St. Louis Cardinals win fairly good series with Minnesota Twins

Aug 1, 2021; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Fans cheer after St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright (50) reached on an error allowing a run to score during the fourth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 1, 2021; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Fans cheer after St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright (50) reached on an error allowing a run to score during the fourth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

The St Louis Cardinals pulled off a series win over the Minnesota Twins this weekend with some much appreciated team effort.

This series had it all for the St. Louis Cardinals. The good. The bad. And the very, very ugly! The Cardinals won Friday 5-1, lost Saturday 8-1, and they won Sunday, 7-3. Let’s discuss the good, bad and ugly.

The Good

When the Cardinals play well, they play very well. It can make one frustrated when they see just how bad they can be, though. The Cardinals did have many good moments this weekend.

On Friday, the team got the scoring going in the fourth inning with a sacrifice fly from Harrison Bader to score Tyler O’Neill. In the sixth inning, Tommy T

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Edman doubled to score Paul Goldschmidt, O’Neill and Bader.

Goldschmidt got his 1,500 career hit in the sixth inning.

In the seventh, Nolan Arenado singled to score Goldschmidt.

Wade LeBlanc pitched 5.2 innings giving up six hits, two walks and an earned run. He did strike out three. Ryan Helsley earned the win pitching an inning and a third, giving up two hits and striking out two. Giovanny Gallegos pitched a clean seventh inning. Alex Reyes pitched a clean eighth inning.

On Saturday, the Cardinals got their only run in the fourth inning when Bader singled to score Arenado. That was it. That was the only run. What happened in this game will be discussed in the ugly section below.

On Sunday, the Cardinals got on the board in the third inning with a double off the bat of Dylan Carlson to score Edmundo Sosa. Goldschmidt hit a single to score Carlson. In the fourth, Adam Wainwright had a 10-pitch at-bat and reached base after a throwing error to score Edman. Wainwright’s hit was a 109.8 mph shot to left field.

In the fifth, Yadier Molina got his career 2,074th hit to pass Albert Pujols on the team’s all-time career hit list. Remembering when Molina entered the league and how hard he has worked since then, this is an amazing accomplishment.

On a wild pitch from John Gant, who the Cardinals traded away for J.A. Happ, Molina stole second base allowing O’Neill to score. In the sixth, Sosa singled to score Edman.

In the eighth inning, Sosa hit his third home run of the season on a fly to center. It was a beautiful 412 foot shot:

Later on in the inning, Goldschmidt hit into a sacrifice double play that allowed Matt Carpenter to score.

Arenado had a pretty spectacular defensive play on Sunday:

Wainwright pitched well Sunday going seven innings giving up six hits and three runs, including a home run to Jorge Polanco. He walked one but was able to strike out five. He induced eight swings and misses. The start was Wainwright and Molina’s 294th together. Gallegos pitched a clean eighth inning, striking out one. Reyes pitched a clean ninth inning, striking out one.

The Bad

With no moves for hitting made at the trade deadline, Cardinals fans are left to hope for the best from the seemingly loaded, yet struggling, team they have. The series pointed out the club still has issues getting runners in scoring position home.

On Friday, the team was 3 for 7 with runners in scoring position with four left on base. On Saturday, the Cardinals were 1 for 3 with runner in scoring position, leaving six on base. On Sunday, the team was 3 for 12 with runners in scoring position with eight left on base.

When you see how much this team can get hits to move around the base path and score runs, this lack of scoring with runners in scoring position and leaving teammates on base is completely frustrating to watch. It feels like we have been waiting most of the season for the team to turn this around. Hopefully they can, but if not, it’s something team president of baseball operations John Mozeliak must address.

The Ugly

With his start Saturday, Jake Woodford made Cardinal fans somewhat happy the front office made a couple of moves at the trade deadline to get veteran pitchers, Jon Lester and J.A. Happ.

In the first inning of Saturday’s game, Luis Arraez hit a sacrifice fly to left to score Brent Rooker. Miguel Sano doubled to score Jorge Polanco. In the third, Arraez doubled to score Rooker. Trevor Larnach hit s sacrifice fly to center to score Polanco. Ryan Jeffers hit his ninth home run of the year  scoring Arraez and Sano.

Woodford exited the game after the third to make way for T.J. McFarland.  Willians Astudillo singled to left to score Sano.

Woodford was optioned to Memphis before Sunday’s game to make a roster spot available for Lester. Hopefully going back to Memphis will allow Woodford to reset after such a bad outing with the big club.

In Conclusion

It was a good series win for the Cardinals, who are now 53-52 on the season. They remain in third place behind the Milwaukee Brewers and the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds are 7 back of the Brewers, while the Cardinals are 9.5 back. The Chicago Cubs, who had a complete overhaul on trade deadline day, are now 51-56 and are 12.5 back.

The Cardinals face the Atlanta Braves in a three game series this week at Busch starting Tuesday. Cardinal fans will get their first look at Lester and Happ with the Birds on the Bat uniform on. It will be exciting to see how well they will do. Here’s to a series win for the Cardinals over the Braves.