With Craig out of town, we have a “Settling the Score” in place of the usual “And That Happened.” Don’t worry, we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled programming on Tuesday.
The Cardinals have at least assured themselves a spot in the NL Wild Card game, but they still have a division to win. After falling 6-4 to the Brewers on Sunday night, they currently hold a two-game lead over the Pirates and Reds in the NL Central with six games remaining in the regular season. Here’s how things set up this week.
The Cardinals are still sitting pretty right now, as they will play their final six games at home. They’ll begin a three-game series against the Nationals tonight before facing the last-place Cubs this weekend. The Reds will also be at home for their final six games. They’ll start at three-game series against the Mets tonight before getting the Pirates this weekend. As opposed to the Cardinals and Reds, the Pirates will finish the season on the road. They’ll play the Cubs for three before going to Cincinnati.
Whoever finishes in second and third place in the NL Central will almost certainly face off in the Wild Card game one week from tomorrow (the Nationals’ elimination number is down to two), but nobody wants their season to come down to just one game. Here’s hoping for a fun and dramatic final week.
Your Sunday box scores:
Giants 2, Yankees 1
Astros 2, Indians 9
Mets 4, Phillies 3
White Sox 6, Tigers 3
Reds 11, Pirates 3
Blue Jays 2, Red Sox 5
Marlins 4, Nationals 2; Marlins 4, Nationals 5
Orioles 1, Rays 3
Braves 5, Cubs 2
Rangers 0, Royals 4 (10 innings)
Dodgers 1, Padres 0
Diamondbacks 13, Rockies 9
Mariners 3, Angels 2
Twins 7, Athletics 11
Cardinals 4, Brewers 6
Update (11:09 PM EDT):
From unlucky to lucky, the Cardinals maintained their position in the National League Wild Card race with walk-off victory over the Reds on Thursday night.
The Cardinals went into the top of the ninth with a 3-2 lead over the Reds, but saw the game tied when Scott Schebler dribbled a two-strike, two out ground ball down the third base line. It seemed as if the baseball gods had turned their backs on the Cardinals.
In the bottom of the ninth against reliever Blake Wood, Matt Carpenter drew a one-out walk. Randal Grichuk then struck out, leaving all of the Cardinals’ hopes on Yadier Molina. Molina went ahead 2-0 in the count, then ripped a 95 MPH fastball to left field. The ball bounced high and over the left field fence for what seemed like an obvious ground-rule double. Carpenter motored around third base and scored the winning run.
The Cardinals poured onto the field in celebration and the umpires walked off the field. Manager Bryan Price wanted to have the play reviewed, but when he went onto the field, the umpires were nowhere to be found. Price chased after them but to no avail. As the Cardinals left the field and the stadium emptied, the Reds remained in the dugout. The Reds’ relievers were left in a bit of purgatory, standing aimlessly in left field after exiting the bullpen. Finally, the game was announced as complete over the P.A. system at Busch Stadium. The results are great if you’re a Cardinals fan, but terrible if you’re a Mets or Giants fan.
As Jon Morosi points out, the rules clearly state that the signage above the fence in left field is out of the field of play. The umpires got it wrong.
Price, however, also took too long to speak to the umpires. Per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
If this happened between two teams playing a meaningless game, it would’ve been a lot easier to swallow, but Thursday’s Reds-Cardinals game had implications on not only the Cardinals’ future, but the Mets’ and Giants’ as well.
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman went 0-for-4 during Thursday’s win against the Phillies, snapping his hitting streak at 30 games. It marked the longest hitting streak of the 2016 season. Freeman’s streak of 46 consecutive games reaching base safely ended as well.
The longest hitting streak in Atlanta Braves history belongs to Dan Uggla, who hit in 33 consecutive games in 2011. Tommy Holmes hit in 37 straight for the Boston Braves in 1945.
During his hitting streak, Freeman hit .384/.485/.670 with 11 doubles, seven home runs, 27 RBI, and 26 runs scored in 136 plate appearances. That padded what were already very strong numbers on the season. After Thursday’s game, Freeman is overall batting .306/.404/.572 with 33 home runs, 88 RBI< and 101 runs scored in 677 plate appearances.