Growing up, my dad was the main influence in my love of baseball, but my mom was always around for diamond days too. She came to many of the games (including mine), and playfully ribbed my dad and I with the fact that she technically grew up as a Cubs fan (she rebelled against her White Sox family.) She would always sing, “root root root for the Cubbies,” and wear blue when we went to games at Busch. I always booed her. I wonder what people thought of me, the elementary school kid booing his mom.
Whenever I write about my family and my love of baseball together, it’s almost always about my dad. But my mom definitely played a role. I think part of a mom’s job is identifying the things their kids are passionate about and encouraging them in said passions. My mom was always great at that, especially when it came to baseball. I love her for many reasons, but that one sticks out today.
Happy Mother’s Day, y’all!
The Cardinals started their first game off a sterling 13-inning, one-run performance by striking out twice (against a pitcher with <20% strikeout percentage!) and lazily popping out. I’m sure they’re just getting warmed up. It’s fine.
Adam Wainwright is back from the DL… and he’s sporting a new arm angle. Sure, OK, we’ll see how it plays:
- Topped out with an 89 mile per hour fastball (hmmm…)
- Walked two batters and gave up a bloop hit (ok, ok…)
- Threw 33 pitches (I see…)
So yeah, even though he got out of it with another ground ball, I wasn’t feeling too confident.
Ozuna smoked a 105 mile per hour line drive into left field, but got a unlucky when the ball bounced right to Cordero who held him to a single. That play got extra unlucky when Gyorko grounded right to the shortstop for an easy double play. The early makings of some offense is quickly snuffed by the guy we’ve been most accustomed to crushing in San Diego.
Wainwright promptly walked Galvis on four pitches and then gave up a single off the bat of Margot at *double-checks notes* 52 miles an hour. Huh. I don’t begrudge Wainwright for having a hard go of it this late in his career, but if he’s going to have any sort of success, he’ll need at least a modicum of luck. That single was the very antithesis of luck.
Thankfully, Wainwright was able to coax a soft double play ball out of Janikowski. Hopefully, we’re only destined for one more inning of this painfully limited version of Waino before we can finally start talking about a better role for him moving forward.
Carson Kelly! The man, the myth, the legend singled up the middle before Kolten took his place on a fielder’s choice. Hopefully, this allows Kelly to relax a little bit and settle in for the next month. Wong would take second after being picked off, but to no avail as Tommy Pham grounded out to third. The Cardinals have now scored one run in the past 19 innings and none in the past 10.
OK, time to address the Wainwright thing: Adam Wainwright is one of my favorite Cardinals of all time. I was just old enough to remember the trade that brought him to St. Louis. I watched him close out the 2006 World Series. I have a signed jersey of his. When I was playing ball in high school, I threw my curve ball like he threw his, with the middle finger up. It makes me enormously sad to see Wainwright’s career coming to a close.
But as sad as I am about Wainwright being in the twilight of his career, I’m even madder about the way Mike Matheny and the FO have handled it. Today’s start was embarrassing for Waino. Sure he’s, “tinkered,” with his brand new arm slot, but how in the world can you responsibly let him put him back on the mound after only one rehab start with it? And if he’s having to use a new arm slot just to pitch without pain, why is he even pitching at this point?
Wainwright ended his day with six walks in two and a third innings pitched. John Gant was able to limit the baseball damage to one more run than Wainwright gave up, but the emotional damage (to me!) is already done.
Mike Matheny: Quit your job.
John Mozeliak, Mike Girsch: If he won’t go himself, drag him out of the visiting manager’s office and put him on a separate plane back to St. Louis. Have some respect for yourselves, your fans, and the players you care so much about, “protecting.” And if you don’t do that, just go ahead and stay in San Diego.
Marcell Ozuna hit another hard single, but the Cardinals failed to get another ball out of the infield. 11 innings.
The Padres scored two more runs while Al and Dan sounded incredibly out of touch about the quality of life minor league players enjoy in a perpetual state of uncertainty.
