Today, as America pauses to remember all those who have fallen defending this nation, the Cardinals kick off a series in Milwaukee against the current division leaders. Fleming had the series preview here. Here’s to hoping for a good end to a long weekend.
The pitching matchup pits Luke Weaver against Brent Suter. