Friday’s Game Report: Cubs 12, Cardinals 3
By Rob Rains
It was not a good night – again – for the Cardinals bullpen on Friday night.
In a game that was tied at 2 going to the seventh inning when Carlos Martinez left the game, the Cubs broke the game open with 10 runs in the next two innings to take the opener of the three-game series at Busch Stadium.
Ryan Helsley allowed two runs in the seventh, one of which the Cardinals got back in the bottom of the inning, but the combination of Kodi Whitley, Tyler Webb and Seth Elledge gave up eight runs in the eighth to turn the 4-3 game into the blowout win for the Cubs.
The inning featured six hits and three walks, two of which came with the bases loaded. Two of the three outs in the inning came when Cubs runners ran into outs on the bases.
The back end of the Cardinals bullpen – Alex Reyes, Giovanny Gallegos and Genesis Cabrera – generally pitch only in games in which the Cardinals are ahead. Trying to find relievers who can hold a game close in the middle and late innings when they are behind has been a problem for manager Mike Shildt.
“We’re down a run and wr have to be able to pitch other guys,” Shildt said. “We can’t go to the same guys every night … We need to be able to get outs from other guys to keep it close.
“Teams that have bullpens that have guys who can come in and keep games close when you’re down typically are really good teams. We’ve been that; Webb has been that guy for us. Whitley is capable of being that guy for us. You can’t pitch the same three or four guys every night when it’s close and you’re behind.”
This has been a particularly rough stretch for Webb, who inherited the bases loaded with nobody out from Whitley and let two of them score. In his last nine appearances he has allowed 11 runs in a combined 6 innings, issuing 11 walks and allowing nine inherited runners to score.
Here is how Friday night’s game broke down:
At the plate: Tommy Edman’s bloop double drove in Edmundo Sosa in the third to the tie game 1-1 and the Cardinals tied it again at 2 in the sixth on a pinch-hit single by Matt Carpenter and singles by Dylan Carlson and Paul Goldschmidt … Their third run in the seventh came when Sosa singled again, went to second on a wild pitch, took third on an error and scored on Carlson’s second hit of the game.
On the mound: Carlos Martinez gave up a home run to Joc Pederson on the first pitch of the game, the fourth leadoff homer by the Cubs in the history of Busch 3 and the fifth time an opponent hit the first pitch of the game for a home run … Martinez settled down after that and allowed just one more run, in the fifth. He got himself in a two-out jam in the fourth when he loaded the bases on a hit batter, a walk and another hit batter before getting a ground out. He also got out of another jam in the sixth thanks to a double play started by Nolan Arenado …After the misadventures in the seventh and eighth, Daniel Ponce de Leon retired the side in order in the ninth.
Key stat: The two walks with the bases loaded increased the total to a major-league leading 12 bases loaded walks allowed by the Cardinals in the first 44 games this season. It’s already tied for the fifth highest total in a full season since records began being kept in 1974.
Worth noting: This was the first game the Cubs had played in St. Louis since Sept. 29, 2019. Because of the changes in the schedule in 2020 from the COVID-19 outbreak on the Cardinals, all of the games that were postponed that were scheduled to be played at Busch were played in Chicago … The Cardinals’ top position player prospect, Nolan Gorman, hit a three-run walkoff homer for Springfield on Friday night in the completion of the game suspended on Wednesday night because of rain … Friday night’s game began a second stretch of 17 games in 17 days for the Cardinals. They were 13-4 in the first stretch.
Looking ahead: Miles Mikolas, who has not pitched a regular season or postseason game since the 2019 playoffs, will come off the injured list to get the start on Saturday night in the second game of the series.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains