Following the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Friday night, starting pitcher Miles Mikolas was asked what kind of effect the atmosphere of a packed house at Busch Stadium had on him.
“Friday night, division rivalry–if you don’t get pumped up for these games, somebody better check your pulse for that,” answered Mikolas. That said, a couple hours before the game, the right-hander was calmly seated on a couch in the clubhouse working on a crossword puzzle as teammates and media buzzed around.
“A lot of that for me probably started yesterday,” he explained. “I had a great off-day with my family. My daughter took a really long nap, so I got to take a nap. I had a great morning with them this morning. Being in the states and being able to have that time with my family, I think really relaxes me and just allows me to go out there and have fun.”
Mikolas has not been fun for the opposition thus far, he has not walked a batter in his last 21.0 innings and this was the fourth consecutive game he delivered at least 7.0 innings for the Cardinals.
“We get together before the games, Yadi and I are on the same page–whatever he puts down, I do my best to get it to him,” said Mikolas. “We make adjustments in game. How guys react to certain pitches. How they take and how they swing at some stuff, what they might be trying to do in this particular game or given the situation–runners on base, no one on base, kind of what they’re trying to do. You make those little adjustments in game. When you’ve got a great defense behind you, I think it’s easy to make those adjustments and know that it’s okay for them to put it in play because the defense is going to be backing you up.”
–Reliever Dominic Leone entered the game after Mikolas allowed a double to lead-off the 8th inning. However, Leone never threw an official pitch as he left the game with cramping in his right biceps after throwing only two warm-up pitches.
“It’s a little bit better right now,” he said postgame after having already received some treatment. “From what we’ve done so far, it’s been all good…it just kind of balled up on me and cramped up.”
The sensation occurred on the first two warm-up pitches Leone threw. It was the first time he had ever experienced that kind of feeling in his biceps.
“The good news was there wasn’t anything structural they saw on the initial test,” said Mike Matheny. “They’ll continue to look at him, but when you see that kind of reaction and he’s grabbing towards the middle of his arm, you think the worst. So it was good news, but we still don’t know exactly what we’re dealing with. Hopefully, have a better idea tomorrow.”
The appearance was a team-leading 16th of the season for Leone, who last threw 0.1 innings against the White Sox on Wednesday.
“We’re going to treat it day to day,” said Leone. “But again it’s just something that felt kind of like a cramp at extension and something I really didn’t want to mess with.”
Luke Gregerson came on to relieve Leone and retired both batters he faced to end the inning.
The 9th inning belonged to Bud Norris, who allowed a pair of runs but recorded the final out for his 7th save of the season.
“That’s it, the job got done,” said Norris. “They gave me three to work with, I gave up two–no big deal. I still have to make a big pitch to get Bryant to get out of it. Executed my 0-2 fastball the way I wanted to. I made some other mistakes in that inning that they kind of hit. I wasn’t my sharpest or the most effective way to get it done, but as I’m learning and what I’ve talked about, it’s about winning this game and getting the save and locking that win for us and not playing extra innings. I’ll take it and get the job done.”
–Tommy Pham delivered all of the Cardinals offense, belting a 412 foot home run over the Chicago bullpen in the 2nd inning with two men on. It was his fifth homer of the season.
photo credit: Joe Puetz-USA TODAY Sports