The Cardinals and Mets played an exciting up-and-down series this weekend
Game 1 on Friday night was a thrilling pitcher’s duel for seven innings. Chris Carpenter went seven innings and gave up only one run. The Cards were being shut out at the plate until the bottom of the seventh when Felipe Lopez blasted his fifth career grand slam, accounting for all of the Cardinals runs in one swing of the bat. Because of the quirks of baseball statistics, Mets starting pitcher Oliver Perez was credited with giving up one of the runs, Fernando Nieve, who only faced two batters, was credited with giving up two runs and took the loss. The Mets tacked on two runs in the top of the ninth, but the Cards left with a 4-3 win.
Saturday night was the fun game. Before the game Albert Pujols was presented with his MVP and Silver Slugger trophies for last season. I was hanging out in D.C. with some friends and watching this game in their apartment. We left after the 10th inning to go to dinner and as we left I said “The way this game is going it will be 0-0 in the 17th when we get back.” I was almost right. It was 0-0 in the 18th when we got back. Both available rosters were exhausted by the end of the game. After using all of their pitchers the Cards had an infielder, an outfielder, two ballboys, and a box-seat season ticket holder throw in relief. (I might have made up a portion of that last sentence.) It really was fun watching those late innings. I was asking questions like “I wonder how few pitches it will take Jeff Francoeur to get out this at-bat?” Eventually a Jose Reyes sac-fly in the 20th was difference and the Mets evened the series with a 2-1 win.
As always happens with these inordinately long games, there were some statistical anomalies. The most interesting one from this game is that it is the only game in major league history to go more than 19 innings and not have a reliever go more than 2 1/3 innings.
So then the question became, how does a 20 inning game affect each teams bullpen going forward? Well, the Cards didn’t have to try and answer that question. Game three starter Adam Wainwright threw a complete game four-hitter. He gave up three runs, but only two were earned because he made a throwing error in the second inning. After that, to say Wainwright settled down is an understatement. He was masterful. After the second inning he only allowed one hit, and three total base-runners.
The Cards offense also showed some signs of life in this game. They didn’t score until the fifth inning, but they kept getting hits and getting on base before that. It took Mets starter John Maine 115 pitches to get through five innings. The Cards finally got to him when Colby Rasmus broke out of an 0-for-18 slump with a three-run homer. Ryan Ludwick hit a two-run home run late in the game and the Cards won 5-3.
Except for the one run they scored in the 20 inning debacle, all of the Cards’ runs this weekend were courtesy of the long ball. Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday (who didn’t play on Friday) did not play very well at the plate all weekend, but some of the youngsters on the team picked up the slack. If they can keep that up it will make things a lot easier for the team as the season drags on.
Tonight the Cardinals travel to Arizona for a three game series with the Diamondbacks.
About the Author
Written by Gabriel Rodriguez
Born in Germany, early childhood in NYC, raised in the D.C. area, currently reside in Charlottesville, VA. Big fan of the NY Giants and San Antonio Spurs.