Bird Watching: A St Louis Cardinals Weekly Roundup.

August 30th – September 5th

Here we go! September baseball is here and the St Louis Cardinals are about to have a very exciting last month of regular season baseball. Firstly a well-deserved congratulations are in order to Tommy “Two Bags” Edman, who earned NL Player Of the Week honors for the week of August 23rd- August 29th. Tommy batted .462 with 7 runs, 2 home runs, 10 RBIs, and two stolen bases. Also, where would the Cardinals be without their modern-day Bob Gibson or Chris Carpenter? I’m talking about Adam Wainwright of course. The recently turned 40-year-old has been everything the Cardinals need coming down the stretch earning himself NL Pitcher of the Month for August. Waino compelled a stat line of 5-1 with a 1.43, allowing just seven earned runs and six walks in 44 innings pitched in the month. More on Wainwright later, but let’s talk about the week.

The St Louis Cardinals finished last week with a record of 3 – 3, which isn’t terrible considering the teams that they are playing. But some of the ways they have lost the past week was heartbreaking, to say the least. Their strength of schedule remaining is the third hardest in MLB at .543. Every team from here on (besides 7 against the Cubs) is fighting for a playoff spot. One sliver of good news is that the current wild card leading San Diego Padres have the hardest schedule remaining at .591. All that to say it’s not going to be easier, but it’s going to be a blast to watch unfold

August 30th: Final Stl 3 @ Cin 1 (WC STL -2.5 GB)

When the Cardinals acquired Jon Lester at the trade deadline some were skeptical, I was not. The Cardinals needed some veteran presence, relief from some injuries, and someone who would throw strikes. The 37-year old is healthy, a five-time all-star, three-time World Series champion, and holds over 2400 strikeouts in his career. Check, check, and check. Going into this series against the team the Cardinals are chasing in the wild card standings they needed that Jon Lester. That’s exactly who they got. Lester went 6.1 innings allowing only one hit, a solo HR to Kyle Farmer, walking 2, and striking out 5. McFarland, Garcia, and Gallegos did the rest out of the pen shutting the door while Goldschmidt hit his 22nd bomb of the year, a 2-run shot, to carry the Cardinals to Victory 3-1. August 30th, 2011: STL 2 @ MIL 1 (WC STL -8.5)

August 31st: PPD Rain Out (WC STL -2.5 GB)

Boo, hurricanes.August 31st, 2011: (WC STL -8.5)

September 1st: DH Game 1 Final Stl 5 @ Cin 4 

The tail of two coins in one day. The voice of the Cardinals television broadcast, Dan McLaughlin, said today has the chance to be the most pivotal day so far. If they would have won both games and swept the Reds in Cincinnati it would have put them as close to a half-game out of the wild card. Instead, they split. Game 1: It was very clear the Cardinals had a plan of attack against Wade Miley from the get-go. Scrapping 12 hits off Miley through his 4.1 innings pitched, Including Goldy hitting another 2 home runs. The Cardinals were swinging early and being more aggressive in fastball counts. Do that more. Mikolas struggled a bit on the Cardinal’s side only lasting 3 innings and giving up 4 runs on the afternoon. But again the Cardinals bullpen came through with Cabrera, Garcia, and Gallegos closing it out for a big game one victory and a chance to sweep tonight.

Game 2 Final Stl 2 @ Cin 12 (WC STL -2.5 GB)

The sweep did not happen and it was ugly, early. J.A Happ got the ball for the Cardinals in game two and simply did not have his best stuff. As the Cardinals did on Miley earlier in the day, the Reds jumped early in counts and before you knew it, Nick Castellanos had a 2-run shot and a grand slam to boot before Harrison Bader even had a chance to Bat. Talk about a treat to watch. Castellanos could have played baseball in any generation and been cheered and jeered. The type of player you love if he’s on your team, but will probably grind your gear if he’s not. Sonny Gray and the rest of the Reds cruised to victory 12-2 as the Cardinals took the big deficit to rest some starters. September 1st, 2011: (WC STL -8.5)

September 2nd: Off Day (WC STL -2.5 GB)

September 2nd, 2011: (WC STL -8.5)

September 3rd: Final Stl 15 @ Mil 2 (WC STL -1.5 GB)

Those of you who picked September 3rd as Nolan Arenado’s first multi home-run day as a Cardinal, please have a cookie. Just as Reds did two days before the Cardinals offense went off smacking six home runs behind ‘ole Adam Wainwright’s 6.1 inning, 1 run performance. On a day where they were celebrating their 300th start as batterymates, Yadi couldn’t let Waino have all the glory hitting his 5th career grand slam to help power the birds. Yes, 300. Only three other pitcher combinations in the history of Baseball have more starts together and if Wainwright comes back next year healthy, they have a realistic chance of breaking the all-time record. Easy win for the birds here, can they keep the momentum? September 3rd, 2011: (WC STL -7.5)

September 4th: Final Stl 0 @ Mil 4 (WC STL -2.5 GB)

I feel the Cardinals Offense sometimes saves up for a big game (See the game above) and then just shuts down the day after. It’s maddening to see at times, but more so for the manager and players. Then there’s also the Brewers pitching. Adrian Houser was spot on for the night going the distance for a complete-game shutout, striking out seven, and not even allowing a walk. It was the shutout by a Brewer in 7 years. The top of the Brewers lineup went a combined 5-8 to set the pace, as the Cardinal’s only hits came from Edman (2) and Arenado (1). September 4th, 2011: (WC STL -8.5)

September 5th: Final Stl 5 @ Mil 6 (WC STL -3 GB)

This one. This is the heartbreak. You can stop reading now if you don’t want that. Evermore, the Cardinals sent Jon Lester back to the Mound for the rubber game. The birds jumped out to a 5-1 lead behind a 2-run home-run by Tyler O’Neill and a 2 RBI day from Harrison Bader. The defense was stout as well with Goldschmidt making two run-saving plays on the afternoon, furthering his case for a 4th Gold Glove award. Two key moments stand out though before the ninth. The St Louis Cardinals not being able to cash in in the seventh by stranding the bases loaded, and the Brewers leaving the bases loaded in the 8th. Mike Shildt, manager of the Cardinals, decided to leave Gallegos in for the 9th after struggling to close the 8th out cleanly. Gio quickly allowed 4 out of the first 5 to reach base, loading the bases and forcing the Cardinals Manager to go to his recently removed closer, Alex Reyes. The Brewers pinch-hit with Daniel Volgelbach. Reyes threw two pitches. One that was called low for a ball and one that landed over the right-field wall for a walk-off grand slam for the Brewers. A loss the Cardinals must quickly forget about. September 5th, 2011: (WC STL -8.5)

Coming up the St Louis Cardinals travel home for a reunion with Pujols and the Dodgers, then a weekend series against the Reds. I predict the Birds will go 4-3. Again, if you want to play October baseball, you have to beat winning teams to get there. Follow along here as we see if the Cardinals can sneak in and cause some noise. Catch you next week, cheers!

Written by Matthew Blaker

Former minor-league broadcaster and still a contageous baseball nerd. Have watched every Cardinals game for the last 22+ years, and I will never stop. Love to travel and try great food too! I also play Bass in my spare time.

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