As site readers may or may not know, yours truly spent last weekend in San Diego, watching the Cardinals play baseball. It was, to the shock of many, my first time ever on a plane, and only my second time leaving the Central time zone. But a confluence of three things led to me being very tired:
- The jetlag itself
- Spending four days constantly walking around San Diego and proceeding to stay out “late” (late was, like, midnight, but that’s 2 AM Central and I’m lame)
- I am in, just, absolutely terrible shape. Like, I may not look out of shape (or maybe I do, I don’t know) but it was baaaaad.
The presence of an off-day on Monday (11 hours of sleep wooooooooo) and a day game Wednesday (8 hours of sleep–that’s competent!) helped but I’m not quite as rested as I’d like to be. But I figured, hey, I’ll head home from work Friday, sit back and watch the Cardinals’ game and get to bed around 10. Reasonable adulthood.
Looks outside window at 3:30 p.m. “Oh come on you’ve got to be…”
Look, this game started at 8:50 p.m. Central, which is annoying. But I’ve got my trusted friend Diet Mountain Dew with me and I am here to deliver Hot Baseball Content to the fine readers of St. Louis Bullpen, and that is what I am going to do.
First up, let’s check out the lineup of the Philadelphia Phillies, who are the best they’ve been since 2011, when they were great (still can’t believe they didn’t win the World Series–not totally sure what happened there).
Here is what the Cardinals put out there.
Oh hey, the game is actually happening. That’s good…wait, no, if this game weren’t happening, I could go to bed. This is stupid. Anyway, whatever, let’s get the ball rolling here. The top of the Phillies order went down quietly, 1-2-3, for Cardinals starter Michael Wacha. In the bottom half, Tommy Pham walked, as he is known to do, and Matt Carpenter followed this up with a single, advancing Pham to second. And then, because baseball can sure be annoying sometimes, Jose Martinez grounded into a double play. Pham got to third, but a Marcell Ozuna ground out to the shortstop ended the inning quietly.
Things got slightly concerning in the top half, as Jorge Alfaro doubled with one out, and a Scott Kingery single put runners at the corners. Luckily, a Pedro Florimon foul out ended the inning without damage in the Phillies’ favor. The Cardinals annoyed me as a Cardinals fan by going 1-2-3, but as a sleep wanter, it could’ve been worse. Scoreless through two.
A Jake Arrieta single (?) caused some early fear leading off the inning, but a Cesar Hernandez fielder’s choice, followed by consecutive strikeouts from perhaps the two best hitters in the Phillies lineup, Rhys Hoskins and Odubel Herrera, ended the half-inning with the score still at zero apiece. And then, in the bottom half, the Cardinals offense got rolling. Francisco Pena led off with a single, because that’s apparently just a thing now, and Michael Wacha sacrifice bunted Pena over to second base. Pena scored on a Tommy Pham doubled, and a Matt Carpenter ground out made it look like a one-run inning (perfectly fine, but somewhat uninspiring) was in the works. But Jose Martinez singled, scoring Pham, and after Marcell Ozuna reached on an error, Jedd Gyorko drove both Martinez and Ozuna home on a single. Dexter Fowler walked before a Kolten Wong fly out ended the inning, but the Cardinals finished the third with a 4-0 lead, which is a cool thing.
Michael Wacha, despite a walk to Jorge Alfaro, continued to look good, allowing no further base runners as the Cardinals made it to the bottom half still with a lead. At one point, Wacha had to be examined after being hit by a comebacker, but he stayed in the game. They expanded upon that lead after Francisco Pena (?) advanced home following a passed ball; Pena had been put on base in the first place thanks to a double (??). 5-0 Cardinals through four.
