voit blasted Conley’s pitch, lining it to the Marlins bullpen in LF for a 4-1 Cardinals lead (398 feet, 107 mph exit velocity).
Jordan Hicks and Bud Norris would team up to shutdown the Marlins the final two innings. Hicks would come in and work two quick outs, getting Shuck (pinch-hitting) to ground out softly back to him, and striking out Castro on that oh-so beautiful slider, making quick work of him on three pitches. Dietrich would work a free pass and Bour would tap an infield single down the third base line, missing Gyorko’s barehand attempt. But no worries, Jordan Hicks always finds a way. Hicks would wipe away Anderson on the slider, also a three pitch strikeout, to end the 8th, stranding two runners.
Bud Norris picked up his 12th save to end the afternoon, tossing a 1-2-3 9th inning. Norris, who hadn’t pitched in four days, struck out Riddle on a cutter to begin the frame. Norris’ cutter has became my favorite weapon for the Cardinals closer, it has the same sharp break as a slider, but touches 90-91 mph. Brinson would be the second out, flying out to Ozuna. Rojas, pinch-hitting for Rivera, would be the games final out, grounding out off Norris to Gyorko, who would throw it over to Carp at first to secure the 4-1 victory for the Cardinals (33-27), salvaging a game in the series before heading to Cincinnati (22-41) for a short, three-game, road trip.
Luke Weaver (3-5, 4.12) gets the series underway as he battles against the Dark Knight, Matt Harvey (1-4, 5.79), in his new Reds uniform. First pitch from the GABP is 6:10 c/t.
Thanks for reading, cheers!
Game 60 is in the book
by Stew // @StewStilez