On a holiday, it’s nice to just kick back, relax, and not stress about anything. When Max Scherzer is on the mound for the other side, you can do that because you know there won’t be any bullpen meltdowns, any missed opportunities. You know what the results are going to be.
Granted, it’s not like the Cardinals haven’t beaten him before. In fact, in his career Scherzer has a 4-6 record against St. Louis counting yesterday, but he has a 2.76 ERA to go with it and if you are going to beat him, it’s going to be a tight, hard fought game. Those aren’t necessarily the games we’ve seen out of St. Louis recently. Plus it would seem Scherzer is pitching with some extra verve since going to the Dodgers, as he’s allowed a maximum of two runs in those seven starts. He’s allowed no runs three times, so before yesterday he was more likely to have a shutout appearance than to give up a run in a Dodger uniform.
You knew that it wasn’t likely to be the Cardinals day before Miles Mikolas threw the first pitch. That fact became clearer and clearer as the first inning went along, as the Dodgers scored a run before any outs were obtained. If it wasn’t for a Justin Turner double play, there’s a chance that first inning might have unraveled enough to rival Carlos Martinez‘s start against the Dodgers in LA, when he allowed 10 runs and didn’t get three outs. As it was, Mikolas gave up four runs in the top of the first and it would have to be a very strange day if Max Scherzer gave up five. In fairness, he had done that twice this year, but twice feels like the max you can expect in a Scherzer season.
The top of the lineup did come through against Scherzer, though. Tommy Edman led the bottom of the frame off with a double, of course, and had two hits on the day. He even scored the only run on a passed ball by Austin Barnes. We’ll go with Paul Goldschmidt as the Hero, though, because he had three hits and that put Edman in position to score.
Other than that, though, Scherzer had his way. The only other player to get a hit was Edmundo Sosa and the Cards struck out 13 times against him and once against old friend Joe Kelly. (I had to leave for a family gathering and missed the ninth, so I’m glad that at least one Cardinal legend got to get into the game.) The game clipped by in a brisk 2:37 because Mikolas settled in and allowed only one run on a hit and a walk in the next four innings and the bullpen combined for no baserunners. At least they didn’t draw out the inevitable.
Reds lost, but the Phillies pounded the Brewers and the Padres didn’t play, so the wild card picture got a little hazier for St. Louis. Besides, at this rate even if they got into the playoffs, they’d face Scherzer in the wild card game and, well, we’ve seen that future. Twenty-six more games to go and we’ll see if tonight’s outing with J.A. Happ going against not Max Scherzer (which is really all we know as it’s still TBD) will go better!