St. Louis Cardinals rookie starter Luke Weaver had not faced the Milwaukee Brewers at Busch Stadium. However, this was his second time to face them, still a fairly new major league career, for his sixth start. His first was at Miller Park on August 31. He gave up three earned runs which was enough for the Brewers to win over the Cardinals, 3-1. Yesterday's game, he only gave up three hits for one earned run to Chris Carter for a RBI sac fly in his first. His next five innings he held them scoreless while fanning eight at the plate, only issuing one walk. The young hurler still has some work to do on pitch management, seeing 30 pitches early in his second and spending a total of 101 PC; but, threw 67 strikes, in his six frames. In September, with 10 IP, he holds a 2.70 ERA which is much improved over his August 3.86 ERA.
Cardinals run support for Weaver was held in check by Brewers Zach Davies. Davies, his second season with the Brewers, is 2-1 against the Cardinals. This was his first appearance at Busch Stadium. Yesterday, he held them scoreless in his first seven innings. In the eighth, one runner on and one out, he was retired with Tyler Thornburg to face Stephen Piscotty, 0-2 AB. He leads the MLB in RISP this season. Hehits a high flier for a RBI sac-fly to tie the game for his 81 RBI.
Davies allowed five hits, one earned run, one walk and had seven strikeouts. He went 7.1 IP and holds a 3.87 ERA.
Jonathan Broxton and Zach Duke both allowed no runs to the Brewers in the seventh, eighth innings, respectively. With the game tied, manager Mike Matheny did not go with closer Seung Hwan Oh as he had done in a couple of tied games in the ninth previously. Kevin Siegrist was called for the ninth. He had only given up one hit in his last five innings pitched; and, no earned runs since August 29, which was against the Brewers. He got his first out on Perez fly-out. Ryan Braun, who had been 1-3 AB for the afternoon, worked Siegrist to a full count. A fastball that didn't quite get in far enough was all Braun needed for a solo shot to center putting the Brewers back on top, 2-1. Seigrist went on to get two strikeouts on Carter and Kirk Nieuwenhuis.
Thornburg returned in the bottom of the ninth and took out the side to get his sixth win and hand Siegrist his third loss. Both starters walk away with a no-decision.
HIGHLIGHTS ~ CARDINALS DEFENSE
However, during the course of the game, Weaver on the mound in his fourth, CF Randal Grichuk had his back with a great catch in centerfield. He was spot on.
And, 3B Matt Carpenter denies Zach Davies his single in the eighth.
Some will grumble as to what good is defense if you can't put runs on the board. True; but and in my opinion, this was much better than the rout the Cardinals took in Game One, 12-5, Brewers win. Cardinals split the series, and could ill afford to lose yesterday being in the NL Wild Card race. Now, they sit 1/2 game behind the New York Mets for the second spot. Are they Cardinals out of the running? Not yet. Even with many Cardinals fans believing they are. I, for one, am pretty sure the season did not end yesterday. Yes, the Cardinals have a strong schedule ahead of them. The Chicago Cubs are coming into Busch Stadium today. Then they head back on the road to face the San Francisco Giants (first in the NL WC race) for four games. Followed by the Colorado Rockies and the Cubs again at Wrigley Field before returning to Busch Stadium.
Rookie Luke Weaver did his job and did it well. The Cardinals offense was held by a very strong adversary, Zach Davies. Even though the Brewers, a sub-.500 team, does not define the pitcher on the mound. And, Weaver was able to go toe-to-toe with a bit more seasoned starter. And the next starter they are to face will be no easier. The best of the Cubs rotation will be on the mound for Game One tonight.
GAME ONE HOSTING THE CHICAGO CUBS - FIRST PITCH AT 7:15 CST
Cardinals Mike Leake (9-9/4.61 ERA) will face Cubs Kyle Hendricks (14-7/2.07 ERA). The Cardinals are going to see Hendricks execute a very good change-up which has been working well for him of late. However, he is 0-2 against St. Louis this season with a 4.38 ERA. As well as he has done in August (1.28 ERA) and so far in September (1.50 ERA) he is beatable. But, Leake will need the run support from the Cardinals. This will be his second start since returning from the 15-Day DL (August 21, shingles). His last start, September 7, he was only able to go 4.1 IP with giving up three earned runs. Against the Cubs, he holds a 4.15 ERA. Leake has not really had his "A" game since May, which he held a 2.31 ERA for the month. Leake has been able to hold the Cubs to a .275 BA; which for the Chicago northend sluggers, is pretty good. The Cardinals are only a tick above that average facing Hendricks with a .288. Even though Hendricks holds a 2.04 at night, he is at 3.09 in his road stands. Leake does his best work during the day, 3.16. At night, not so much with a 5.05 ERA. With this "Route 66 Rivalry", one never knows what the outcome will be; even though, this season, the Cubs sit 16 games in first in the NL Central ahead of the Cardinals. The Cubs hold the best win record in both leagues by six games and the first team by far to reach 90 wins. That is a very bitter pill for Cardinals fans.