By: Jim Tsapelas
Sunday unfolded as another long and unusual contest between the St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves. The Cardinals escape from Georgia with a sweep of their three game set; and a .500 record in the NL Central Division. This was the Redbirds first sweep of the Braves since August, 1988.
The Cardinals scored their first seven runs of the game with two outs in each of their respective scoring innings. With the Cardinals trailing the Braves five to six in the top of the eighth, a Jeremy Hazelbaker single to right scored Matt Holliday. Also in the eighth, Matt Carpenter scored on a single to right by Stephen Piscotty. At the end of eight innings of play, score Cardinals seven-Braves six. Cardinal closer Trevor Rosenthal came into the game in the bottom of the eighth inning to get an all important out which protected the Cardinals one run lead. In the top of the ninth, an Aledmys Diaz double plates Randal Grichuk and Yadier Molina. Also in the ninth, with Greg Garcia and Diaz on board, Matt Carpenter hit his first home run of the 2016 season. The Cardinals head into the bottom of the ninth with a twelve to six lead.
In the bottom of the ninth, two outs, with the bases loaded, Eric Aybar reaches first base on a fielding error by the Cardinals’ second baseman Kolton Wong. Wong has three errors charged against him in the first six games of the season. Rosenthal, who was extremely efficient in the bottom of the eighth, needed a total of thirty pitches to notch his second save of the season. Despite the Cardinals commanding lead in the ninth, Rosenthal entered the game in the eighth when the score was Cards seven-Braves six; thus allowing for this save opportunity.
It would appear that Mike Matheny shall need to address the middle infielder’s issues. I wonder if this isn’t due to, in part, the loss of the infield and third base coach Jose Oquendo for the season due to knee surgery. For my co-conspiracy theorists, I call this the “Oquendo Factor.”
Cardinal starter and ace, Adam Wainwright, worked five innings, allowed six hits, five earned runs, walked five, struck out two, and offered up a home run to Drew Stubbs. Arguably, Wainwright did not look too sharp in this outing. In a post game interview, Wainwright said, “I am very frustrated.” Knowing Wainwright, he shall work his way into a more efficient pitcher. Make no mistake about this, Wainwright will return to being the top flight pitcher Cardinal Nation knows.
Seugn Hwan Oh (1-0) picks up the win, pitching the seventh inning, striking out two. Atlanta’s Jim Johnson (0-1) and Chris Withrow are credited with their first blown saves of the season. Johnson is credited with today’s loss.
Monday is the St. Louis Cardinals’ Home Opener. The Milwaukee Brewers come to Busch Stadium for the first game of a three game set. The Brewers send Taylor Jungmann (0-0) to face Michael Wacha (0-0) for at 3:05PM CDT game.
Thanks for reading!