Rookie Alex Reyes delivers the best pitching performance of his young career as the St. Louis Cardinals salvage a series split in San Francisco.
With the season hanging in the balance, St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny opted to start rookie sensation Alex Reyes over the struggling Jaime Garcia. The decision came as no surprise to those who saw Garcia’s last start in Chicago. Matheny pulled him in the 2nd inning and handed the ball to Reyes, who bailed Garcia out and rattled off 6 scoreless innings, collecting his 2nd major league win.
The Cardinals simply couldn’t afford another poor outing from Garcia. After Mike Leake’s excellent performance last night, Matheny decided it was Reyes who would give the Cards their best shot at splitting the series. If the 22-year old was nervous, he certainly didn’t show it. He threw 7 scoreless, striking out 6, while allowing just 4 hits on his way to his 3rd—and the team’s most important—win of the season.
In previous starts, Reyes has appeared reliant on the strikeout. Despite showing success in that area, that approach has also made him prone to walked batters and high pitch counts. Reyes is 12th highest in K/9—but also in B/9—of all rookie pitchers that have thrown at least 20 innings. The Cardinals needed a more economical approach from Reyes, and hopefully a start that went deeper into the game.
More from St Louis Cardinals News
- Cardinals Rumors: 3 pros and cons of signing Carlos Rodon
- Cardinals: Here is Willson Contreras’ first message for St. Louis fans
- How do the St. Louis Cardinals stack up with Willson Contreras?
- Cardinals: The insane asking price the Athletics had for Sean Murphy
- St. Louis Cardinals: Ask me anything with Josh Jacobs – 12/8
Much to the relief of Matheny, and Cardinals fans around the country, Reyes delivered exactly that. He set the tone early, going right after the top of the order. All 3 outs were recorded on balls in play, as Reyes threw 5 strikes in a 6-pitch 1-2-3 first inning. Reyes benefited from an early lead, as Matt Carpenter doubled with 2-outs before Aledmys Diaz launched a 2-run jack to left field in the 3rd inning.
That would prove to be all Reyes needed as he cruised through 7 scoreless innings on just 84 pitches. Eduardo Nunez singled to lead off the 5th inning, and then took 2nd when Reyes threw the ball away on a pickoff attempt. But Reyes wiggled his way out of it with back-to-back flyouts, before popping up pinch-hitter Connor Gillaspie to end the inning.
The Giants threatened again in the 6th when Denard Span singled to right to lead it off. After an Angel Pagan strikeout, Brandon Crawford singled— advancing Span to third and bringing up the dangerous Hunter Pence. Reyes responded by striking out Pence on just 4 pitches. Brandon Belt was able to draw a 2-out walk to load the bases, but Reyes retired Nunez for the first time of the afternoon, ending the Giants threat.
Kevin Siegrist pitched a scoreless 8th inning before handing the ball over to Seung Hwan Oh, who picked up his 18th save of the season. After a disastrous start to the series, the Cardinals escape San Francisco relatively unscathed. As the weekend closes, the Cards have fallen to 2 games behind the Mets for the first wild card spot, but they Trail San Francisco by just 1 game.
The redbirds open up a 3-game series in Colorado before visiting the Cubs over the weekend. Road wins are a part of this team’s identity, but wins at Wrigley are tough to come by for any team this season. The next three games at Coors Field are crucial. The St. Louis Cardinals may remain outside of the playoff picture for now, but thanks to the latest brilliant performance from Alex Reyes, they aren’t done just yet.