Lance Lynn provided the pitching and Yadier Molina and David Freese provided the power as the St. Louis Cardinals won their 3rd straight game on Wednesday. They will look to sweep the Houston Astros today behind Jaime Garcia, who will do his best to provide the Redbirds with a quality start. As September baseball fades into October, the St. Louis Cardinals are doing their best to hold fast to their playoff positioning, proving that last season was not just a fluke or short term success.
|St. Louis Cardinals||0||2||0||1||0||0||0||2||X||5||8||1|
|WP||Lance Lynn (16-7, 3.79)|
|LP||Lucas Harrell (10-10, 3.89)|
Behind the Box Score: Lance Lynn demonstrated once more that his improved delivery and demeanor can lead to improved results. His final line was 6 1/3 innings of work, just 3 hits allowed, 2 walks, 5 Ks, and 0 runs allowed. Lynn mixed his high-90s fastball with upper-80s off-speed pitches with a smooth motion that seems to be easily repeatable for him.
It almost looks at times like Lance Lynn’s arm slot is more sidearmed than anything. Though it took 102 pitches to reach as deep as he did into the game, he truly looked almost effortless at points in the game. One case in point was his 6th inning strikeout of Justin Maxwell on a 95 mph fastball that looked just as crisp as any of his earlier pitches.
In an effort to preserve the shutout, Edward Mujica finished off the 7th inning after Lynn was pulled following Brandon Laird‘s first double of the season. Mitchell Boggs pitched a fantastic 8th inning, striking out Jason Castro, Jose Altuve, and Scott Moore on just 12 pitches. Joe Kelly made things a bit interesting in the 9th, with 2 walks allowed before yielding to Jason Motte who struck out the 2 batters he faced for his 37th save of the season.
Behind blasts from David Freese and Yadier Molina, the St. Louis Cardinals had all the offense they needed in last night’s shutout of the Astros. The homers were the 20th of the year for both players, and gives the Redbirds 5 players who now have 20 or more long balls for the season. Carlos Beltran is leading the team with 29, Matt Holliday is just 2 behind that with 27, Allen Craig has 21 in just over 400 ABs, and Freese and Molina now have 20 each.
Matt Holliday and Allen Craig added further cushion to a 3-0 lead in the 8th inning, when each drove in a run. The RBI for Holliday upped his total to just 3 shy of 100, which would be the first time since 2010 for the slugger. His 90 runs are just 10 shy of the century mark, which Holliday hasn’t reached since having 107 with the Colorado Rockies in 2008.
Quick Look at the Wild-Card Standings: After a rainout on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Dodgers split the double header against the Washington Nationals to fall 2 full games behind the Redbirds. The Milwaukee Brewers won their 4th straight in dropping the Pittsburgh Pirates to .500. The Philadelphia Phillies even moved ahead of the Pirates after a 9th inning homer from Ryan Howard. The Arizona Diamondbacks won too, 6-2 over the San Diego Padres behind a quality start from Trevor Cahill. Still, the St. Louis Cardinals control their own destiny, and that’s an enviable position this late in the game! Here’s a quick look at where things stand after end of play Wednesday.
Behind Jaime Garcia (4-7, 4.24), the St. Louis Cardinals will look to increase their lead even further tonight. Jaime Garcia should benefit from another home start too, as he normally fares much better at home (2.63 home ERA vs. a 5.67 road ERA). Garcia will be opposed by Bud Norris (5-12, 4.93), who has really fallen off the map since a great May. He has lost 11 straight decisions, and has seen his ERA jump from 3.14 to its current 4.93 since his last win. Though it would take 11 wins in their last 13 games, 90 wins is still possible for the St. Louis Cardinals. I personally don’t think the number of wins is as important as how a team finishes, but the nice round number sure would look good on the resume of first-year manager Mike Matheny.