A long time ago in what seems like a galaxy far, far away 1, the St. Louis Cardinals were struggling. The batters couldn’t hit snow on Hoth. 2 The pitchers were getting blasted like C-3P0 on Bespin. 3 It was a dark time for the good guys. As of late, though, things have been much better. The bullpen still seems to have the precision of Imperial stormtroopers 4 but everything seems to be coming up Cardinals now. Up and down the lineup, hitters are coming through and the starting pitching has been exquisite.
Adam Wainwright tried to take us back to those days last night. The old Jedi Master didn’t have the either the mind trick 5 or his control working in the early going. The first two runs for the Mets came from a bases-loaded HBP and a bases-loaded walk. Overall, his box score line looks uglier than a Hutt. 6 Five runs in 5.2 innings, with three walks and a home run in there. After the home run from Kevin Pillar, Wainwright was like Luke Skywalker under Bespin 7, just hoping for some help.
Help arrived. It wasn’t a YT-1300 freighter swooping in 8 but instead a couple of big bats making some big noise. With two outs in the inning, Dylan Carlson and Paul Goldschmidt walked, bringing up Nolan Arelando 9, I mean Nolan Arenado. Arenado found the exhaust port 10 in Joey Lucchesi‘s pitch and blasted it into the left field bleachers, tying up the game in one swing. As his sweet mother always told him, if one run is good, two are better, and three, well, that’s just good business. 11
That wasn’t the end of the story, though. Paul DeJong, who has been Darth Vader 12 to the Mets over his career, Force-choked 13 them again with a double. On the very next pitch Tyler O’Neill did the same, bringing in the go-ahead run. No word on whether the Bothans 14 got him that pitch information or how many died to do so.
Then came the waiting. After all, all of this activity for both sides had come in the first three innings. Like the Falcon in the asteroid 15 or the Resistance on Crait 16, the Cardinals hunkered down, hoping to ride things out.
Remarkably enough they did, but that didn’t mean that there wasn’t drama left to be had. Wainwright escaped the Dark Side 17 and pitched a scoreless fourth and fifth. He got two outs in the sixth before leaving a man on for Genesis Cabrera, who promptly walked the first batter he faced to bring up the Kylo Ren 18 of the Mets, Francisco Lindor. Even with Lindor’s rough season, you expect him to break out at any time. This was not it, though, and Cabrera navigated the asteroid field 19 successfully.
Cabrera got two outs in the seventh, but when he walked a batter Ryan Helsley came in. Helsley jumped to lightspeed 20, getting Pillar out on a 98 mph fastball.
Through all this the Cardinals are looking like Ewoks 21 at the plate. DeJong’s single to lead off the sixth was the first in a thousand generations 22. OK, it was just the first since O’Neill’s double in the third, but it felt longer. Unfortunately, a scruffy looking nerf herder 23 named Harrison Bader erased that work with a double play. You can’t fault that scoundrel 24 too much, though. His laser blast 25 homer in the second tied the game up at 2 back in the second. In the bottom of the seventh, R2-D2 26 analog Tommy Edman doubled with two outs, but the young Padawan 27 Carlson wasn’t able to pass that Jedi trial 28.
Giovanny Gallegos treated the Mets like Rebel soldiers in the hallway at the end of Rogue One 29, setting them down in order in the eighth. Only a walk to Arenado made the bottom of the eighth any different.
Games don’t end after eight innings, though. No, there is another 30. Alex Reyes came into the game and proceeded to make Cardinal fans as nervous as a Tauntaun smelling a Wampa 31. He got Jeff McNeil to pop out, but then walked Lindor which brought up Michael Conforto. Conforto has been one of the Mets’ hottest hitters, so most everyone watching had a bad feeling about this 32. However, Conforto’s at bat was as disappointing to Mets fans as The Rise of Skywalker 33 was to the rest of us, as he flew out.
Then darkness fell, a phantom menace 34 no one saw coming. It was like they had a blast shield down, they couldn’t even see, so how were they supposed to play? 35 Darkness rises and the light to meet it 36, as the lights kicked right back on and the delay of the game was minimal. Thankfully it didn’t happen mid-pitch. If it had I imagine Pete Alonso would have hit the ground faster than a podracer 37, especially given Reyes’s control issues.
Those issues actually led to a walk of Alonso, putting two runners on for Dom Smith. One base hit could have unraveled innings of work. The Cardinals were on a catwalk with a yawning abyss below 38. The game stood in the balance. Reyes ran the count full before getting Smith to fly out and securing the win. Cue John Williams’s theme 39.
There was other news before the game. Youngling 40 Johan Oviedo is going to make the start today and everyone else is going to shift back a day. We knew that he was expected to make another start in this 17-game stretch, we just didn’t know when. However, you can’t just snatch him from Jakku 41–um, Sauget–because he hasn’t been down 10 days yet. The only way that this Jedi can return 42 is if there is an injury situation.
Which of course there is. It’s a tragedy on the order of Darth Plagueis the Wise 43 that Jordan Hicks left with an arm issue this weekend. The team has gotten imaging that they want to continue to evaluate–perhaps they are waiting on a missing part to the map of his arm. 44 Whatever the result, it seems obvious that Hicks is going to go on the injured list retroactive to Sunday and Oviedo will get the call. I don’t know if this is quite a situation where, with Hicks being struck down, the team gets more powerful than possibly imagined 45 but I would hope so, given that Oviedo has to face Jacob deGrom today and deGrom probably wants revenge for the fifth 46 straight Cardinal win.
There’s a new hope 47 for Miles Mikolas as well. John Mozeliak said that Mikolas would head to the outer rim 48 and pitch his first rehab start at Memphis this week. He should have about four starts there and hopefully the four will awaken 49 the Mikolas we have become accustomed to seeing. Of course, always in motion is the future 50 and we don’t know if Mikolas can overcome this injury entirely, but being able to slip him into the back of the rotation instead of John Gant would seem to be an upgrade.
It feels wrong that the Yoda 51 of this team would be missing the holiday game tonight. Yadier Molina is feeling better, probably strong enough to pull the ears off a gundark 52, but he’s still got to wait the 10 days required from being placed on the IL. That should be up on Thursday, I believe, and while the organization isn’t sure he’ll play on this homestand, he doesn’t have the eyes of a man who wants to run 53. I’d be really surprised if Yadi isn’t playing as soon as legally possible.
There was other injury news as well. John Nogowski is on the mend and will go to Memphis to get into some games. However, I’m not sure they won’t just leave him there for a while. With the returns of O’Neill and Bader, finding a way to get him on the roster might be harder than carbonite 54. If Matt Carpenter is going to be an effective bench option, which uncertain still that future is 55, I’m not sure exactly what Nogowski can do for this team.
With the win last night and a Brewers loss, the Cardinals are in the cloud city 56 of first place, tied with the Brewers at 17-12. The Cardinals also have the third greatest run differential in the National League, trailing only the hives of scum and villainy 57 in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Granted, they are staring down a Death Star 58 tonight, but it’s not simple tricks and nonsense 59 that has pulled them out of last place to first over the span of a couple of weeks. Rebellions are built on hope 60 but this team has more than that going for it. We’re seeing a more consistent offensive attack as of late and the pitching has been sharper than Princess Leia’s tongue 61. If the bullpen could just stop BBing eight 62 people a series, we might be able to sit back and enjoy it. We might even indulge in some delusions of grandeur 63.
While we enjoy another Cardinal game tonight, minor league baseball kicks off their season as well. While some teams were treated like Alderaan 64 by major league baseball this winter, it’s good to have it back in whatever form as young players look wistfully at the horizon, hoping to some day leave for bigger and better things 65.
We’ve finally reached the end. It’s time to execute Order 66. (After all, as I was told, 66 is a serious number.)
Happy Star Wars Day everyone! May the 4th be with you!