Has anybody here seen my old friend Yadier,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He called a lot of ballgames, but it seems his groin was hit,
But I just looked around and he’s gone.
Has anybody here seen my old friend Paul,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He hit a lot of home runs, but it seems his finger broke
But I just looked around and he’s gone.
Has anybody here seen my old friend Carlos,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He K’d a lot of batters, but it seems he strained his lat,
But I just looked around and he’s gone.
Didn’t you love to watch them play ball?
Didn’t they try to win some games for you and me?
And we’ll be first,
Someday soon it’s gonna be one day.
Has anybody here seen my old friend Adam?
Tell me where he took the ball.
I thought I saw him walkin’ up over the mound,
With Yadier, Carlos, and Paul.

The Game

The Cardinals start play today with 10 (!) players on the disabled list, included their ace starting pitcher, Carlos Martinez, and two starting position players, Yadier Molina and Paul DeJong. The team called up Carson Kelly after Molina went down, and Kelly promptly busted his hamstring. It has been a rough couple of weeks for the boys in red, going 4-6 in their last 10 games. After a disappointing inability to come back on Thursday, the Cardinals beat up on the Phillies yesterday and look to get a winning streak going.

John Gant took the mound for the Redbirds, getting his second start of the season. The Cardinals originally called him up from AAA for a spot start in place of Adam Wainwright, and he stayed with the big club after Carlos Martinez’s injury.

Things started off rocky for Gant, though the fault was not entirely his own. In the first, backup shortstop Jedd Gyorko botched a sure ground ball out, throwing the ball past Jose Martinez and allowing the runner to reach base. He later scored on a two-out single by Carlos Santana. 1-0 Phillies.

More runs for the bad guys in the third – after walking Cesar Hernandez, Gant allowed a home run to Odubal Herrera. 3-0 Phillies.

I might not be too concerned at this point, but the Cardinals’ offense is looking pretty lifeless, getting no-hit by Zach Eflin (whose name I will always read as Zach Efron) through three innings.

Less than a minute after I typed the sentence above, Tommy Pham led off the bottom of the fourth with a base hit. JINX ACCOMPLISHED. Pham stole second base (the Phillies challenged the safe call, but lost), and Matt Carpenter followed with a walk. Jose Martinez grounded to Maikel Franco at third base. He got Pham on the force out, but could not complete the double play. Martinez was originally called out, but the Cardinals challenged and the call was overturned. It was pretty fun to smoke the Phillies on both challenges this inning. Marcell Ozuna worked the count full before hitting a ground ball to the second baseman. What looked to be a sure out at second and a potential inning-ending double play was neither. An error on the throw to second base resulted in no outs and a run for the Cardinals. Jedd Gyorko immediately followed with a base hit, scoring Martinez and Ozuna. Tie game, 3-3!

With two on and two out in the fourth, the backup to the backup backup catcher, Steven Baron, came to bat. Tim McCarver postulated that if Baron got a hit, that might go a long way in the decision whether to keep him on the roster. Unless Kelly and Molina are out for the season, I don’t see a world where that happens. Sorry, Steve.

Gant started the fifth with a strikeout, but after allowing an infield hit, a single, and a walk, his day was over. Brett Cecil came on in relief and got a ground ball from the next hitter. It could have been two, but after getting the out at second, Gyorko made a poor throw to Martinez at first – his second error of the day. This allowed two runs to score. 5-3 Phillies. Three of the Phillies’ five runs were unearned, all attributable to Gyorko’s errors. Poo.

The Cardinals got one back in the bottom of the inning. Dexter Fowler led off with a pinch-hit double, advanced to third on a fly ball by Pham, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jose Martinez. With one on and two out, dark clouds came rolling in quickly and the umpires stopped the game. The grounds crew started unrolling the tarp, and for some reason, Gabe Kapler flipped out. It was getting fairly heated between him and the home plate umpire, and about 30 seconds after the crew got the tarp down, there was torrential downpour at the stadium.

