Wainwright and Maness and Chambers, Oh My! St. Louis Cardinals Walk-off a Winner

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Quick Game Recap:

The first game of the crucial series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates was truly a spectacle, and this time, the good guys came out on top.

It was the bottom of the 14th inning. The clock struck 12:15 AM at Busch Stadium as Jon Jay slid around Russell Martin‘s tag for the game winning run on an RBI slap single by none other than Adron Chambers.

Prior to this walk-off win, the Cardinals were 0-40 in games they were trailing after the eighth inning. Well, they are now 1-40, and frankly, it could not have come at a better time.

Breaking Down the Key Players:

Adam Wainwright:
Final Line: 7.0 innings pitched, 5 hits, 3 earned runs, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts, 2 home runs, 122 pitches (71 strikes)

Despite Wainwright’s less-than-ace-like start to the game, he was able to settle in after the first two innings–pitching five scoreless innings to keep his team in the game. He allowed a first inning two-run home run to Andrew McCutchen and then a solo homer to Jordy Mercer in the second.

He had racked up 81 pitches through just four innings, leading to many questioning Matheny’s decision of pushing him back. Yet, he was able to constantly battle out of jams to pitch seven full innings–largely due to the fact that he was more efficient in the 5th, 6th, and 7th (just 41 pitches).

Thus, unlike I had predicted in my post before the game, Wainwright was not dominant like I had thought he would be. However, he did what ace pitchers need to do by keeping his team in the game even though he did not have his best stuff.

Thank you, Wainwright. I am glad the offense and the bullpen was able to pick you up in this one. For all the negative fans out there, Waino may not have been dominant in the game, but he definitely pitched like an ace out there.

Seth Maness:
Final Line: 2.1 innings pitched, 2 hits, 0 earned runs, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 2 double plays (1 as a hitter and 1 as a pitcher)

Maness did what Maness does best. He got the job done, even though it wasn’t that pretty. In the top of the 13th, it looked like yet another loss was coming for the Cardinals. Runners on 1st and 3rd and no outs, not to mention that one of the fastest runners in the league was on 3rd in McCutchen. A diving stop by Kozma got the first out of the inning. After an intentional walk, Maness was able to induce yet another double play to get out of the jam he had created for himself.

Oh, and I also have to mention that Maness had two chances to end the game at the plate, but he came up empty both times. In the first at-bat, he grounded into an unconventional 6-9c-3 double play, and in his second, he struck out looking. However, I am glad he didn’t end it because it was nice to see Chambers get it done.

Adron Chambers:
Game Stats: 1-2, 1 single, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, 1 RBI (the game-winner), 1 ripped jersey

To be honest, Chambers looked lost at times during his at-bats tonight. However, that is what makes the game of baseball so great. He looked bad, swinging at pitches that were either in the dirt or already in the catchers mitt, yet was able to center one just enough to slap it the other way for the game-winning hit.

Jon Jay:
Game Stats: 4-6, 3 singles, 1 double, 1 RBI, 1 stolen base (HUGE steal), 1 run scored (the game-winner), and 1 sac bunt

Great game at the plate once again for Jay. Four more hits to raise his season average to .271. He now has a .344 on-base percentage as well–good enough for 27th in the National League. Since the All-Star Break, Jay is hitting .325 with seven doubles, one triple, and ten runs batted in. He is easily the second hottest hitter on the team behind Matt Holliday. Also, for the sabermetricians, he is finally increasing his WAR rating. He is up to 0.7, and it does not look like he is stopping there.

He had probably the most controversial sac bunt ever, at least according to Twitter anyways. Who would have ever thought that St. Louis fans would be mad at him for bunting and wanting him to swing the bat? Not me, I have been one of his biggest fans since his University of Miami days, but many fans have been making up players to take his spot in center all season.

I agree that he should not have been bunting there, either. It is just funny to see how a few good weeks at the plate can change fans’ entire outlook on a player. Thus, Jonny, keep doing what you’re doing. You’ll be back .300 in no time.

The Bullpen:
Final Line: 7.0 innings pitched, 5 hits, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts, 0 earned runs

5 pitchers used (Rosenthal: 1 inning, Mujica: 2 innings, Siegrist: 0.2 innings, Maness: 2.1 innings, Freeman 1 inning)

Concluding Thoughts:

I fully realize that Matheny needs to manage his bench better. However, it is not my place to dog him for his decisions. He is getting paid to do what he does, while I am paying in order to watch what he does. Don’t think that his mis-management of the bench went unnoticed by me, it is just not my job to call him out, and I wanted to savor all the good moments from this game for this post.

The Cardinals cannot have a walk-off “hangover” tomorrow. They are up against their lefty nemesis, Francisco Liriano. He carved Cardinals’ hitters up last game, but is coming off arguably one of the worst outing of his career–allowing 10 earned runs in two and one-third innings pitched in Colorado.

Let’s hope he is shell-shocked from that start, and Cardinals’ hitter are able to capitalize early in the game because once Liriano is settled in, there are no hitters that will be able to hit him.

With the win, they are now just 2.0 games behind the Pirates, but it would be nice to make that just 1.0 after tomorrow night. I will be in attendance, and I am looking forward to another electric, playoff-like atmosphere at Busch.

Oh, and huge thanks goes out to Starling Marte for being flashy out there in left field on that lazy fly off the bat of Descalso. Maybe next time you will use two hands and not cost your team the game.

GO CARDS!

I apologize for the scattered set-up of this post. However, after a game like I just witnessed, and the time that it was when I completed it, I figured it was only fitting. I honestly believe I just witnessed one of the most entertaining baseball games of my life. Hope this blog was able to do it at least a little bit of justice.

Until next time…

Joe

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter: @stlCupofJoe

Official Member of the STLSportsMinute Blog Network

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3 thoughts on “Wainwright and Maness and Chambers, Oh My! St. Louis Cardinals Walk-off a Winner

  1. Great article and thank you for saying something about one handed catches. I hate that and don’t understand outfielders not having second hand up there. I’ve complained about it since the mid 80s.
    At least our boy Jay uses two hands on routine fly balls. Maybe that is why he owns the cards errorless streak in center.

  2. Pingback: Cardinal Nation Enough with the What Ifs | Turner's Twist

  3. Pingback: TurnersTwist.com: St Louis Cardinal nation: Enough with the "What IFs" - StlSportsMinute.com : StlSportsMinute.com

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