GAME 149: Historic Homers
As the Cardinals took the field tonight, they owned a two-game lead over the second-place Dodgers, who lost the first game of a double header. Behind a rejuvenated Lance Lynn, the Cardinals defeated the Astros 5-0 to maintain their wild card lead with just thirteen games left. Scary and tense times at Busch Stadium.
START SOMEWHERE: Poor David Freese. He’s a great guy and a promising ballplayer. That’s why it’s so frustrating to watch him endure the first extended slump of his career. Since a searing July, Freese has hit around .230 with just four home runs. He has just nine extra base hits since August 1st. That’s why it was so wonderful to see Freese extend his arms and lash a two-run homer to deep right-center. It was Freese’s 20th homer, a professional milestone for the young slugger and the Cardinals’ fourth hitter this year to reach it. Amazing!
LYNNTASTIC: Lance Lynn continued his marvelous return to form after a bleak and troubling summer that resulted in a demotion. Lynn carried a three-hit shutout into the seventh inning. While he didn’t overpower the Astros – just five strikeouts against two walks – Lynn kept the ball moving around and the Astros off-balance. He is making a postseason case for himself, and what a weapon he will be out of the bullpen in the playoffs!
HISTORY: When Yadier Molina launched his 20th home run in the fourth to make the game 3-0, he catapulted the 2012 Cardinals into the record books as the first in franchise history to have five players with 20 or more home runs. Considering the huge offensive teams of the past (think about 2004 or 2005, for instance), this is an amazing accomplishment. It’s also a testament to the overall balance of this team. Now, if they could just put together some offensive consistency …
EMOTION: After his second strikeout of the night (a called third strike), Matt Holliday loudly lashed out at the umpire before throwing his bat in disgust. While Holliday has often disagreed with the umps this year (seems like more than ever, really), I’ve never seen him this upset, this enraged. It might be significant, too, given that Holliday marched to the plate in the sixth and sliced a single. Perhaps a little unleashed emotion could get him back on track.
FIRE: Did Mitchell Boggs look great tonight or what? Holy shit! He ripped through the Astros in the eighth inning for another hold. What a year he’s had!!
STEAMED GOGGLES: Matheny went to Joe Kelly to close the game. Unfortunately, the Astros turned a Freese misplay and a seeing-eye blooper into a bases-loaded scare. That brought Jason Motte in to stop the rally. And the rally was stopped right there with two blistering strikeouts. YIKES!
THE WILD CARD RACE:
PLAYER OF THE GAME: (tie) Lynn, Freese, and Yadi
CONCLUSION: With the Brewers absolutely on fire, the Cardinals really need to feast on teams like the Astros. Fortunately, they are. Just thirteen games remain. KEEP IT UP!