The new extra inning rule in Major League Baseball has had an impact on every team in the league, but how has it impacted the St. Louis Cardinals? “Free baseball” has been a lot different as runners now start on second base and can the game can be won without a single hit in the inning.
No matter your thoughts on the (terrible) extra inning rule, it has sped up games, preserved bullpen arms and has all fans on the edge of their seats during every pitch after the ninth. St. Louis has played eight extra inning games in 2022 and has a record of 5-3 in those games. Let’s look at some of the key extra inning games from this season.
Three Extra Inning Games Against the Cubs
When the NL Central rivals face off, it always seems like the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals will have a tightly contested game. Out of the Cardinals eight extra inning games, three have come against the pesky Cubs. St. Louis won the first two contests, then fell in the more recent one.
In the unique five-game series between the foes in June, the final two games went to extras. Andre Pallante allowed one earned-run through 4.0 innings but walked four batters, Drew Verhagen struggled allowing two runs in 1.1 IP, then the all star Ryan Helsey and Giovanny Gallegos shut it down at the end.
Rookie sensation Brendan Donovan was the hero for the Cardinals on the road, as he went 3-5 with 4 RBIs including his two-run double in the 10th inning to take 7-4 win at Wrigley Field.
Less than 24 hours later, we had a similar result on Sunday Night Baseball. It was a rocky start for St. Louis through four innings as they trailed 2-0, but they found some offense, tied the game up in the ninth, and then we enjoyed another game that went to extras.
It was a two-man showing from the Cardinals pitching staff, headed by Adam Wainwright’s 7.0 IP, nine hits and two earned-runs. The story of the game may have been Genesis Cabrera who came in relief, throwing 4.0 IP, only allowing two hits, one run and sitting down five batters with strikeouts as he earned the win.
Donovan, Harrison Bader and Paul Goldschmidt each had two hits, but the biggest hit of the night was Juan Yepez’ single to lead off the 11th inning giving the Cardinals a one-run advantage. Donovan continued his heroics driving in Yepez as St. Louis won the game 5-3 and won the series.
At the end of the month, the third extra inning game did not go in the favor of the Cardinals, and well, nothing went right for St. Louis. The Redbirds started off leading 5-0 and ended up losing. Not only did we lose, but Jack Flaherty exited the game with an injury and has not pitched since.
Nick Wittgreen allowed four runs in just one inning pitched when he came in to relieve Flaherty in the third. It all went downhill from there. Willson Contreras hit the go-ahead run in the 10th in front of a nearly sold-out Busch Stadium, as the Cubs won 6-5 scoring six unanswered runs.
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Extra Inning Game Number 8
The most recent extra inning game for the St. Louis Cardinals was a fun one. On July 7, in the final game of the series at Truist Park, the Cardinals defeated the Atlanta Braves in 11 innings, 3-2.
I was in attendance, for this Thursday night thriller, and it was electric. Spencer Strider was nasty on the mound, making history striking out 12, while fellow rookie Matthew Liberatore was no slouch himself on the hill. He threw four scoreless, and pitchers duel went into extra innings with a 1-1 tie.
This game had a huge fireworks show at the end of the game, because weather cancelled them on the 4th, so the entire crowd stuck around to witness Cardinal magic. If you want to know the outcome of the game, I have two words for you: Dylan Carlson.
Carlson was the hero, making a game-saving catch in the bottom of the ninth. He also went 3-3 entering the game as a pinch-hitter with the game-winning RBI in the 11th. After the Cardinals sent the home fans home upset, we watched a great firework show, as the Cardinals moved to 5-3 in games played past the ninth inning. The extra inning rule needs to be changed, but at least the Cardinals are doing well.