MILWAUKEE — It took two monster swings from rookie Nolan Gorman to put just enough distance between the Cardinals and Milwaukee for the visitors to have a chance to display the best they can get out of their bullpen.
On his way to four hits and four RBIs, Gorman hit two homers — one to break a tie and the other to extend the Cardinals’ lead. His 428-foot smash to the scoreboard in center field at American Family Field broke a 2-2 tie and paved the way for the Cardinals to get as many outs as possible from their relief tandem, Giovanny Gallegos and Ryan Helsley. The Cardinals’ closest combo had the last 12 strikeouts in a 6-2 win Tuesday.
The win tied the Cardinals for first place in the NL Central, tied with Milwaukee, at 39-31.
Before Gorman made headlines and relievers were in the limelight, the stage was set for Jack Flaherty to take a big step forward after his injury. He stalled. The right-hander struggled to maintain innings and innings control, ending up walking five shufflers and having to tiptoe through long innings just to keep Milwaukee from capitalizing on his gifts. Flaherty completed three innings and was seen in the dugout running things up in apparent frustration.
People also read…
Rookie Zack Thompson picked up his first major league victory and was the first reliever in the void. He started the six scoreless innings from the bullpen with 1 2/3 in immediate relief from Flaherty. As the bullpen took over the game, Gorman’s second homer doubled the Cardinals’ lead, and his eighth-inning RBI single punctuated his game by tying a career high for RBIs and RBIs. hits, marks set earlier this season against Milwaukee.
He is the 12th Cardinal to have a two-home run game in his first 29 games, and he is the first Cardinal to do so since Albert Pujols in 2001.
Flaherty seeks control to return
In addition to giving his right shoulder time to work out the irritation that has limited his throws all winter, one of the main goals of Flaherty’s rehabilitation over the past three months has been to restore the mechanics that he had before last year’s series of injuries. Flaherty and the Cardinals felt that the oblique tension that halted his season a year ago also led to an erosion of his delivery, whether to protect against pain or simply a series of worsening changes over time. .
A working theory was that the change contributed to the irritation.
“We thought if we cleaned that up,” Flaherty said earlier this season, “a lot of that would go away. … It’s been a work in progress to refine some things.
Quite encouraged by the results in his rehab starts, Flaherty returned to the majors and on Tuesday, in his second start this season for the Cardinals, he had innings where it looked like he was still looking for that consistent performance. He sometimes veered to the first base side and went more straight, short to the plate other times. The results were equally inconsistent.
Of his 71 pitches, more than half (36) were balls.
Five pitches into the tee, Flaherty walked a batter. Nine pitches and he had allowed a two-run homer. He walked the third batter of the game on four pitches. Two of the game’s first three brewers walked and seven of eight pitches that missed the strike zone were fastballs. Rowdy Tellez had two plate appearances against Flaherty and saw seven pitches before Flaherty got a pitch in the strike zone. Tellez walked twice – in nine pitches, in total.
Flaherty was able to downplay the trouble he caused at a baseball stadium that has been inhospitable to him in the past. In seven previous starts at American Family Field (formerly Miller Park), Flaherty had a 5.82 ERA. Of the three walks he walked in the first inning, only one scored. The Brewers scored it for two hits in the second inning, but neither of those baserunners scored. In the third, Flaherty walked the first two batters of the inning, and yet the Brewers did nothing with that giveaway. Flaherty’s lone strikeout helped him keep the Brewers two runs on the home run and nothing else.
It took 26 of Flaherty’s 71 pitches to finish the first inning. He had nine outs of 16 batters faced and finished with five walks.
Cardinals present their version of decisive relief
The Brewers were lucky enough to use arguably baseball’s best one-two right-left combo to hold a 2-0 shutout Monday night. Devin Williams, the St. Louis native with the otherworldly change, pitched the eighth, and Josh Hader, the game’s longtime dominant southpaw, earned a 20th save in the ninth. Tuesday, it was the Cardinals’ turn to show their end-of-inning tandem.
The Brewers have established their dominance.
The Cardinals counter by developing versatility — and length.
What the Brewers duo did for two innings on Monday, the Cardinals’ version did for four innings on Tuesday. Gallegos, the team closest to the start this season, took control of the game in the sixth inning. He struck out all six batters he faced, including two with fly balls caught on the right-field warning lane. When the middle of the Brewers order came in the eighth, Helsley ran into him and threw a perfect eighth. Their innings could switch by Thursday and they could go back to one-inning or two-batter assignments — if there’s a lead to hold.
Call him “probably” Gorman
There was no doubt when rookie Gorman connected in the fourth inning for the home run that broke a 2-2 tie. There haven’t been any of his tours yet.
Not even the second he hit on Tuesday night.
The top power prospect at nearly every level he’s played, from prep baseball in Arizona to the Class AAA game in Memphis, Gorman came to the majors with a long-drive reputation. He had yet to hit a home run that traveled less than 400 feet until he started the seventh inning Tuesday with his second homer of the night. He traveled 396 feet. As a teammate recently said, “When there’s one, there’s none.” And it’s really gone.
Gorman’s first home run in Milwaukee went immediately to center and bounced off the batter’s eye about 428 feet from home plate. At Fenway Park over the weekend, Gorman hit another full-center homer that traveled 440 feet.
Assistant batting coach Turner Ward said he only remembers seeing one ball hit as far into Fenway’s outfield seats as Gorman’s.
And it wasn’t even his longest home run – he has a blast of 449 feet.
Gorman’s first five homers would have left all majors stadiums, according to Baseball Savant. He’s averaging 428.8 feet per homer on those five, and among hitters with at least five home runs this season, which put his average yardage third in the majors, behind Ronald Acuna Jr. (436.1 feet). ) and Jesus Sanchez (430.0 feet). As his second homer of the night landed in the Cardinals’ bullpen, Gorman’s average distances dwindled as the Cardinals’ lead grew.
Exchange of points in extended first innings
Knowing that each team would likely have their bullpen carry at least half of Tuesday’s game, the first inning dragged on long enough to suggest it could be earlier than expected and the game could drag later in the heat. of the evening. Both starters rode a long first inning to get to the same spot – tied 2-2 in the second.
The Cardinals hosted Chi Chi Gonzalez in the National League Central with three hits in the first inning, including a double on the third base line by Nolan Arenado. The Cardinals took a 2-0 lead on Juan Yepez’s RBI field and Gorman’s RBI single. Gonzalez faced six batters and after getting one out on his first pitch, he needed 19 to get the other two. Flaherty tied it as he faced six batters, although Flaherty toppled the Brewers offense with three walks. One scored. Adames’ two-run homer on Flaherty’s ninth pitch tied the game at 2-2.