[Gabe, you may be hot, but you look silly right about now. 40ish-minute rain delay ensues.]

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Tyler O’Neill hit a two-out solo home run to tie the game, 5-5. It was his first major league home run, and as he was getting a curtain call, Baron followed with HIS first major league hit. Cheers for everybody!

More fun in the seventh. Tommy Pham led off with an infield hit and reached second base on the overthrow to first. Matt Carpenter followed with a double to right field, scoring Pham. 6-5 Cardinals. It looks like Carpenter is finally starting to get his bat going, just in the nick of time.

Dan and Tim suggested that Hicks should go back out for the bottom of the inning. I thought that was a terrible idea. Tim claimed that managers get “hysteria” about throwing a young pitcher two innings. I don’t think that’s true, either. I just wouldn’t press my luck with Hicks, if I were the manager.

Greg Holland came in to pitch the 8th inning on a double switch that also switched around the entire infield. Jose Martinez left the game, Carpenter went to first, Gyorko went to third, and Yairo Munoz came in to play shortstop. I like the idea of strengthening the defense late in a close game, and this is a much better configuration defensively than the group that started the game. Gyorko probably shouldn’t be the default starting shortstop. Holland got two quick outs, but unfortunately could not finish out the inning. He walked then next hitter, then allowed a two-out triple to Scott Kingery, tying the game once again. Jorge Alfaro followed with an infield hit up the middle to score the runner. Phillies lead 7-6. 

The top of the ninth inning seemed to take FOREVER, even though Bud Norris allowed no baserunners. The television broadcast launched into a lengthy discussion about pace of play and the fact that hitters are not supposed to be allowed to step out of the batters box between pitches. It was as if the more Dan and Tim talked about this, the more the Phillies hitter stepped out, and for longer. It was uncanny. I’m not sure what was more annoying – the hitters actually taking a long time, or the broadcasters droning on about it. Finally, mercifully, the half-inning ended.

I hoped the Cardinals had one more comeback in them, but sadly, they did not. The Phillies took their second win of the series. Final score: 7-6 Phillies.

Notes

  1. Matt Carpenter fielded a ground ball in the top of the fourth inning that he literally lobbed across the filed to Jose Martinez. He got the out, but it looked like he was playing long toss out there. He did something similar a few innings later. Kinda concerning, guys. Seems like his shoulder is being held together by a glob of grape jelly.
  2. Dan McLaughlin is really into Tyler O’Neill. Like, a LOT. We get it, he has muscles. Do we have to talk about it EVERY time he comes to bat? Okay, fine, maybe we do. But it would be nice if the camera guys would take a hint and give me some closeups of O’Neill. I want to see the bulging veins for myself. Is that too much to ask?
  3. Coming off a bad outing in which he allowed three runs and did not record a single out, Jordan Hicks got redemption today. Although he allowed two base runners, one hit was an infield single tapped out in front of the plate between Baron and Hicks, and one runner reached on a fielder’s choice. He hit 103 mph on the radar twice and escaped the inning with no damage done. He still does not seem to have that strikeout pitch, but he’s getting outs on weakly hit grounders, at least. 103! Twice!
  4. Greg Holland. I mean, what is going on with him? He is just not good anymore. Not sure why, but until he fixes it, he should definitely not be pitching in the 8th inning of a one-run game (or maybe even at all). I don’t understand why Mike Matheny insists on Holland being his “set up” guy. It hasn’t worked yet, and it is costing the team wins. The manager is willing to give up Jose Martinez’s bat for the sake of late inning defense, but if you throw a bad pitcher out there, it isn’t going to make a lick of difference. Holland should be cut. (Matheny should be fired, too, but I’m just focusing on realistic options right now.)
  5. These two clubs will finish off the four-game series tomorrow at Busch. First pitch is at 1:15 CT.

One thought on “Cardinals Lose Slingshot Game, 7-6

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