In case you couldn’t tell, this game is pissing me off.
DeJong and Wong struck out and Kelly hit a weak grounder to third. 12 innings.
Other than a harmless single, Gant got through his third inning of work with no issues.
Another broadcast note here: Al and Dan mentioned that Rick Ankiel and Mitch Harris both have movies in the works on their lives. I can’t imagine there’s a huge market for either of those movies as big-time studio flicks, but I’d definitely see an Ankiel movie. I’m thinking Chris Pine would be the best choice. Thoughts?
Oh shoot, things are happening while I write! Pham drew a leadoff walk to start the inning before Harrison Bader broke the 12 inning scoreless streak with a very Petco Park triple into right-center. Martinez promptly singled Bader in, bringing up Ozuna who had two hard singles to this point. Instead of hitting a monster dinger like I had prophetically written, he grounded into a double play. I hate having to erase things I’ve already written. But hey! Runs!
Since the Cardinals offense went back to being catatonic this inning, I want to quickly address Eric Hosmer’s neat little scoop on the Jedd Gyorko ground ball.
Eric Hosmer is a fine baseball player. He’s a World Series champion who played a major role in bringing the trophy back to Kansas City in 2015. And he got majorly paid this offseason. More power to him.
However, the praise of Hosmer as a franchise cornerstone, Gold Glove type first baseman bugs me. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because a lot of friends who are Royals fans have talked him up the past few years. Maybe it’s because I’m bitter about last night. Probably the latter. Hosmer gets praised for a lot of things: his leadership, his bat, and most emphatically, his defense. The thing is though? Hosmer is not a good defender. His main defensive value comes from his ability to scoop the ball like he did against Gyorko. But as a first baseman, his defensive value is already lower than other positions. But even with that being true, Hosmer has had two seasons in his seven year career where he’s had a positive UZR/150. His highest was a 2.7 back in 2013. This year, he’s already at -1.9.
Is he a fine hitter? Sure! He’s actually starting to hit for more power, which is a weird thing to type about Eric Hosmer, but I digress. There’s just something about admonishing Hosmer as this defensive standard at first base that annoys me.
Oh, yeah, the game. The Padres went quietly this inning too.
Clayton Richard had 10 strikeouts after the Cardinals half inning.
That’s the same guy I mentioned earlier who’s sporting a below 20% strikeout percentage this season. Ugh.
At this point, I kind of forgot this was still a 2-run game. I say this because Matt Bowman was brought in, forcing me to almost instinctively give up. He gave up a leadoff double to Galvis who eventually scored, so my desire to give up grew..
But it isn’t taking over after an oppo dinger from Harrison Bader!
I love Dexter Fowler, but man… Bader sure looks like he’d benefit from regular playing time.
Martinez walked, moved to second on an Ozuna ground out and to third on a past ball on Gyorko’s walk. This gave Paul DeJong the prime chance to avoid the Golden Sombrero. Which he did by failing to avoid an errant fast ball from Brad Hand. Carson Kelly looked overmatched against a tired Hand, striking out swinging leaving the game up in the hands of Kolten Wong.
He struck out looking. Twelve strikeouts on the day for the birds.
Padres win 5-3
- I don’t need to say anything else about Wainwright. I’ll have a piece up later this week about Wainwright’s potential future in the bullpen and why having high hopes for that future may not be so smart.
- Abysmal day for spots five through nine in the lineup. 1-17 with nine strikeouts.
- Nice series for Ozuna who went 7-19 with only two strikeouts. It’d be nice to see him consistently hitting for more power, but he’s at least hitting the ball well.
- I thought Gant actually looked pretty good. He seemed to be spotting the ball well and he did a decent job limiting all the damage done by
Wainwrighthis manager. He’s not going to jump Flaherty or Reyes for that fifth starter’s spot, but he sure looks like he could be a useful fifth starter in a lot of major league rotations.
- Fire Mike Matheny.