Holy Shildt, game 4 was fun, huh? Just when it looked like it was going to be a funeral and an embarrassing end to the Cardinals season, Yadi delivered not one but two more signature moments for what turned into “Turn Back the Clock Week” here in St. Louis.
As the series shifts back to Atlanta and the Waino and Yadi statues begin being erected outside of Busch Stadium, Jack Flaherty will politely remind the two veterans that the kids can play too. Jack was good in game 2, but not as good as he’ll be in game 5. Game 2 was about exposing him to postseason baseball and hopefully stealing another win down in Atlanta. Game 5 is about vengeance. It’s no longer about the nerves and the hype, it’s about taking those stupid tomahawks out of the hands of Braves fans and respectfully shoving them down their throats. And that’s exactly what’s going to happen.
Here is the complete list of reasons why the Cardinals will win game 5:
1. Our really, really bad offense looked a little less bad at the end of game 4. Despite going hitless, Dexter Fowler stung the ball a few times and took much better at-bats than he had all series long. Even though he struck out in his last at-bat, he worked a full count and almost ended the game on a line drive that just barely went foul. Kolten Wong hit a HUGE double to lead off the bottom of the 10th. Tommy Edman had two big hits. Paul DeJong looked like he knew how to hold a bat again and he even hit the ball decently hard. Yadi is still clutch, and Goldy and Ozuna are still mashing.
2. The Braves struggled to drive in runs at the end of game 4 and they’re only going to get worse. Freddie Freeman has not looked good at the plate this whole series; he’s 2 for 12 in the series and went 0 for 5 in game 4 with 3 strikeouts. If you take Acuna and Swanson out of the picture, here are the averages of the Braves 2 through 7 hitters this series: .250, .125, .133, .176, .111, and .154. Yikes. The Cardinals obviously have not hit well this series but at least they’re getting production from the middle of their order.
3. If the Yadfather is confident, then everyone is confident… and confidence is fuel. Game 4 ended with Yadier Molina slinging his bat into right field, mocking Acuna by doing the throat slash, and being declared by his teammate, Matt Carpenter, to be the one guy in St. Louis that could get away with murder. Yadi is bigger than the Arch, he’s bigger than toasted ravs, and gosh dang it he’s bigger than the Atlanta stinkin’ Braves who haven’t won a playoff series since 2001. The last Cardinal to ever wear the number 4 just lit a fire under this Cardinals team that smells a lot like trouble for the Braves.
4 (except this is actually the main reason). Jack Flaherty is pitching. You may get lucky and beat Jack Flaherty once if the Cardinals don’t hit, but nobody beats Jack Flaherty twice. The only problem with Jack is that not only does he shut down opposing offenses, but he shuts down ours as well. Aside from the 9 runs the Cardinals scored in game 162, the support for the poor man has been far from adequate. Luckily, we’re about to see Jack take it to yet another level and there’s a good chance one or two runs is all he will need. Thankfully, Marcell can take care of that on his own.
5. Flaherty is pitching which means there’s no possible way he can pinch run.
End of list.
This has been a very fun series but I’m done with it. I’m done with Acuna, I’m done with Donaldson’s hair, I’m done with Keuchel’s beard, and I’m done with the tomahawk chop. The Braves have a streak of 18 years without winning a playoff series and we’re not going to be there when it ends. Instead, we’re going to find out if the visiting clubhouse of their shiny new stadium is a good place for a party. I’m sure it’ll be fine.