Not as good for Michael Wacha! Well, at first it went really well, as he struck out the first two batters. But following a Cesar Hernandez infield single (hello, shortstop Jedd Gyorko) and a Rhys Hoskins walk, a wild pitch advanced the runners to second and third. Odubel Herrera singled, easily scoring Hernandez and, despite a great throw from Tommy Pham, also scoring Hoskins. Mercifully, Carlos Santana was incapable of black magic and the half-inning ended with the Cardinals still maintained a 5-2 lead. In the bottom half, Dexter Fowler flied out, Kolten Wong grounded out, and Francisco Pena…he what now? He hit a… a home run? Must’ve been a real wall-scraper and…oh, like, he lowkey CRUSHED it? Sure, Francisco Pena is a triple away from the cycle through five innings. Baseball is ridiculous and lovely. 6-2 Cardinals.
So Michael Wacha batted for himself in the fifth despite laboring earlier in the inning. I was fine with this, as there were two outs, nobody was on, and it wasn’t really a situation worth expending a good pinch-hitting option, so you might as well save those guys in case they come up in higher-leverage (pretty much any other) situations later. And Wacha justified Mike Matheny’s love by striking out two in a 1-2-3 inning. That’s a Madonna song. Also, I typed “Tony LaRussa” the first time through because it’s 11. Look, if any manager would ever forfeit a game in order to conserve his players to fight another day, it’s Gabe Kapler. I don’t think it’s going to happen, but I have to at least believe it is possible. In the bottom half, Tommy Pham led off with a single because he doesn’t get outs anymore, and then an attempted pickoff went awry, and Pham made it to second base. And then a passed ball got Pham to third, and the dumbest modern version of Whiteyball possible is here, baby. A Matt Carpenter single (hey, you know how we kept saying Carpenter had been getting unlucky and is still a very good hitter? AHEM!) scored Pham, bringing the lead to 7-2. And then, because Jose Martinez cares deeply about me not having to pay as close attention to the game, he hit a two-run home run. 9-2! Baseball!
John Brebbia came into the game with a 9-2 lead. Tyler O’Neill came in to left field, Greg Garcia came in to shortstop, and the Cardinals seem reasonably confident that they will win this game. Anyway, Brebbia pitched yesterday and while he induced two grounders to start the inning, Cesar Hernandez homered to right field. This would be all of the Phillies scoring, which led to CYCLE WATCH continuing with somebody called Yacksel Rios pitching for the Phillies. In the words of my esteemed STL Bullpen colleague Alex Turpin, “He sounds like a drunk Arnold Schwarzenegger saying ‘Axl Rose’.” Anyway, while we were bracing for Pena to attempt to make history, Kolten Wong hit a home run. That’s the kind of weird night we’re all having. Against all odds, Pena struck out (okay, maybe this was overdue). Tyler O’Neill got his first MLB hit. That’s neat! He’s enormous and I am afraid of him! Next, Tommy Pham got an infield single off Rios, which prompted the trainers to check on him. He stayed in and following a Matt Carpenter out, Jose Martinez drove in two with a double, delighting the 70 fans left at Busch Stadium and kinda irritating the person who volunteered to recap. Greg Garcia struck out and honestly who cares, 12-3 Cardinals.
Kinda stopped paying attention until I heard “Pedro Florimon is pitching for the Phillies.” Florirmon, whose name you may recognize from earlier in this recap, is not a pitcher. It’s objectively the right move for Gabe Kapler not to waste a reliever, and also it’s fun. Up first is Steve Baron which means WAIT WHERE IS FRANCISCO PENA? WHERE IS CYCLE WATCH? WHY AM I DOING THIS? WHO AM I YELLING AT? Florimon went 1-2-3 and in retrospect should have started as pitcher and Jake Arrieta should have started at shortstop (Arrieta got more hits than Florimon). This game is still a blowout.
Mike Mayers is pitching. With two outs, recorded quickly, I started hearing rain outside my apartment and became deathly afraid of a delay. Luckily, umpires aren’t sadists, so I assume, barring the Rapture, this will not happen. Noted pitcher Pedro Florimon hit a home run because DUDE I’M TIRED EVERYBODY WANTS TO GO HOME. Mercifully, Jesmuel Valentin struck out, the Cardinals won 12-4, and you can go to bed. No hard feelings if you read this in the morning. Though if you’ve read this far, you don’t have to read it again. Actually, yes you do. Give us page clicks, please. Bye.