A few weeks back, we picked a year and found out what the Cardinals did on that day. As we continue to wait and see what the players and owners can come up with, let’s spin the wheel again. Actually, inspired by our conversation with Matthew Leach this past weekend, let’s check on the 2004 team.
The Cards came into the game against the Mets in New York on Wednesday, May 19, 2004 3.5 games out in the NL Central. They had lost the night before in heartbreaking fashion as they’d turned over a one run lead to Jason Isringhausen, only to see him walk two of the first three batters and give up two two-out singles that gave the game to the Metropolitans. To try to right the ship, St. Louis turned to Jeff Suppan while the Mets countered with Steve Traschel, he of #62 fame.
The game looked like it was going to quickly go the Cardinals’ way as Tony Womack and Edgar Renteria led off with singles in front of the MV3. However, in what had to be a rare occasion, none of them came through as Albert Pujols grounded out, Scott Rolen struck out, and Jim Edmonds popped out to second.
Both sides would put runners on but double plays took care of most of the threats. Ty Wigginton, who would become a punch line in St. Louis in a few years, doubled with one out in the fifth but was left there. Pujols walked with two outs in the sixth and Rolen followed with a single, but Edmonds struck out. In the next inning, Marlon Anderson singled and stole second with one out, but Mike Matheny flew out and Ray Lankford, pinch-hitting for Suppan, grounded out to Mike Piazza, who was playing first instead of his traditional spot behind the plate.
Piazza led off the bottom of the seventh with a walk against Cal Eldred and Art Howe lifted him for pinch-runner Mike Cameron. That backfired a bit because, after a Todd Zeile groundout, Jason Phillips hit into a double play and now the Mets didn’t have one of their big bats in a 0-0 game.
The Cards finally capitalized in the eighth. Mike Stanton–the pitcher, not the guy that would eventually be Giancarlo–took over and gave up a single to Womack. Renteria bunted but Womack was caught at second. I imagine everyone would have gone nuts with that had Twitter been around. Your second-place hitter bunting with nobody out? Even in a scoreless game, that’s not what you want to see, especially when they get the lead runner. Pujols flew out against new pitcher (and former Cardinal) Ricky Bottalico, but then Renteria made up for it a bit by stealing second. You could only go against the MV3 so many times before they’d make you pay and Rolen did, doubling off Bottalico to bring in the game’s first run. Edmonds was then intentionally passed, which worked out for New York when Reggie Sanders grounded out.
Eldred retired the Mets in order in the eighth. Braden Looper, another guy with Cardinal ties, pitched the ninth for the Mets. He allowed a single to Matheny with one out. Lankford then grounded into a force play and was caught stealing second with Womack up. Thankfully, Steve Kline came in and retired Eric Valent, Kazuo Matusi, and Cliff Floyd to bring home the 1-0 victory.