Wednesday’s Game Report: Brewers 4, Cardinals 0
By Rob Rains, STLSportsPage.com
With their spot in the playoffs secured, the Cardinals can use their last five games of the regular season to get players some rest and try to answer questions about how others could be used in October.
While disappointed that the franchise-record winning streak came to an end at 17 games with the loss to the Brewers on Wednesday night at Busch Stadium, it was more a night to look forward than backward.
One of the players who could find himself on the playoff roster, if healthy, came out of the bullpen for only the second time in his career to start the eighth inning.
Jack Flaherty, out for two long stretches this season because of injuries to his oblique and shoulder, is under consideration to be a part of that roster, either to be used in key relief roles or perhaps as an opener since he will be on a limited pitch count.
Flaherty threw 17 pitches, nine for strikes, in his scoreless inning. He allowed one hit, a double to Lorenzo Cain, walked one and struck out one. Flaherty likely will get at least one more relief appearance sometime this weekend, as will Dakota Hudson, the Cardinals’ other candidate to be a late addition to the bullpen for October, before a decision is made about adding either or both to the roster.
Hudson is coming back from Tommy John surgery last September.
Among position players, Yadier Molina missed his third consecutive game as he rested a stiff shoulder but the Cardinals anticipate him being able to play sometime this week. The same is true for shortstop Edmundo Sosa, who hasn’t played since being hit in his right wrist with a pitch last Friday.
One night after clinching the second wildcard spot the Cardinals gave three other regulars – Tommy Edman, Nolan Arenado and Tyler O’Neill – the night off, although O’Neill did pinch-hit.
Here is how Wednesday night’s game broke down:
At the plate: The Cardinals were shut out on just three hits. The only two times they have been shut out this month have both come against the Brewers. They also lost 4-0, on just three hits, on Sept. 3 in Milwaukee … Their best scoring chance came in the first inning when they had the bases loaded with one out before Harrison Bader hit into a double play … They also had a runner on third with one out in the fourth after a leadoff double by Dylan Carlson but could not drive him in …Their other hits were a single by Lars Nootbaar in the first and a single by Jose Rondon in the fifth.
On the mound: Mikes Mikolas pitched into the sixth inning, allowing three runs on seven hits while striking out seven. After giving up a run in the first in part because of an infield hit and a wild pitch, Mikolas allowed just two more hits until running into trouble in the sixth, giving up a two-run homer to Daniel Vogelbach … Andrew Miller also allowed a home run, to Mickey Pina, in the seventh.
Key stat: Flaherty’s only other career relief appearance came during his rookie season, on Sept. 25, 2017. He had made 86 consecutive starts since that game.
Worth noting: John Mozeliak, president of baseball operations, told a crowd at a season-ticket holder event before the game that Arenado came into his office on Wednesday and told him that he would not be opting out of his contract after this season … Jordan Hicks made his second rehab start for Memphis on Wednesday, throwing 12 pitches, nine for strikes, in a scoreless inning. Hicks will be heading to Arizona to pitch in the Fall League in October after missing virtually all of the last two seasons.
Looking ahead: J.A. Happ will get the start in the 12:15 p.m. game on Thursday that will conclude the series against the Brewers.
Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains