Good, Bad and Ugly: Cardinals make statement against Reds

The Cardinals pulled off a series win over the Reds bringing them closer to a potential Wild Card berth.

The St. Louis Cardinals pulled off an impressive series win over the Cincinnati Reds.

After a wild couple of weeks, it was nice to see the Cardinals pull off this series victory. The Reds did win Friday 4-2, and the Cardinals won Saturday 6-4 and Sunday 2-0. Let’s discuss the good, bad, and ugly of it all. And switch things up a little bit…

The Bad

Losing Friday’s game was just bad.

The Ugly

Ok, it wasn’t just bad. It was ugly.

Eugenio Suarez hit his 26th home run of the season to left-center off Jon Lester. Joey Votto knocked his 30th homer of the season to left-center off of Lester.

Yadier Molina tied the game at 2 in the fourth inning with his 11th home run of the season off Tyler Mahle, scoring Nolan Arenado. Molina was pumped after the blast jumping up and down and motioning for the crowd to join his celebration.

And then the ninth inning happened. Of course.

With the usually very dependable T.J. McFarland on the mound, Jose Barrero doubled to center field, scoring Aristides Aquino. And, Delino DeShields reached base on a fielder’s choice to shortstop, allowing Barrero to score.

Jon Lester pitched well, going seven innings giving up three hits and four walks, along with the two mentioned home runs. He did strike out two. Disappointing for him, for certain. Luis Garcia pitched one inning, giving up only one hit. McFarland did get out of the inning after giving up the two runs.

The Cardinals were 0 for 3 with runners in scoring position and left six on base. That would have been great to get those runs across.

The Good

The Reds jumped out to a lead quickly in the third inning. Jonathan India hit his 20th home run of the season off Miles Mikolas on a fly to center field, scoring Tucker Barnhart. Nick Castellanos hit his 28th home run of the season to left-center, scoring Max Schrock.

Thankfully the Cardinals took off from there.

Paul DeJong hit his 17th homer of the season on a fly to center off Luis Castillo.

Tommy Edman knocked a single to right field, allowing Harrison Bader to score. In the sixth inning, Nolan Arenado hit his third triple of the season on a drive to left field, scoring Tyler O’Neill, who was on first base after the Cardinals won a challenge with two outs.

Dylan Carlson tied things up in the sixth hitting a double on a fly to left field, scoring Arenado.

In the eighth inning, Arenado launched his 30th home run of the season on a fly to left, scoring Paul Goldschmidt. Just beautiful.

On Sunday, Arenado blasting his 31st home run to center was key for the Cardinals to secure the series win over the Reds. The home run allowed Tyler O’Neill to score.

The Cardinals also got tremendous help from the pitching staff.

J.A. Happ is now 9-8 on the season, pitching 5.1 innings Sunday, giving up two hits and a walk, striking out four.  Luis Garcia pitched one inning, giving up a hit and striking out two. T.J. McFarland pitched two-thirds of an inning, keeping the game scoreless. Genesis Cabrera looked great pitching the eighth inning, giving up one hit but striking out two.

Giovanny Gallegos earned his eighth save of the season, also giving up one hit, but striking out two. He looked impressive. It’s good to see him stepping up in this role.

In Conclusion

The Cardinals are now 73-69, while the Cincinnati Reds are 75-69. The Cardinals are one game back of the Reds in the NL Central and for the second wild card slot. The Reds are tied for the second wild card spot with the San Diego Padres, who are 74-68. The Padres were swept this weekend by the Los Angeles Dodgers, who hold the first wild card spot with a 91-53 record. The San Francisco Giants hold the NL West lead over the Dodgers and Padres with a 93-50 record.

The Cardinals head to New York to play a three-game set against the New York Mets, who are 2.5 games back of the Cardinals for the second Wild Card spot.

Whew. That is a lot! With all that’s been going on with these teams, it should be an entertaining series. Let’s just hope the Cardinals continue on their winning ways!