By Chris Hrabe

3:15: Well, that’ll do it from Busch Stadium. Cardinals lose 7-1 to Pittsburgh and the series is tied at one game apiece headed to Pittsburgh for Games 3 & 4. Lance Lynn struggled, but Gerrit Cole was the story of the game for me. The rookie was phenomenal, and the Cardinals never got anything going against him. This was fun, we’ll do it again. Talk to you tonight on The Hub at 9pm on KMOX. -Hrabe

2:54: John Rooney just pointed out that aside from Yadier Molina’s home run, the Cardinals have not had a runner reach third base. Rough. Gerrit Cole was fantastic and the Pirates bullpen has been great all year. Simple recipe for a rough offensive outing for the opposition.

2:40: Maybe not.

2:29: Cole out, Adams up. Maybe the Cardinals can take advantage of the Pirates bullpen.

2:12: Gerrit Cole is fantastic at baseball. 98.99, 100 were the final 3 fastballs to Holliday. Also threw a 98 MPH fastball that ran back in to the inner-third to freeze Beltran on strike 3. What an inning from the rookie.

I guess the good news is that Cole threw 23 pitches that inning after being around 12/inning headed into the 6th. If you hope for anything, you hope that you can take advantage of that moving forward.

2:08: I may be in the minority in this opinion, but I think rally-towels look damn cool in any playoff/big game atmosphere, if everyone is into it and waving them.

1:40: The Lance Lynn vs Pittsburgh numbers since 8/15 are a sight for sore eyes. In 3 starts over 13.2 IP, Lynn has given up 25 hits and 16 earned runs. That’s a 10.54 ERA. Mike Matheny repeatedly told the media that the team “has the same information” as everyone else, and the decision (and confidence) to start Lynn today still confuses me. Let’s make it very clear – this isn’t hindsight. Miller has been the better pitcher this year and the better pitcher at home. The only nod to Lynn is his “record” against Pittsburgh, which isn’t as much an indication of his performance as it is of the entire team’s.

1:25: In what comes as terribly unsurprising news, Andrew McCutchen was a ridiculous high school football player at Meade in Florida, and committed to play college football at Florida. I hope it was Ron Zook that recruited him.

1:17: Well that probably SHOULD have been a walk to Holliday. So give me SOME credit.

1:04: Cole gets his first two strikeouts of the afternoon in the bottom of the 3rd, stadium radar gun shows 97 MPH on the fastball that gets Carpenter. And what do they say about the Cardinals’ track record against guys they have never seen before?

In innings 1-3 this year (57.1 IP), Cole has given up 18 ER for a 2.84 ERA and opponents are batting .274/.311/.349 against him. Innings 4-6 (53.1 IP) he has given up 19 ER for a 3.21 ERA, with opponents hitting .225/.287/.309. Looking for a silver lining? His walk rate more than doubles in innings 4-6, from 1.42BB/9IP to 2.87 BB/9IP.

12:53: On the Alvarez home run, Wheeler points out that it was yet another belt-high 4-seamer thrown by Lynn to the Pirates third baseman. Not a good pitch. 93, catches the middle, and now it’s a 3-run game.

12:43: Jon Jay might be a bottom-third player in MLB according to WAR, but his plate music is high-level stuff. “Public Service Announcement” by Jay-Z off of the Black Album. One of the best plate songs in the Cardinals entire lineup. Oh, Jay grounds out.

12:35: Lance Lynn numbers to keep an eye on, even after his 4-start turnaround to close the season. Flyball rate in September (38.9%) vs entire season (34.4%), groundball rate in September (37.5%) vs entire season (43.1%) & left on base rate in September (88.8%) vs entire season (71.8%).

12:31: There’s our first “errors and fielding percentage are a terrible indicator of actual defensive value” of the day, brought to you by Jon Jay. Terrible break and route on the ground rule double by Alvarez to center.

12:25: You can gamble on anything these days. For instance, you could have parlayed there not being any runs scored in the first inning + under 3 total hits/runs/errors in the first inning. And if you had done that, you would be a winner. Just saying. That was an option.

12:15: Pretty cool to see all of the construction workers at Ballpark Village hanging out at the railings watching the game get underway. Not a bad spot out there! Been impressed all year long to see how fast the construction has progressed. Although I’ll admit that I know nothing about construction, it just seems to my untrained eye that the structure is going up quickly.

11:50: Here’s an idea Kevin came up with. With the A-Rod & Pujols/Jack Clark lawsuits filed, shouldn’t Judge Judy preside over the cases in a 2-hour TV special, and render a verdict at the conclusion? I would pay $29.95 for this, no questions asked. In fact, I bet a lot of sports fans would pay to see these type of silly (and awesome) lawsuits deliberated and decided out in the open, in an expedited fashion, for all the world to see. Let’s get this started on Twitter.

11:41: Wheeler isn’t in on the bean salad in the media boxed lunches in the press box. I’ll keep an eye out, wouldn’t be surprising to see folks trying to smuggle contraband out of the press box for rations over the weekend.

11:32am: On the note of the early start time, I have heard just about every angle in regards to unusual starts, especially in the postseason. This morning, listening to Pittsburgh sports radio, I heard the theory that an early start is the “best thing that could happen” to the Pirates. The reasoning is that the Pirates get right back to the ballpark, and don’t have time to stew over last night’s brutal loss.

I don’t buy momentum, whether good or bad, so I can’t support this. What I do know is that the Cardinals were the better team yesterday, and still have the better lineup. Start time doesn’t have anything to do with that. Why do we often try to create an angle out of a circle? I tend to side with observation and analysis over rationalization in these cases.

11:30am: 37 minutes from game time here at Busch Stadium. What a day (and weekend) of sports. I heard Joe Sheehan make the point on Will Leitch’s “Sports on Earth” podcast that this is the closest thing MLB has to March Madness. A full day of games today, from noon until midnight. Fantastic.

The crowd is a little light inside Busch Stadium right now, presumably because everyone is outside partying. Smart people.


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