Game 3 of the NLCS got underway on time yesterday afternoon ~ with the known forecast of severe weather heading towards St. Louis. Predicted not to hit the area until late afternoon. Busch Stadium was full to the brim and the white “terrible towels” waving by enthusiastic Cardinal fans ~ with rain gear stowed just in case.
Cardinals SP Kyle Lohse was up against the Giants SP Matt Cain. Tough adversaries on the mound. Both held for two scoreless innings – until the until the third with the Giants scoring first with a ground out by Sandoval and Pagan able to put a run on the board.
For the Cardinals, it was Matt Carpenter who was, in my mind, the MVP in the game. Beltran was held out of the game after the first inning due to a strained left knee which occurred running out a double play. In the third, manager Matheny replaced Beltran with M Carpenter in the line-up. John Jay, lead-off batter had a single, but was able to advance to second on a pick-off error by Cain. Then, it was showtime for Matt Carpenter coming to the plate. This was Carpenter’s first appearance in the NLCS. With little time to think, once again he faced Cain on the mound. Carpenter had been strong against Cain in regular season hitting four for four singles. The count was 0-2 in Cain’s favor, but Carpenter would not be denied. On 2-2 count, Carpenter connected with a hanging slider for a two run homer. The Cardinals were now in the lead, 2-1.
Both pitchers had their problems on the mound, even though Cain went longer than Lohse. Cardinals Kyle Lohse was retired after 5 2/3 innings with two runners on, two outs on the board. With Giants Pagan next at the plate, manager Matheny brought in RP Rosenthal. Pagan hit a grounder for a fielder’s choice and Cain was out at second. Rosenthal left the two runners stranded, holding the Cardinals with the lead. Between Cardinals RP Mujica and Boggs, they were able to keep the Giants at one run through the sixth and seventh innings.
The storm front was approaching and rain beginning to fall in the seventh ~ with looming reports of the front moving closer with 60 mph winds and severe lightning in a nearby county. Cain had the bases loaded, with two outs. Cardinals Shane Robinson was up to bat. He grounded out with a RBI to give the Cardinals another run, now a 2 run lead. Cardinals Kozma and Descalso advanced. Cain was retired and “game delay” was called, bringing the tarp out just moments before the major portion of the severe storm hit.
In postseason play, game in progress, play is resumed no matter how long it takes for a weather front to move through. After a 3 hour and 28 minute delay, the tarp was removed ~ with large puddles still standing the corner of the right field track ~ the game resumed. Cardinals CP Motte came in for the eighth – 3 up, 3 down and only nine pitches. He also squashed any hopes for the Giants in the ninth. Approximately, 23 minutes after the delay ~ the Cardinals take the win, 3-1 and a 2-1 lead for the series. A win for Lohse, and once again, a save for Jason Motte.
As much as the Giants ended their losing streak at home with their win to tie the series, the Cardinals were able to end another stat for the Giants. Their loss last night ended a six game winning streak on the road. And, it was Matt Cain’s second loss for postseason play.
It was a great afternoon into the night for the Cardinals and fans alike. A great day for Matt Carpenter ~ not only to help our his team, but his mom and dad were in the stands. Beginning their trip at 2:30 yesterday morning, they had driven 9 1/2 hours to watch the game, unknowing that their son would be placed in the line-up. And what a performance they were able to see by their son. Matt knocking the ball out of the park to take the lead over the Giants. For mom and dad, his team and fans alike ~ he made them all proud. For himself ~ “this is what you train for … a player does what he can to help out”. And, that he did.
As the front moved towards the Detroit area late afternoon/early evening ~ the ALCS Game 4 for the Tigers and the Yankees scheduled to begin at 7:00 CST ~ was postponed until this afternoon.
Even though the major cold front moved through the area last night, there is still a 50% chance of rain in the St. Louis area for tonight with temps a bit cooler than the 71 degrees of yesterday. With that possibility, will managers Matheny and Bochy reconsider their starting pitchers for tonight. Slated is Cardinals SP Adam Wainwright (14-13/3.94) and Giants SP Tim Lincecum (10-15/5.18). Or, will they stay the course and not worry about the weather forecast.
Also, this evening we have the NFL Thursday Night game kicking off Week 7. The Seattle Seahawks, coming off a win this past weekend, playing in San Francisco against the 49er’s, who lost their home game Sunday. Both teams are at 4-2.
