Jack Flaherty came up today, in a move that seemed a couple weeks overdue. He faces off against one of his fellow Exciting Young Arms, Jose Berrios, as the Cardinals look to rebound from their San Diego split and the lackluster games that preceded it (including the 0-2 miniseries against the Twins!). Lineups look like this:
Things started off as a pitcher’s duel, with Berrios and Flaherty trading zeroes through the top of the sixth, except that one time. You know, the time in the top of the third, when Harrison Bader singled to center, and then advanced on a 1-3 groundout, and then scored on a Carson Kelly single? Yeah, that time. So a pitcher’s duel for the most part, with the Cardinals leading 1-0.
Berrios, for his part, struck a lot of guys out, and only gave up the two singles. Jose Martinez hammered one to the wall in the top of the 6th that tied Max Kepler up as he went back for it, but Kepler recovered in time to make an awkward catch. Flaherty played more of a contact artist game, striking out 3 and scattering a single and a walk across his first five frames.
Things sort of fell apart in the bottom of the 6th. Jack was laboring a bit at this point. He battled backup catcher Bobby Wilson through multiple fouls before inducing a popout for his first out. Then he ran Joe Mauer up to a 3-0 count before coming back with a couple of called strikes, then giving up some hard contact that ended life as a groundout with a little help from DeJong. Brian Dozier hammered a full count fourseamer into the ground, and it got to DeJong slowly enough that Dozier beat it out for a single.
Matheny elected to stick with his guy, giving Flaherty a shot at finishing the inning. Eddie Rosario singled, making much better contact than Flaherty had given up to that point on a pretty meaty pitch, and putting Dozier at third. Matheny stuck with Flaherty a little more, and Flaherty gave up an RBI single to Eduardo Escobar, right back up the middle. Flaherty’s night was over, and the score was tied 1-1.
Brett Cecil got the last out of the 6th, then came back out for the 7th and promptly gave up a double to Logan Morrison. Bader looked like he lost it at a point, and it bounced off of the base of the wall as LoMo cruised around first. Byron Buxton showed bunt and missed, then showed bunt and laid it down. Gregerson took it and aired it out into right field, scoring LoMo on the error and giving the speedy Buxton second base. Bobby Wilson hit a pretty baffling homer – it wasn’t that hard hit, and it was on a pretty low angle; statcast gave it a 36% hit probability, but it went over the wall comfortably – and just like that, the loss was indisputably not Mike Matheny’s fault. Twins up 4-1.
And the Twins would hold that lead. Berrios was removed from the game in the top of the 8th, after hitting Kolten Wong with a pitch. Addison Reed struck out Greg Garcia and Tommy Pham, then ageless wonder Fernando Rodney closed things out. Twins win, 4-1.
- While the outcome was disappointing, Flaherty looked good for the first five innings or so. His game score was 62, after giving up 5 hits and a walk over 5.2 innings.
- The kicker on this loss was that we managed to scrape together a run against Berrios, who was throwing smoke all night, only to cough it up in the ugliest way possible – first with BABIPs against Flaherty, and then with the double-error-dinger from the catcher version of Pete Kozma. Berrios was a buzzsaw, going 7 innings with 2 hits and a walk against 10 Ks. When you score on that guy and you’ve got 5 scoreless and a well-rested, expensive bullpen, you really want to put up more of a fight on coughing up the lead.
- How is Fernando Rodney still employed? Guy’s gotta be like, 50.
Tune in tomorrow night as your favorite pitcher and mine, Miles Mikolas, takes on old friend and Hump Day aficionado Lance Lynn. Tomorrow’s is a day game, kicking off at 12:10 CDT.
Hey Lance, what day is it?