The Cardinals have earned their second consecutive series “sweep”. The victims were the Chicago Cubs, the third place team that now sits eleven and a half games back of St. Louis in the division. The pitching staff did most of the cleaning. I’ll tell you all about Cardinal wins 49-through-51 and get you set for the next series.
The opening game of the series was started by John Lackey and Jake Arrieta. It was a pitchers’ duel that would require more than nine innings to declare a winner. Once things were all said and done, the Cardinals had picked up win number forty-nine with a queasy 3-2 victory. Lackey pitched seven innings with two runs allowed. Arrieta countered with a performance of the same length and allowed one fewer run. But, unfortunately for his win-loss record, the Chicago bullpen couldn’t shut down the mighty Redbirds soon enough. Greg Garcia, one of those ‘new kids fresh up from Memphis’, hit his first Major League homer on Friday night. His thousand-watt smile and fist pump could’ve told you all that. The homer was in the eighth inning and tied the game at the time.
The middle game of the series was started by Donn Roach and Michael Wacha. Roach was making his Cubs’ debut, and man was it a poor one. Donn lasted only three and a third innings in which he allowed four runs on eight Cardinal hits. The Cardinals also tacked Travis Wood, a former starter who now finds his work in long-relieving, with four runs also. Now, back to the other starter of Saturday’s ball game- Michael Wacha. His offense supported him with eight runs, but he didn’t use them to their potential advantage, much to the delight of the fans. Wacha allowed one run on six hits through six innings of work. The Cardinals won the game, 8-1, their fiftieth win of the season.
The finale of the three game set was started by Carlos Martinez and Jason Hammel. The start of the game was the center of the storms.. literally. The game’s start was delayed around forty-minutes and then later paused for over an hour and forty minutes following the conclusion of the top of the second inning. Despite the area thunderstorms and tornado touchdowns, the game was played. With the help of six two-baggers, St. Louis cruised to a 4-1 victory and a series sweep. How did Carlos Martinez fare following the lengthy delay? Fantastic. “Tsunami” pitched six innings with just one run allowed on two total hits. He also struck out six Cubs. Jason Hammel lasted four innings while allowing four runs and seven strikeouts.
How about those Memphis call-ups? Xavier Scruggs and Greg Garcia have been swinging their lumber with authority since their latest promotions happened on June 19th. In this span, one that isn’t any longer than a couple of weeks, Greg Garcia is batting .500 with a homer. Granted this is through ten ABs, but the numbers are highlighted when they’re used off of the bench. Xavier has been tearing it up. He is batting .474 with six RBI and two doubles. His OPS is north of 1.000. His fiery bat has earned him some starts, four of them to be exact. His starts not only have been benefitting the Cardinal offense but Mark Reynolds as well. He can use a few breaks here and there since he has been playing much more frequently with the sidelining of Matt Adams.
Jaime Garcia will miss his next start due to some groin discomfort. The injury, if you want to call it that, is not expected to be DL-worthy. Lance Lynn, who will be starting on regular rest, will get the start in place of Jaime on Tuesday evening when the Cardinals take on left-handed powerhouse Chris Sale and the 32-42 Chicago White Sox.
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The photo can be found on zimbio.com.