Daily Rant: Jaime Garcia and Cardinals Take Game 2


The St. Louis Cardinals seem to be hitting their stride this month, and it bodes well for their playoff chances.  Though they may not catch up to the Cincinnati Reds, it seems likely that they will maintain at least a Wild Card position.  Continued success should be in the near future for the Redbirds, as the next 6 series are against very beatable teams – the Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros (twice), and Chicago Cubs.

Box Score:

New York Mets000000010190
St. Louis Cardinals03000110X5102
WPJaime Garcia (4-6, 4.16)
LPMatt Harvey (3-4, 3.04)

Behind the Box Score:  Jaime Garcia was absolutely fantastic other than the 9 hits and 1 unearned run he allowed.  Lance Lynn even pitched well, getting through 2/3 of an inning on just 8 pitches.  Trevor Rosenthal occupied the 9th, utilizing mostly his fastball to get 3 quick outs.  Jordany Valdespin did reach 2nd base on a fielding error by Matt Carpenter to make things slightly interesting, but Ike Davis popped out to end the game.

Interestingly enough, all the hits by both teams were singles.  No St. Louis Cardinal had more than 2 total bases, and the same was true for the New York Mets.  In the 2nd inning, the Redbirds were able to string a few singles together, and brought home trio of runs.

Yadier Molina led off the inning with a ball deep in the hole to Ruben Tejada, who almost made a fantastic play on a jump throw.  However, Daniel Murphy was pulled off the bag, and Yadi stood at first with the 1,000th hit of his career.  It was nice to see him get the milestone in his home park, as the Cardinals offered a brief scoreboard tribute.

David Freese followed Molina with a single to right, which sent Yadier Molina to 2nd.  A passed ball charged to Kelly Shoppach sent the runners ahead 90 feet, and Skip Schumaker then singled.  The single scored Molina, and in stepped Daniel Descalso.  He too singled, and the score was quickly 2-0.  After a Jaime Garcia sacrifice bunt and Jon Jay hit-by-pitch, Matt Carpenter hit a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Schumaker.  Matt Holliday flew out to end any further threat, but the damage was already done, the St. Louis Cardinals leading 3-0.

There was nothing doing for either team until the 6th, when Daniel Descalso scored ahead of a Jon Jay ground out.  Jaime Garcia, meanwhile, was mowing Mets down with a good fastball, and nasty off-speed offerings.  David Freese had (you guessed it) another single in the 7th, scoring Adron Chambers, who came in as a pinch runner for Matt Holliday.  5-0 was the score until a Mike Baxter sacrifice fly in the 8th.

One other thing of note was Lance Berkman‘s return, as he struck out in his lone pinch-hit at bat.  The bullpen that was such an Achilles’ heel in the earlier part of the season has been absolutely tremendous of late, and that bodes well for September baseball and beyond.

Quick Look At The Standings:  The Redbirds  won another game with 5 runs; this time with much more of a cushion.  Jaime Garcia was tremendous, making it through 7 1/3 with 5 Ks on just 94 pitches.  Though all the hits were singles, the St. Louis Cardinals made the most of what they were given, finding holes and timely hits.  It’s not always a bad thing to see a team win a game on guts, and this was one of those memorable, gutsy, hard-fought wins!

 Cincinnati Reds (18)8354.60643-2540-29596511+85Won 17-3
 St. Louis Cardinals7462.5448.542-2632-36656555+101Won 25-5
 Pittsburgh Pirates7164.52611.041-2730-37561548+13Won 14-6

Though the Reds and Pirates both won Tuesday, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves both lost, creating a lesser margin in the front of the Wild Card standings, and a little more wiggle room behind the Redbirds.  There’s no telling how things will play out from here, but the consistency the Cardinals have displayed so far this month has been a good thing to behold.