Daniel Murphy’s solo shot in extra innings earned us a win last night with the road Nationals.
Today is for football but a few relevant regular season MLB games remain. The Twins continued to pull away from the Angels on Saturday so the American League playoff picture took another step closer to certainty yesterday.
Both the Rockies and Brewers won in the National League and the Cardinals missed an opportunity to keep pace. The Birds lost to the Pirates in Pittsburgh after Lance Lynn gave up eight runs without getting out of the first inning.
The Cardinals are a win behind Milwaukee and even in the loss column; the Brewers are a full game back of the Rockies, who are in San Diego for the finale of their weekend series.
St. Louis is confident, though. And the expanded rosters always seem to benefit the Cardinals, who are known for having a deep system that, more often than not, promotes from within rather than makes big acquisitions via trade or free agency. That extra wave of depth from the minor league system has benefited St. Louis already this month and will continue to do as much in the season’s last eight games.
John Gant, the starting pitcher this afternoon, is a product of that system. He is making his first start of the season and the eighth of his career after the Cardinals announced that Jack Flaherty has been sent to the bullpen.
Gant had thrown five scoreless innings out of the bullpen this month before giving up a home run in his last appearance, against the Reds five days ago.
He should be comfortable in this spot with plenty of arms available behind him, even after a long game for the bullpen yesterday. Of course, he would like to go deep into the game but he will take things one out at a time because the goal is to put up zeroes. This is where I trust the Cardinals’ staff to manage things perfectly, whereas the Pirates are just playing out the season.
Jameson Taillon will be the home starter. He started off the season well and then got the news about testicular cancer. He beat it and came back to pitch by the middle of the summer but things haven’t gone as well for him since then.
Taillon has been awfully hittable of late. His ERA has been on the rise after finishing June and then opening July with a sub-3.00. It’s now 4.73 and it’s because the opponent is hitting .299 on the season and above .300 in the second half. Taillon’s WHIP is 1.55 due to 144 hits in over 120 innings pitched and occasional bouts of wildness.
In his last two starts against St. Louis, Taillon has gone 10 innings and given up 15 hits. This is the Cardinals’ game to win and they are only small road favorites.
Free Pick: Cardinals -107