The Bottom Line:
— The St. Louis Cardinals (63-53) defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks (58-58) on Tuesday night by a score of 3-2. The Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds won, while the Pittsburgh Pirates lost, meaning the Cardinals picked up one game on the second wild card spot.
— Joe Kelly (3-5) threw his eighth quality game in his last ten starts, giving up two earned runs and six hits over 6 1/3 innings, while walking two and striking out six.
— The game remained scoreless until the fourth inning when Matt Holliday launched his 23rd home run of the year into the left field bleachers to put the Cards up 2-0.
— Jon Jay hit a solo home run in the sixth inning to put up the Cards 3-0.
— Despite a two-run home run by Miguel Montero in the seventh, the Cards scored five runs in the eighth due to some poor defense by the Diamondbacks, giving them more than enough insurance to win the ball game.
This was the kind of start that the Cardinals needed to get off to this home stand. It’s obviously frustrating that the Braves and Reds won, but it’s just a matter of time before the standings start to balance out. The reality is that the first wild card is going to win around 90 games, and the second wild card will probably win 87-89 games, because that’s just baseball. It may not seem like much of analytical argument, but that’s because it’s unnecessary here. It amazes me year after year how people are so shocked when a wild card team wins 90 games after being on pace to win 95-100 games. If a team was good enough to win 95-100 games, they would win the division! It’s simply, what I’ll call “baseball physics.” Thus, while scoreboard watching is certainly entertaining, it’s really unnecessary, even in mid-August. 30 days from now, it will obviously be a different story, but for now, the Cards are on pace to win 88 games, a number that I should be good enough to get them into that second wild card spot.
There is still no update, as far as CardsBlog is aware, on the reason why Brian Fuentes was put on the restricted list. We know it was a family matter and that it might mean Fuentes misses the remainder of the season, and if that’s the case, that would be obviously be very detrimental to this bullpen. Having said that, they got the job done again tonight. Edward Mujica, in particular, continues to be phenomenal since being traded to the Cardinals and has yet to give up a run with the Redbirds.
What’s Next: The Cardinals continue their three-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night at 7:15 CST where Adam Wainwright (10-10) will take on Joe Saunders (6-8). The game can be seen on Fox Sports Midwest and all pre and post game information can be found on CardsBlog.