The St. Louis Cardinals’ Monday night victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates should have been cause for celebration.
But the ugly collision that resulted in rookie outfielder Stephen Piscotty being taken off the field in a neck brace and on a backboard left Redbirds players and fans shaken.
Fortunately, the early reports indicate that Piscotty has no broken bones or serious injuries. So we can all breathe a sigh of relief.
The victory was hugely important for the Cardinals.
In a game that seemed like a playoff contest in every way, The Redbirds broke a scoreless tie in the top of the ninth and hung on by their fingernails in the bottom of the inning to reduce their magic number to two.
A loss would have given the Pirates, winners of eight of their previous nine games, a huge lift in their effort to catch St. Louis. Now the Cardianals can clinch the NL Central Division crown and avoid a wildcard game berth with one more win in this series.
While the victory was a major relief, there has to be concern about closer Trevor Rosenthal who had another shaky outing following his inability to defend a 3-1 lead Sunday against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Rosenthal gave up a lead-off walk with a three-run advantage Monday night then surrendered a line drive base hit to right. He struck out Neil Walker after a long battle and then retired Francisco Cervelli and Aramis Ramirez on line outs that, fortunately, were hit right at St. Louis defenders.
In his last three outings, Rosenthal has allowed six hits, two walks and hit a batter to allow 5 runs over two innings of work. He’s allowed at least one hit in six of his last seven outings and has allowed multiple hits in three of the last four.
It would be great if the Birds could win tonight, close out the division race and give themselves a week to try to get healthy before the division series starts.
If Piscotty doesn’t have any broken bones, it’s at least possibly he could recover in time to play. Matt Holliday, Matt Adams and Randall Grichuk could collect a few more at-bats as needed not as dictated by the game situation.
I know some people believe it’s better to push all the way to the end so a team keeps its edge. But the Cardinals are so beaten up by injuries that they could sure use a break to regroup.
On a final note, I am once again shocked by the hate some alleged Cardinals fans have for Jon Jay.
Last night on social media people were actually complaining because they didn’t care for the tone of Jay’s celebration after he collected the game-winning hit.
Jay clapped his hands vigorously then turned to display his uniform number to his teammates, pointing toward the back of his jersey.
Please allow me to translate: Jay, a .295 hitter coming into this season who has collected more than his share of big hits for St. Louis, has struggled this year thanks to a wrist injury. His gesture was his way of pointing out to his team “Yes, it was me. Don’t give up on me. I’m ready to contribute.”
I don’t care for the choreographed garbage some teams do every time they get a hit. But if we’re going to suck every last bit of emotion out of the game, that’s the point of watching? It was obvious Jay was pumped up and being genuine.
Some called for Jay to be released and others for him to be banished from the playoffs because of it.
I don’t know, if Piscotty is healthy, if Jay will make the playoff roster. But I’m sure glad cooler heads actually make those decisions.