After yesterday’s utterly forgettable performance against the Twins, the Cardinals tried to salvage a split today before the off-day tomorrow. The theory was that Carlos Martinez, being better than John Gant, might fare better against Twins batsmen, while Jake Odorizzi, being a more well-known mediocre quantity than Fernando Romero, might surrender a bunch of dingers to the home team. The concept was good – So far this year, the Cardinals and Twins are at team wRC+ of 97 and 98 respectively, and the Twins don’t get their usual DH bump to their offense. And even using xFIP to give Odorizzi the benefit of the doubt on his homeritis, Martinez has a full run on him this year, 4.00 to Jake’s 5.05. While none of this is predictive, it looked pretty good for us, is all I’m saying.
The lineups were set:
So the Cardinals are missing Yadi (wRC+ 103, RoS 88), Pham (wRC+ 172, RoS 121), and Gyorko (wRC+ 197, RoS 112), but I mean, it’s the Twins, right? Right?!
As my grandfather was fond of pointing out, “there’s concept, and then there’s reality.” The reality of today’s ballgame was that it sucked, and we sucked, and if everything could just go back to the way it felt Sunday night, that’d be great, thanks.
Things got off to a nice start, filling the hometown faithful with false hope. Martinez spent 9 pitches in the top of the first, and the other Martinez smashed a homer to straightaway centerfield to give the Birds an early 1-0 lead. Martinez brings the heat, Martinez brings the pain. Martinez & Martinez. These guys ought to start a cop show or something.
Jose Martinez’s homer marked the last time I’d smile in this game. The Twins tied things up in the top of the second, taking advantage of a single, walk, and HBP in succession to score Eddie Rosario on a Ehire Adrianza (who?) sac fly to center. Greg Garcia walked and tried to steal in the bottom of the frame, but he was caught. I don’t know if stealing is bad in baseball, but we are bad at stealing.
The Twins scored again in the fourth, this time on a dying quail to center (single), a 4-pitch walk to Robbie Grossman, and a single and fielding error by Marcell Ozuna. The Twins scored again in the fifth (E5, flyout, popout, E3, Robbie Grossman double), pushing the score to 4-1 Twins. The Twins scored again in the sixth, now facing Sam Tuivailala, on a single, stolen base, and a single. The Twins scored again in the seventh, now facing Tyler Lyons, on a double and a dinger.
The Cardinals did not score again. They mustered one more hit the whole game, and walked twice.
Carlos Martinez’s line: 5 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 2 K, 4 R, 2 ER.
Jake Odorizzi’s line: 5 IP, 2 H, 1 HR, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 ER.
In sum, the hitting stunk, the pitching stunk, and the defense stunk. The lineup stunk. The injuries to Yadi, Pham, Norris, and Leone stink. This set against the Twins stunk. Let’s put this behind us and never speak of it again, okay?
There is no player of the game. Players of the game are for winners.
Off-day tomorrow. Thursday kicks off a West Coast road trip against the Padres and their endless supply of whimsically named youngsters. Miles Mikolas is set to face off against Jordan Lyles, who the Padres are plucking from the ‘pen. Start time is late–9:10 CDT–so make sure to get an afternoon nap if you want to catch the beginning of the next winning streak!