The Cardinals were able to clinch the NL Central Tuesday only to lose frustratingly to the Brewers Wednesday.
The Cardinals clinched the NL Central with a 6-2 victory over the Brewers Tuesday evening. They lost to the Brewers 5-1, looking like a shell of themselves with most of their starters taking the night off.
The Cardinals return to Busch Stadium on Friday for a three-game set, only to go to Pittsburgh to close out the regular season. Then it’s the NL Wild Card series with a to-be-determined opponent off to the postseason.
The Cardinals clinched the NL Central
It was a stated goal all season. The Cardinals were set on winning the NL Central. They took care of that step on Tuesday with a 6-2 victory.
Miles Mikolas earned his 12th victory after pitching six innings, giving up four hits, a walk, and a home run to Rowdy Tellez. He struck out nine batters. Andre Pallante pitched an inning of relief, giving up two hits, a walk, and a run.
Ryan Helsley pitched the final two innings of relief. He walked one while striking out four batters.
Paul Goldschmidt started the offense for the Cardinals in the first inning with a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Brendan Donovan. In the second inning, a wild pitch from Adrian Houser allowed Dylan Carlson to score.
Andrew Knizner knocked a homer on a fly to center field, scoring Albert Pujols in the fourth inning.
In the fifth inning. Goldschmidt singled on a liner to left field, allowing Lars Nootbaar to score. And in the sixth inning, Juan Yepez singled on a liner to left field, scoring Carlson.
The post-game celebration was fantastic, with rousing speeches from manager Oli Marmol and legend Albert Pujols. Teammates and fans had to be ready to go through a wall for those two leaders.
Speaking of post-game, Lars Nootbaar’s star shined brightly!
Cardinals lose finale with Brewers in frustrating fashion
The Cardinals didn’t seem to put their best effort on the field as they lost their finale in typical-of-late frustrating fashion,
They faced Brewers ace Brandon Woodruff, who threw an absolute gem. He pitched six innings, giving up five hits and a walk while striking out ten batters. Subsequently, the Cardinals were 0-for-8 on the night, leaving 11 stranded on the basepath.
The Cardinals got their lone run off a home run from Andrew Knizner. He knocked the homer on a fly to center field off reliever Matt Bush. This was his second night in a row with a home run. A positive sign for the young catcher.
They got a great start from Jose Quintana, who ultimately got the loss. He pitched five innings, giving up four hits, two walks, and an earned run. He did strike out seven batters. Chris Stratton pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up a hit and one earned run while striking out a batter.
Steven Matz pitched an inning, giving up two hits and a walk. Jake Woodford pitched a third of an inning.
Jojo Romero pitched to three batters in the eighth inning. He gave up one hit and two walks and was credited with three runs. Giovanny Gallegos pitched an inning, giving up a walk and a hit – which led to the runs credited to Romero. Gallegos did end up striking out three batters to close out the game.
Clinching was nice, but …
Seeing the Cardinals clinch the NL Central after a rough season was great. They have shown glimpses of their performance that can be so much fun to watch and cheer on. But they have also shown their frustrating side when players and their fans all know they are better than they are presenting. Hopefully, they have gotten their frustrating play out. Hopefully, the Cardinals will look sharp in these next six games with the Pittsburgh Pirates as they attempt to find who will be on the postseason roster.
Several questions have yet to be answered regarding the roster going into October. The Cardinals must play their best to get those questions answered. The schedule may suggest they are only playing the Pirates. The Cardinals must not forget what they are playing for from here on out.