Redbirds Week In Review: Cardinals maintain one game lead

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The Cardinals had a rough week as they went 2-5 in their last seven games. Thankfully, though, no one really seems to want to win the second wild card slot so the Cardinals held onto the one game lead they started the week with. The team had a very unsuccessful three game series with the Padres and an important four game set with the new-look Dodgers. Let’s take a look back at the week for the defending champions.

Monday: Cardinals 3 – Padres 11

If anyone needed proof of Jaime Garcia‘s issues in away games, this is the perfect exhibit A. He not only underperformed, but he only lasted three innings in the premier pitcher’s park in the league. The Padres bats were red hot as they torched the Cardinals pitching for seventeen hits and eleven runs. Four different hitters had standout games for the Padres as Chris Denorfia picked up four hits, while Logan Forsythe, Cameron Maybin, and Everth Cabrera had three hit performances. For the Cardinals, Pete Kozma had a stellar three hit night filling in for the injured Rafael Furcal. With Ryan Jackson in the fold, it is actually a pretty smart move to let Kozma establish his value, as he could become a useful trade piece in the offseason as his upside still makes him an interesting prospect. Jaime Garcia was particularly critical of his performance, calling his start,

"A bad one. I didn’t get the job done. I was just getting the ball up. They’ve got a good lineup."

Tuesday: Cardinals 4 – Padres 6

Adam Wainwright continued his inconsistent Jekyll and Hyde performance this season with a sloppy start in San Diego. He lasted six innings and only allowed two earned runs, but also allowed nine base runners. The Cardinals led the way until the fourth inning. Pete Kozma bungled a groundball hit by Wil Venable that ended up costing the Cardinals three extra runs. Logan Forsythe came up big for the Padres for the second night in a row, hitting a two RBI double to take the lead from the Cardinals. The Birds picked up seven hits, including a solo shot by David Freese, but it wasn’t enough to hold off the surging Padres. Thankfully, both the Dodgers and Pirates lost games, so the Cardinals got away from the loss without falling in the standings.

Wednesday: Cardinals 2 – Padres 3

The Cardinals wasted yet another quality start by Kyle Lohse, who has quietly put together a fantastic season in a contract year. Lohse went six innings and only allowed two earned runs and four base runners. The man of the series, Logan Forsythe, started the game off with a home run in the second inning. The Padres added another run thanks to a fielding error by Matt Carpenter. Carpenter made up for it in the sixth inning with a two run game-tying home run. The Padres answered back in the bottom of the frame with what ended up being the winning run thanks to a Yasmani Grandal single. Clayton Richard and the Padres staff held the Cardinals to only four hits to complete the sweep and put the Cardinals in serious trouble in the wild card standings.

Thursday: Cardinals 2 – Dodgers 1

With their backs firmly against the wall, the Cardinals drew first blood in a four game set with the Dodgers with a one run victory. Lance Lynn pitched a gem in his return to the rotation. Through five and a third innings of work, Lynn allowed only one earned run and struck out seven. The back-end group of Edward Mujica, Mitchell Boggs, and Jason Motte pitched scoreless baseball to earn the rookie his 15th win of the season. This game featured three big plays by Cardinals fielders as Carlos Beltran threw out Josh Beckett at first on a groundball thanks to the pitcher’s speed not really matching his effort. The game also featured two lasers thrown by Yadier Molina to pick off Dodger runners attempting to get greedy. Yadi was a leader at the plate as well, as he recorded three hits and scored the tying run. Allen Craig continued his penchant for timely hitting with a game-winning single to score the winning run in the seventh inning.