To all ~ enjoy the games. Always ~ Elichap
The Cardinals have won four of their last six games. They split their previous four game series with the Dodgers and have taken the first two games of three from the Astros. In last night’s game, Cardinals SP Lance Lynn had another great night on the mound. Even better than his last appearance with his shutout last night in his 6.1 innings ~ only allowing the Astros 3 hits and struck out five at the plate. With help from the offense ~ a two run homer by David Freese, solo home run by Yadier Molina, giving each their 20th this season. Cardinals added RBI’s from Matt Holliday and Allen Craig. Lynn gets his 16th win and CP Jason Motte got his 37th save, 5-0 win over the Astros. This puts the Cardinals two ahead of the Dodgers, and holding the Brewers at 2.5 for the WC #2.
This afternoon’s game will wrap-up their short home stand with Cardinals SP Jamie Garcia, 4-7/4.24 against the Astros Bud Norris, 5-12/4.24. Norris has been effective against the Cardinals, so we will see how the Cards handle their nemesis.
Tomorrow will begin with the Cardinals back on the road for six games before finishing their season at home for six hosting the Nationals, followed by the Reds. Tomorrow at Wrigley field to face the Cubs will be SP Chris Carpenter’s debut this season. The “Carp” is returning from his lengthy rehab from his Tommy John’s surgery. What a welcome this will be for the Cardinals … timing is perfect with a mild slump in recent games for the pitching line-up. I hope he does well on the mound, but more importantly ~ very nice to have him back and exciting to see him pitch again. He will be up against Cubs Chris Volstad, 3-10/6.26. As much as the Cardinals have had their pitching woes…so have the Cubs. However….the rivalry between the two teams lives on ~ so the Cardinals can not take them for granted even with their record at 58-91.
The storm front that hit the Chicago area Monday which the Cubs playing the Pirates opted to play after an approximate four hour delay ~ moved to the East coast by Tuesday. The Nationals, Yankees and the Mets had their games postponed. Since the Mets – Phillies played Monday, their make-up game will be today. Double-headers were scheduled yesterday for both the Nationals – Dodgers, who split, and the Yankees – Blue Jays…Yanks winning both their games. All will play today to end their respective three game series.
On the heels of the Yankees, the Orioles sit a bare .5 behind in the AL East. The Orioles are leading the WC race in the AL along with the Oakland A’s. LA Angels are 3.5 games behind with the Tigers sitting at 5. Even though … The A’s are only 4 games out of the AL West leader, the Rangers. Tigers even closer to the White Sox, who are leading the AL Central, only by two games. There still are interesting possibilities that could occur within the 13 games left to be played.
In the NL, the Nationals – East, Reds – Central and the Giants – West …. have nothing to really be concerned about with all teams playing well right now. Even though, the Nationals want to keep heads up ~ the Braves are only 5 games back.
We have a solid schedule to be played in the next 13 days ~ who will be “on first”.
To all ~ enjoy. Always, Elichap
As the NL wild card race heats up, with the LA Dodgers sitting one behind the St Louis Cardinals prior to last night’s game…followed by the Pirates, Brewers and the Phillies in the hunt.
The Cardinals are playing the Dodgers with the first of a four game series won by the Cardinals, 2-1. Their win saves their lead in the race, but still by a slim margin. Nothing to be comfortable with, yet.
The pitching of both teams … pretty evenly matched. Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn was moved back into their line-up. With waning pitching performance by the starting pitchers, Lynn was reinstated from the bullpen to replace SP Jake Westbrook, who is the day-to-day DL with a strained right oblique. Lynn has had his pitching woes as well in recent outings. However, he did his job last night on the mound ~ kept the Dodgers to 5 hits, allowed 1 earned run on a RBI by A. Gonzalez in the first, but settled in and had seven strike-outs through his six innings.
Dodgers SP J. Beckett, for his 5.1 innings ~ allowed 7 hits, 1 run on Schumaker’s RBI in the second, and had 6 strike outs. Game tied 1-1, RP Paco Rodriguez followed Beckett giving up the leading run for the Cardinals, with a RBI by Craig in the seventh.
Cardinals RP’s Mujica, Boggs and CP Jason Motte did an excellent job in holding the Dodgers to their one run….giving Lynn (15-7) the win and Motte his 34th save. Dodgers P Rodriguez (0-1) for the loss.
