Connor Watson, Staff Writer
Game 4 of the National League Division Series ended in fireworks for the Central Division Champs: the St. Louis Cardinals. Leading the heroics was none other than catcher Yadier Molina, who drove in Cardinal first baseman Paul Goldschmidt as the tying run in the bottom of the 8th inning. Then, in the bottom of the 10th inning, Molina was able to come through again by hitting a sacrifice fly to Atlanta Brave’s left-fielder Adam Duvall, allowing Kolten Wong to score on a tag-up from third base.
That was last Monday night. Fast forward to Wednesday.
The Cardinals lineup would be going up against Brave’s pitcher Mike Foltynewics, who had recently thrown a shut-out against the Cardinals in Game 2 of the series. He only allowed three hits through his seven innings pitched, so the Cardinals needed to make adjustments, mainly against the breaking pitches that Foltynewicz threw. Out of the 81 pitches that Foltynewicz threw, 36 were sliders—the second-highest ratio of his career—and he used them to devastating effect. Cardinal batters struck out seven times against him and could not draw a single walk. The plan, then, would be to take patient at-bats and lay off of the breaking pitches. And that is just what the Cardinal hitters did.
Cardinal center-fielder Dexter Fowler led off the game against Foltynewicz. Fowler stayed patient during his at bat and drew a big lead-off walk. Next to the plate came second baseman Kolten Wong who made the veteran decision of laying down a sacrifice bunt to move Fowler into scoring position on second base. One out. Next up: Paul Goldschmidt. He singled and moved Dexter to third base, still one out, man on first and third. Up next was Marcell Ozuna, the Big Bear, and he singled to left-field and drove in Fowler for the first score of the game. What follows next will be the greatest offensive output in a single inning in MLB playoff history. The Cardinals put up ten runs on the Braves in one inning, it was the first time a pitcher (Jack Flaherty) batted in the first three innings of a playoff game, it was also the only time that many runs were scored in a playoff game without that team hitting any homeruns. The Cardinals would go on to win the game by a score of 13-1, the lone run for the Braves coming from Josh Donaldson’s homerun in the fourth inning.
After such a one-sided victory/beatdown, the Cardinals will look to push past the surging Washington Nationals, who pulled the upset against the 106 game winners, the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Cardinals, having the better record, will have home field advantage. Start time for Game 1 will be Friday, Oct. 11, at 7:08 p.m. Starting pitchers for the game will be: Anibal Sanchez (presumably) for the Washington Nationals versus Miles Mikolas for the St. Louis Cardinals. The rest of series starters look like this:
Game 2: Wainwright (at home)
Game 3: Flaherty (on the road)
Game 4: Hudson (on the road, with Mikolas in relief)
Game 5: Mikolas (on the road, potentially)
Game 6: Wainwright (at home, potentially)
Game 7: Flaherty (at home, potentially)
The Cardinals will look to their defense and pitching to get them past the Nationals. For their offense, they will look to get the National’s bullpen, who have struggled here of late, to score some late inning runs if need be. All-in-all, things are looking good for the Redbirds.