Friday: Cardinals 5 – Dodgers 8

The Cardinals gave one back to the Dodgers as Joe Kelly‘s standard five innings wasn’t enough to keep the LA bats at bay. The game started off well for the Cardinals as Yadier Molina and Matt Carpenter both hit solo shots in the second inning. The Dodgers scored a run when Adrian Gonzalez scored on a sacrifice grounder by Luis Cruz. The Cardinals pulled away in third with a three run blast by Matt Holliday. The Dodgers answered back with a two run shot of their own by Andre Ethier. The next two innings went by without any crooked numbers put up, but the Dodgers took the lead in the sixth with a three run homer by Luis Cruz. The Cardinals attempted a rally in the ninth, but the deficit proved too much.

Saturday: Cardinals 3 – Dodgers 4

The Cardinals lost the wild card lead thanks to their old enemy: the one run game. The game started off with a two run shot by Allen Craig, but the Dodgers answered back with an Adrian Gonzalez RBI single in the first and a Mark Ellis solo home run in the third. Allen Craig took the lead back with an RBI single in the sixth inning, but Jason Motte couldn’t close the door and the Dodgers scored two runs in the ninth to win the game. Obviously Craig was the standout offensive player for the Cardinals, as he picked up two of the Cardinals six hits. Yadier Molina pitched in with a double, but had an abnormally vulnerable day behind the plate, as he allowed two stolen bases to Shane Victorino and another to Dee Gordon. Jaime Garcia rallied from his poor start against the Padres by going six innings and only allowing one run, but Jason Motte’s poor ninth inning performance cost the Cardinals the game and the season series. The Cardinals are now forced to win the wild card spot outright because a tie with the Dodgers will lose them a playoff spot.

Sunday: Cardinals 5 – Dodgers 2

After dropping two straight, losing the wild card spot, and officially losing the season series, the Cardinals needed a victory to turn the tide. They came out strong, scoring two runs in the first inning. The Dodgers tied the game up in the third, thanks to an Andre Ethier two run shot. The game wouldn’t see any more runs for nine innings, though, as the two teams battled back and forth into extra innings before the Cardinals put up three runs in the twelfth to seal the deal and take back the wild card spot. Carlos Beltran and Allen Craig were standout performers for the Cardinals, as they both picked up two hits and drove in a pair of runs a piece. Yadier Molina stole his twelfth base of the season and picked off Matt Treanor and Dee Gordon. The Cardinals got a solid start from Adam Wainwright and six shutout innings from Trevor Rosenthal, Fernando Salas, Shelby Miller, and Jason Motte.

What’s On Tap?

DayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Date17181920212223
TeamAstrosAstrosAstros@ Cubs@ Cubs@ Cubs
Time7:15 C7:15 C12:45 C1:20 C12:05 C1:20 C
TVFSMWFSMWFSMWFSMWFSMWFSMW

The Cardinals have what should be six easy victories against rebuilding teams that have already been eliminated from the playoffs. Can the Cardinals show the killer instinct to knock the cellar dwellers off and hang on to their wild card spot?

Standings

The Cardinals are completely out of the Central race, but are now embroiled in a six team race for the second wild card spot. No one has really emerged as a front runner, as it seems like it is a battle to back into the playoffs

CentralWLPctGBHomeRoadRSRApWpLMagic#
Cincinnati Reds88590.599047-2841-3162754983645
St Louis Cardinals77700.5241143-2934-4169461183645
Milwaukee Brewers74720.50713.546-2928-4370166077693
Pittsburgh Pirates74720.50713.542-3032-4260460873733
Chicago Cubs58890.3953036-3622-535656796087X
Houston Astros48990.3274032-4316-565347405097X
Wild CardWLPctGBHomeRoadRSRApWpLMagic#
Atlanta Braves85630.574043-3242-3165457084647
St Louis Cardinals77700.524043-2934-41694611836415
Los Angeles Dodgers76710.517140-3536-36574558767115
Milwaukee Brewers74720.5072.546-2928-43701660776914
Pittsburgh Pirates74720.5072.542-3032-42604608737314
Philadelphia Phillies74740.5003.538-3736-37624630737512
Arizona Diamondbacks72740.4934.536-3636-38646616767012
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