Cardinals Strike First, Walks Continue to Haunt Martínez, Cubs Comeback to Steal Game Two 6-3
Anytime your ace is on the mound, you feel good about your chances that night. In his third start back from the DL with a right lat strain, the walk trend continued. Carlos has a walk-rate of 26.5%, with a k-rate of 22.1%, a (-4.4%) ratio.
Opponents are also making slightly harder contact on Carlos his past three starts, but not as drastically as his start vs MIA two starts ago.
Carlos started his evening walking the Cubs leadoff man, Ben Zobrist. Carlos set down the next three, with two pop outs on the infield and a grounder back to him off the bat of Rizzo to end the inning.
Kyle Hendricks countered Tsunami, allowing a one out walk to Pham in the bottom half of the 1st. After Yadi flew out to RF for the second out, Swags connected for his 7th HR in the month of June, taking the pitch to RCF for the 2-0 lead. Since 06/01, Swags is slashing (.404/.446/.846) with 7 HR and 17 RBI.)
Carlos would allow a one out walk to Schwarber to begin action in the 2nd. Carlos then picked up his first strikeout of the night, getting Addison Russell on a 95 mph four-seam fastball, the pitch Carlos had great command of all evening. Ian Happ reached base with an infield single, bringing up Hendricks who would strikeout looking on three pitches, falling victim to a front door slider.
Hendricks would respond with a 1-2-3 inning, setting the Cardinals down on 6 pitches to end the inning.
The Cubs would cut the Cardinals lead in half in the 3rd. Zobrist led the inning off taking a single to LF. After Tsunami forced Heyward to pop out to Muñoz, Carlos would allow his third free pass, this time to Kris Bryant to put two on. Carlos would get Rizzo to ground into a 6-4 fielder’s choice, putting runners on the corners with two outs. Willson Contreras then ripped a ball to Carp at first, who would knock it down and keep it in the infield, but wouldn’t recover in time to get Contreras at first. Zobrist scored on the play, making it 2-1 Cardinals. Carlos escaped further damage getting Babe Ruth, I mean Kyle Schwarber to fly out to Pham, ending the inning on 29 pitches.
The Cardinals would run themselves out of the inning a few different occasions tonight, the first coming after Pham hit a one out single to RF. With Yadi batting, Pham would get an excellent jump on Hendricks, but turned around to peak at Contreras and that’s the split second Contreras needed to get his man. Yadi would draw a walk and Swags would fly out to Happ to end the inning.
Addison Russell wasted no time tying the game in the 4th, swinging at the first pitch slider and taking it over the wall in CF, making it a 2-2 game. Carlos then picked up his third strikeout, freezing Happ on a high 95 mph fastball. Carlos then threw a 6 pitch walk to his counterpart, a huge baseball no-no. Zobrist kept the inning rolling, ripping his second single of the night. Carlos then got the break he needed, inducing Heyward to ground into a 4-6-3 inning ending double-play.
The Cardinals would regain the lead in the bottom half, picking up back-to-back one out singles from Fowler and Muñoz. Fowler’s hit would come on a first pitch breaking ball, his first hit vs a breaking ball this season, snapping an (0-30). Hendricks then made Kolten Wong look abysmal getting him to swing at a fastball up and out of the zone. Luckily Tsunami can handle his own at the dish. Carlos would deliver with a big two out, RBI single to RF, dropping in front of a diving Heyward, scoring Dex to make it 3-2 Cardinals. Carp ended the inning flying out to the warning track in LF.
What’s a shutdown inning? Asking for a friend. Carlos began the top of the 5th with his fifth walk of the game, his second to Bryant. After Rizzo popped out to Gyorko, Contreras would reach base with a bunt single. Babe Ruth made it hurt, lacing an RBI single to CF, tying it up 3-3. Carlos bounced back striking out Russell looking at a 98 mph heater. With first base open and Hendricks on deck, Happ would be intentionally walked. Joe Maddon would let his pitcher hit, which honestly surprised me. Carlos struck him out on three pitches, getting him looking at a 98 mph heater, too.
And now it gets painful.
Austin Gomber would relieve Tsunami to start the 6th inning.
Carlos’ final line: (5 IP, 7 hits, 3r/3er, 6 bb, 5 k’s, 98 pitches)
Gomber would retire the top of the Cubs lineup in order, ending the inning striking out Bryant on a high fastball.
The Cardinals did that thing again, you know where they make an out on the bases? I mean it’s such a regular occurrence by now.
Fowler would draw a leadoff walk and Muñoz (3-4) would connect with his second single of the game to LF. Dex, for whatever reason, rounded second base aggressively with the play directly in front of him and Schwarber would fire it back in quickly to Zobrist, who transferred it to Bryant at third, tagging Dex out. Munoz advanced to second on the play, but would be left stranded.
The Cubs snatched the lead in the top of the 7th and never looked back. Tui would come in to work the inning, giving up a leadoff single to Rizzo who swung at the first offering, sending it right back up the middle. Contreras, the cleanup batter, would bunt for his second straight at bat, sacrificing Rizzo over to second. Matheny elected to walk Schwarber intentionally with first base open to bring in Russell. Tui got Russell to pop out to Muñoz for the second out. Ian Happ delivered the big blow, with two strikes on him, he would rope an RBI double down the RF line, tucking it into the corner, scoring Rizzo to make it 4-3 Cubs.
Jordan Hicks would relieve Tui, facing pinch-hitter, Tommy La Stella. Hicks got out of the inning getting La Stella to ground out to Muñoz.
The Cubs bullpen would shut down the Cardinals bats in the 7th and 8th, working two 1-2-3 innings. Rosario*, Cishek, and Strop would work the 2 innings, not allowing a single base runner.
The Cubs delivered the final blow in the top of the 8th, courtesy of Heyward. After Zobrist reached base on an E6, which is a tough official score, could of easily been an E3, Heyward took the first pitch sinker deep to RF for a 2-run HR. This was the first HR given up in the young career of Jordan Hicks, it only took 35.1 IP for someone to finally connect. Hicks would strikeout Bryant on three pitches, getting him to reach at a slider on the outer half. Rizzo would draw a walk, ending Hicks appearance. Matt Bowman would enter to record the final 5 outs for the Cardinals pen.
Bowman would make a throwing error on a sure double-play to begin his outing. Contreras would ground the ball back to Bowman, who then threw it wide to Wong covering the base. Bowman would strand both runners as he got the next two to fly out to Fowler.
Bowman tossed a 1-2-3 9th inning, picking up a strikeout on Báez.
The Cardinals made things interesting in the bottom of the 9th vs Cubs closer, Brandon Morrow. Morrow, who hasn’t thrown in 9 days, showed slight signs of rust early. Muñoz and Wong would start the inning with back-to-back singles to bring in the pinch-hitter, Greg Garcia. Garcia tapped a weak grounder back to Morrow, moving both runners up a base.
Morrow ended the game with two big strikeouts of Carp and Pham, both on fastballs, for the 6-3 Cubs win. The fourth loss in-a-row for the Cardinals.
The Cardinals are now (4-3) vs their division rivals from Chicago in 2018, looking to salvage a game in the series Sunday night.
Jack Flaherty (3-2, 2.96) will get the ball as he is countered with the lefty, José Quintana* (6-4, 4.09).
First pitch 7:05 c/t for the game of the world.
Thanks for reading, cheers!
Game 68 is 'in the books'