Lots to look forward to as Cardinals unlock keychain with Brewers | St. Louis Cardinals

Chasing a post-season slot, likely a wild berth with the Cardinals leading eight games before them, the Milwaukee Brewers have a decisive eight-game start Tuesday night when they play the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

Counting the two-game streak here, the Brewers will play eight straight games against the division’s pace setters—the Cardinals, New York Yankees and New York Mets.

On Tuesday, with their main team suffering injuries, they will use a throw-the-ball technique in a game against the Cardinal’s Jordan Montgomery. The left-hander has been one of the best bowlers in baseball since coming to St. Louis from the Yankees on August 2, and cleared the Brewers for six rounds on August 12 on his second start.

Montgomery made seven runs with the Cardinals and the team won all seven. Montgomery allowed seven runs.

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The Cardinals’ magic number for winning the Central National League title is 14. Each win over the Brewers would take two of that number.

But that’s not the only show in town this week. There’s the Albert Pujols night watch, as the former – and current – cardinal player gets closer to the 700 Homer that seemed almost unattainable two months ago.

Regardless of injury or bad weather, there is sure to be a date on Wednesday night when right-handed Cardinal Adam Wainwright and companion Yadier Molina move to the post for the 325th time as a major league battery, which would break the record set in 1975 when Mickey Lulic arrived and Bill Freehan from Detroit to 324.

Leulich, who turned 82 on Monday, is already very familiar with the Cardinal’s older fans. He was the Detroit left-hander who beat the Cardinals three times, including Game 7 against Bob Gibson in St. Louis, to win the 1968 World Championships for the Tigers. It’s a losing streak that angered the Cardinals more than the joy they experienced after the Cardinals’ second World Championship earlier this decade.

“We lost three games to one,” Lulic said. “They had to win one game and they were the world champions. And…it didn’t happen.

“I threw three whole games into that series,” Leulich said over the phone from Michigan. “This could stand, the way baseball is played today. That could go on for a long time.”

Unfamiliar launchers

There is respect, to date, for completing 324 starts with the same catcher by both Lolich and Wainwright. Nor does he know much about the other.

“You just mentioned Wainwright,” Lulich said. “Can I say: I don’t know who the hell it is. I thought[the record]was already broken. So[Wainwright]is a jar? So the next time these two start the game, it’s gone.”

“I go to ESPN occasionally and read the headlines at the bottom of the page. But I must not have noticed that these guys were so close to breaking the record that Freehan and I had.

“My wife (Joyce) told me she thinks the record has already been broken,” he added. “But I got things wrong every now and then at the age of 82.”

Wainwright admitted, “I know absolutely nothing about him or Bill Freehan. We’re in a different world.”

“You told me he won three World Championships. What was it? 1958?

“But beating Bob Gibson at Game 7 at Bush…that’s impressive.”

Behind Wainwright-Molina, the next active pair is Chicago Cubs right-hand Kyle Hendricks (now injured) battery to Willson Contreras (now injured). This tandem has 105 starts. It would take eight or nine years to catch the duo of Cardinals, assuming they both stayed at the same club and didn’t miss out on a lot of starts.

Lolich will forever be remembered as the winner of Game 7, introducing a two-day break, in 1968. Former NBA Roger Maris, who was a cardinal at the time, had said before the series that the cards don’t have to worry too much about the 31-winner Right hand Denny McClain. It was Lulish who was interested in him.

But not many know that Leulich also fired the shots.

“I was the underdog in that seventh game,” Lulic said. “There was no way I could defeat the Cardinals.”

Lolich’s father and uncle returned to Michigan, and when Lolich was announced as the start of the seventh game, they quickly flew to St. Louis. The game was on Thursday, but the older Loliches couldn’t make it back to Detroit until Sunday.

“In the batting drills — which was a waste of time for me — I was standing around the batting cage, and (general manager) Jim Campbell was sitting there in the front row. I walked in and said, ‘I want to make a deal with you,’” Leulich said. More money to make the seventh game of the world championship – that’s the kind of guy he was.

“I told him my dad and my uncle are here and they don’t have a flight to Detroit until Sunday. He said, ‘What?’ I said, ‘I’m going to win this game for you today if you let them get back on the team plane.'” Guess what? My dad and uncle went home on the plane. Team plane.

improbable scenario

Lolich was also the winner of Game 5 and the star of the hit when the Tigers stared at elimination. The Cardinals took a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning, and with one and no one out, Lulich was allowed to hit. He was not a good hitter as he would average 0.110 and 362 hits in 821 at-bats. But the Detroit team, unlike the rest of the Tigers, was shaky.

Lelich singled out Nelson Brillis, fueling a three-round run to win the match 5-3 and the Tigers never looked back. They were never late again in the series.

Wainwright laughed when this was presented to him.

“I have always told you that shooters are the best athletes on the field,” he said.

“I was surprised that he hit me,” Lulich said. “I was there in the circle on the deck and I saw Gates Brown, our #1 hitter, move into the dugout, get his racket and helmet, I thought I would be called again.

“When I was out in front, I looked back and (manager) May Smith was signaling me to go up to the board. So I went, ‘Really?’ After I threw the first ball at me, I looked at the dugout again and waved for me to stay in the hitter box. I got a base hit. Of him. Mayo was a great manager. He really knew what he was doing. I figured: Why not?

“Swing at something that flies near you.”

But Leulich faced the Brils in Game 2 in St. Louis and he had arrived. It was the only time in his 17-season career that he had major success on home soil.

I didn’t try to hit. He said. “A lot of people wondered why I was such a bad hitter. I said it was done on purpose. It was my job to be a bowler, and that’s what I paid for.

“When I hit the ball and run to first base, I would skip the bag. I wouldn’t even touch the bag. I could hurt my knee or ankle. If I’m out of play, I don’t care.

“Even while running at home, I skipped the bag and had our first base coach, Wali Musa, call me back to touch it.”

Wainwright, who has 10 home runs, has always enjoyed hitting more than Lolich. But after two bad starts, he wants to have more fun, too.

“I always like to put on a good show, especially on special days,” he said. “Not only do I want to play well, I want to be able to. The way I’ve had the last two times hasn’t really allowed me to be in the right positions to throw the pitches I need to.”

So after all these years, Wainwright and Molina as cardinals finally get to beat Mickey Lulich.

But that doesn’t make October 1968 go very far.

“I have this,” Lulich said.

Final match tickets will be on sale

Tickets for potential Cardinals in the National League and Wild Card Series will go on sale at 2 p.m. Friday.

Tickets for the three potential NL wild games and the three potential Division Series games, starting at $20, will be available at cardinals.com And by phone at 314-345-9000. All tickets will be delivered digitally via the MLB Ballpark app. Busch Stadium sales will begin at 10 a.m. Monday.

If the Cardinals win the NL Central title and, as it seems most likely, finish third as the best-record among the three first-division winners, they will host all games in a top three wild card series from October 7. 9.