Sep. 22, 2016
Cardinals Stand-off Win As NL Wild Card Still Remains In A Triple Knot Tie
By night's end last night, the race for the MLB National League Wild Card remains in a three-way tie with the St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants and the New York Mets. All three teams were handed losses in their match-ups yesterday. The Giants were closed their series with a 9-3 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Mets were swept by the Atlanta Braves in their 4-3 loss. The St. Louis Cardinals were routed, 11-1, by hosts Colorado Rockies. For the Cardinals, there was a moment of victory prior to the start of the game.
The National Anthem came to a close, teams exited the field to their respective dugouts, save two players. Cardinals RF rookie Jose Martinez and Rockies reliever Carlos Estevez remained at the edge of the track for a historic and classic "stare down standoff". Home Plate Umpire Chad Fairchild allowed the two a moment; but, tried his best to end what would be a three minute delay of game. Encouraged by teammates, the two held steady. Cheers from the crowd; and, at one point, Cardinals Adam Wainwright suggested "rock, paper, scissors" to end the event. In the end, J Martinez was deemed the victor of the standoff.
The last the Cardinals won a stand-off was between Cardinals starter Joe Kelly and Dodgers LF Scott Van Slyke during the NLCS playoffs at Busch Stadium, 2013. This will be an event young Jose Martinez will always remember. [FSMW Video] Not sure just "who" orchestrated the challenge; but, most of the Cardinals energy and concentration must have been used up in the brief victory celebration.
Cardinals rookie Luke Weaver faced Rockies rookie German Marquez, who made his starting debut facing the Cardinals in yesterday's game. Weaver was roughed up by the Rockies Mile High team. In his two innings pitched he saw six runs on the board. The Rockies took an early 1-0 lead in the first with a RBI sac-fly by DJ LeMahieu. In his second inning, the young hurler was pounded. Charlie Blackmon put up a RBI single. Weaver had bases loaded and slugger Nolan Arenado took advantage with a grand slam for Rockies 6-1 lead.
Kolten Wong provided the lone run for the Cardinals with a RBI sac-fly in the second facing Marquez. He went five innings pitch, one earned run, with three strikeouts for his first major league win. Cardinals Jaime Garcia followed Weaver for the next four innings, only giving up one hit and had five strikeouts - no runs and no walks issued.
J Garcia had been moved from the rotation to bullpen due to his struggles on the mound. He may have earned his way back in with yesterday's performance replacing Weaver. For the Cardinals, due to injury and J Garcia's ill appearances, the rotation has been "musical chairs" for their pitchers this season. Weaver replaced Michael Wacha when he was placed on the DL (shoulder). Rookie Alex Reyes (3-1/1.03 ERA), has been in and out of the bullpen. He has made starts for Mike Leake (DL/shingles); now, has replaced J Garcia in the rotation. Weaver (1-4/4.54 ERA) is scheduled for two more starts. One against the Cincinnati Reds; and, the final game of the season against the Pittsburgh Pirates, both at Busch Stadium. Even though he is 1-4, with very little offensive support behind him in his eight starts thus far, he does hold a 1.50 ERA at home in two starts (1-0). With postseason in the balance, time will tell if manager Mike Matheny makes yet another switch.
The Rockies were not finished with the Cardinals pitchers. Between relievers Dean Kiekhefer and Jonathan Broxton in the seventh, the Rockies put up five more runs which include a three-hole shot by Rockies catcher, Tom Murphy, to secure the 11-1 rout over the Cardinals.
CARDINALS TRAVEL DAY TO WRIGLEY FIELD ~ FIRST GAME, FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 23. FIRST PITCH, 1:00 CST
Next stop for the Cardinals is Wrigley Field to face the first place Chicago Cubs, who have already clinched the NL Central Division. Cardinals Mike Leake (9-10/4.54 ERA) will face Cubs Jake Arrieta (17-7/2.96 ERA) for game one of their three game series. In September, Leake (returning from the DL/shingles) holds a 4.41 ERA/2 HR/8 ER/3-BB/10 SO. Arrieta, a 4.15 ERA/2 HR/8 ER/8-BB/15 SO. The biggest concern for Cubs manager Joe Maddon regarding Arrieta is his walks to strikeouts. The strong arm the Cardinals have had to face in the past has seen his own struggles of late. This match-up, as each game can be between these two rival teams, should prove to hard fought. The Cardinals and Cubs are tied, eight all, facing one another thus far this season.