By: Jim Tsapelas
Two offensively struggling teams, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Atlanta Braves, entered the bottom of the third inning in a scoreless tie. By the end of the third, the Braves led the Redbirds four to nothing. To quote Yogi Berra, “It’s Déjà Vu all over again!” To borrow a phrase from many a nameless TV Infomercial, “But Wait!” In the top of the fourth, the Cardinals get on the scoreboard; the score after three and one-half innings Cardinals Three-Braves Four.
Then the fun and long ball came to life in the form of the Birds on the Bat. In the top of the seventh, Jeremy Hazelbaker hits a pinch hit home run. Aledmys Diaz hits another pinch hit home run in the top of the eighth to leftfield. The trifecta occurred when pinch hitter Greg Garcia goes yard to right in the top of the ninth. Three pinch hit home runs in one game! A MLB first! The home run derby continued in the ninth when Stephen Piscotty hit his first home run of the 2016 season to center.
I am reluctant to write the Cardinals looked like they were struggling in their first three games in Pittsburgh, but they most certainly looked as though they were pressing, or trying too hard, in early going of Friday’s night game. The win is their first of the 2016 season.
The one bright sport and constant factor in the first four games of the 2016 season has been the Cardinals’ bullpen. Friday night was no exception. Seung Hwan Oh, Kevin Siegrist, and closer Trevor Rosenthal combined to allow only two walks while striking out three. Rosenthal earned his first save of the season, and owned two of the three Cardinal strike outs.
Cardinal starter, Jamie Garcia, threw six innings, allowed five hits, four earned runs, walked three, and struck out six. Siegrist was the pitcher of record when the Cards took the lead and is credited with his first win of the season. Siegrist was perfect in throwing one and one-third innings.
Atlanta’s starter, Matt Wisler, worked six and two-thirds innings, allowed seven hits, four earned runs, walked one, struck out six, and offered up the home run to Hazelbaker. The Braves Eric O’Flaherty picks up his second loss of the year in relief.
Saturday the Cardinals Carlos Martinez (0-0) makes his first start of the season. The Braves send the veteran Julio Teheran (0-0), who is making his second start of the season.
Hopefully, Friday’s exhibition of power can serve as a catalyst for all of the pieces of the Cardinals’ game to come together. The team needs to relax and enjoy the greatest game on God’s Green Earth!
Thanks for reading!