The Cardinals put their team 2 ahead of the Dodgers with the win, Pirates at 3, Brewers 3.5 and the Phillies at 4. Now is the time for St Louis to increase their lead even more over the Dodgers…keeping those in the hunt at bay. For tonight’s game, it will be Cardinals SP Joe Kelly (5-6/3.51) against the Dodgers Chris Capuano (11-10/3.59).
Other teams of interest … both the Orioles and Yankees won, keeping the AL East division tie going. The Chicago White Sox were looking to take two of their four game series against the Detroit Tigers in their final game yesterday, but the game was postponed. The WS sit only one ahead of the Tigers in the AL Central … the make-up game is scheduled for Sept. 17th, this coming Monday afternoon in Chicago. In the AL West, the Rangers lost to the Indians. However the A’s lost to the LA Angels….so the Rangers still remain three up on the A’s.
Very few baseball teams played yesterday, which is not uncommon for a Thursday. Since our NFL season has begun…we will have a few more Thursday night games to watch. And last night’s match between the rivals of the Chicago Bears vs. the Green Bay Packers ~ still leaves the Pack with a 5-0 lead over the Bears in their last five games … and still the Bears have not won a night game against the Pack since 1991! No…Bear fans did not walk away with bragging rights as Green Bay won, 23-10. The Packers definitely closed the “eye-of-needle” for Cutler last night, as much as the Bears offensive line did little to protect him. It is what it was. However ~ they will meet again….but the Bears have a lot of improving to do.
To all ~ enjoy your day right into the weekend. Always ~ Elichap
Not only was it good that the Cardinals took game two of their three game series over the Astros last night ~ but this puts them 1/2 game in front of the Pirates for a wild-card position in the National League. With the Pirates losing their second to Padres, 2-4, this helped move the Cardinals up in position. One half game is a beginning, but not near enough to seal the deal.
Cardinals SP Kyle Lohse (13-2/2.61) pitched last night and once he got into his “groove”, did very well ~ only allowed 3 hits, no walks and had 3 strike outs. However, 2 of those 3 hits were solo home runs by Astros Wallace and C. Synder, in the first and third respectively. It had been since May 30, Cardinals loss to Atlanta, that Lohse had two home runs hit against him. Even though, he went on to pitch a full seven innings, followed by RP Boggs and CP Motte to give the Cardinals their win. This was Motte’s 29th save. Astros SP Bud Norris took the loss.
Once again it was a team effort for the Cardinals. Descalso and John Jay each had RBI’s to tie. In the fifth, on a wild pitch by Norris, Jay was able to score putting the Cardinals in the lead for the night. It was Yadier Molina’s RBI in the 8th that gave the Cardinals their final score, 4-2.
The Cardinals are looking at sweep over the Astros this afternoon with SP Jake Westbrook (12-9) against Astros Dallas Keuchel (1-5). Will the brooms come out?! Time will tell. The Cardinals need to clean house before traveling to Cincinnati to face the Reds tomorrow.
As we know, the Reds are a strong team this year and continue to be “Red HOT”. They have an excellent closer in Aroldis Chapman, a fast ball pitcher of 100 mph+. Even though his W/L stat is at 5-4, the Reds are 26-0 with him closing. Chapman has been in the line-up 58 games, pitched 62 innings, has had 112 strike outs, 15 walks, and has an ERA of 1.31. In last nights win over the Phillies, 3-2, Chapman put up his 31st save. I believe the key for the Cardinals, or any team, knowing Chapman is to close ~ they better have a healthy lead early in the game prior to him taking the mound.
So baseball fans ~ other news ~ The Rangers smashed the Orioles, 12-3, which included 3 home runs by Beltre. Chicago White Sox take out the Yankees, 2-1, with the southsiders of Chicago still skeptic in their team’s success. They just aren’t convinced that GM Kenny Williams really could achieve such success this season ~ go figure. The Royals could not overcome the Rays with a loss of 5-3, but did keep the Rays from a sweep ~ took one game of the three in a shutout, 1-0. The Brewers took the win over the Cubs, 3-2. The Atlanta Braves put a speed bump in the way of the Nationals, taking the win, 5-1. And, the Giants came out on top of the Dodgers, 8-4.
But before I close ~ another player has been suspended 50 games due to testing positive ~ Oakland A’s pitcher Colon. How many more don’t get it? Can they beat the odds? But, baseball goes on ~ for those that do use enhancement drugs….it’s only a matter of time.
Enjoy your day ~ enjoy your games. Always, Elichap