St. Louis Cardinals: Series Recap Against the Chicago Cubs

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May 9, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Tommy Pham (28) and center fielder Magneuris Sierra (43) and right fielder Randal Grichuk (15) celebrate after defeating the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
May 9, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Tommy Pham (28) and center fielder Magneuris Sierra (43) and right fielder Randal Grichuk (15) celebrate after defeating the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /
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May 8, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Carlos Martinez (18) looks on from the dugout in the game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
May 8, 2017; Miami, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Carlos Martinez (18) looks on from the dugout in the game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

Game Two: Chicago 3-St. Louis Cardinals 5

After a painful Game One, the St. Louis Cardinals were able to put many at ease with a solid performance in Game Two. It all started with the man on the mound, Carlos Martinez. El Gallo went toe-to-toe with Jon Lester on Saturday and out dueled the Chicago starter for his third consecutive win of the season.

WP: Carlos Martinez

LP: Jon Lester

S: Seung-hwan Oh

You never like it when the opposing pitcher knocks in a run, especially if it’s Jon Lester. When he drove in the first run of the game with a towering double to center, my first thought was, “oh boy.” However, Martinez was able to keep the Cubs from scoring for the next four innings until Ian Happ hit his first homer of his big league career.

The final line on Martinez’s day was 6.2 innings pitched, three earned runs, four walks, and seven strike outs. The Cardinals needed a solid performance from him, and that’s what they got. It helped that the Cardinals were able to respond right away in the bottom of third with a bunt from Martinez to score Tommy Pham.

The Cardinals were able to score the next four runs of the game. Jedd Gyorko continued his power stroke by hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning. Tommy Pham then drove in two RBI with a single in the fourth and then a double in the 6th. Magneuris Sierra drove in the final Cardinal run in the bottom of the sixth on a single to center.

Oh came into the ninth to put the game away. Although, I did hold my breath after Kyle Schwarber made contact with the ball. Initially I thought he hit it out. If you weren’t watching the game, the call on the radio didn’t really make you feel any better. However about five to six feet away from the wall, Dexter Fowler made the catch to seal the game.

So what are the big takeaways from Game Two?

I’ll start with Martinez on this one. Even though he gave up four walks in the game, Martinez was able to keep the Cubs scoreless for four straight innings. He limited any damage after walks and was able to pile on some strike outs. He again contributed with an RBI in the win after his performance against the Marlins last week.

In our first Redbird Rants Podcast episode, Martinez’s control was a topic of discussion. Prior to Saturday’s game, Martinez only issued three walks in his last two starts. His four on Saturday, while not damaging, raised a few eyebrows. I’d say don’t worry about it since no damage was done because of the walk, but I’d be lying.

His next start will come against the Giants, so look for him to improve on Saturday’s performance.

Related Story: Redbird Rants Podcast Ep. 1

The next take away from Saturday’s game is the continued success of Tommy Pham and Magneuris Sierra. In our second Redbird Rants Podcast episode we highlighted the success these two players are having now for the Cardinals. It seems neither of them are really wanting to go back down to the minors.

Tommy Pham is playing with a chip on his shoulder and it is causing many people to take notice. After Saturday’s two-hit game, Pham was batting .387. He contributed two more RBI in the win and now has eight RBI in twelve games. He certainly is making a case to stay on the team and if he continues to play like this, the Cardinals will have an interesting decision to make in the near future.

There is something about Magneuris Sierra that just seems right for the St. Louis Cardinals. He has gone far above anyone’s expectations for him in his short stint with the team so far. He had another two-hit game for the Cardinals and is batting .400 through eight games.

What makes him attractive to a team like the Cardinals is the speed and defense. So while the offensive production is nice, his speed and defense could be game changers for the Cardinals in the future.

Do I expect either of them to continue their torrid starts? No, but they will compete. As I said, Pham is playing with a chip on his shoulder and Sierra really has nothing to lose. He has proven he can play at this level, so it’s only a matter of time til he is with the team full time.

However, I wonder if Sierra’s stint is serving as an audition for a future trade. I’d hate to see it happen, but if there is something available for the right price…

Last takeaway from Game Two is beating Jon Lester. The St. Louis Cardinals were able to run on Lester and keep him from turning in a quality start for the Cubs.

Why is this important? The Cardinals are set to face Clayton Kershaw twice in the next two weeks. The at-bats taken on Saturday are important to look at heading into a match up with the best pitcher in baseball. Speaking of said match up, Mike Leake versus Kershaw on May 24th sounds fun.

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