Cardinals Sweep Cubs with 4 Straight 1-Run Wins at Wrigley
For those on the red side of this traditional Midwestern rivalry, what happened in Chicago's North Side this weekend was delicious on so many fronts.
- This was the first time the St Louis Cardinals swept a four-game series at Wrigley Field -- built in 1914 -- since May 1921;
- The Cardinals eliminated the Cubs from NL Central title contention in the process;
- Three of their four victories were come-from-behinders in the last inning; and
- Two of them came by going bridge against high-priced, mid-season addition Craig Kimbrel.
As a result, Cardinal Nation is ecstatic.
Their crew is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2015, a dry spell that was a virtual sin for the franchise that's won more World Series championships than any other National League club.
Coming into the weekend, St Louis was 0-6 at Wrigley this season. Those three-game series were in April during a stretch of schedule when they were going so poorly, scuffling woulda been an improvement.
Then, after the All-Star break, the Cardinals caught fire.
In fact, at 45-23, they hold the NL's best record from that point onward. Key hitting helped, as only Kolton Wong's been on a tear at the plate. It goes without saying dude's been a Wizard 2.0 in the field.
Complementing the opportunistic offense:
- Cardinal pitching has been damn near unconscious, with Jack Flaherty morphing into Bob Gibson and Adam Wainwright discovering some sorta fountain of youth.
- Cardinal defense is about to make history, being the first MLB team ever to go from worst to first in NL team fielding percentage.
It all came together in this crucial series, one the Cardinals wanted but the Cubs needed. This time, it was St Louis who kept coming up big:
- Thu 20 Sep: St Louis 5 Chicago 4, 10 innings ... The Cubbies spoiled Flaherty's brilliant 8-inning outing by plating three in the ninth, only to see Matt Carpenter destroy a Kimbrel heater in the tenth for the win.
Matt Carpenter ❤️s Wrigley! pic.twitter.com/33Um2z6SyG— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 20, 2019
- Fri 21 Sep: St Louis 2 Chicago 1 ... Yadier Molina's bases-loaded single up the middle scored their only two runs, which was all a Cardinal parade of six pitchers required; hello, September rosters.
- Sat 22 Sep: St Louis 9 Chicago 8 ... Wrigley's famous wind aided six dingers, which created five lead changes, and the last happened in the ninth off Kimbrel's first two pitches of the inning:
- Sun 22 Sep: St Louis 3 Chicago 2 ... PH José Martínez opened the ninth with a sailing triple off Albert Amora Jr's glove, Dexter Fowler SF'd him home to tie, Tommy Edman doubled, and then this:
They. Just. Won’t. Go. Away pic.twitter.com/PqoSx0WnJP— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 22, 2019
Damn. That's a team on a mission.
One that's now poring over reports from their advance scouts following Atlanta. Looks like they might be useful in a week or so.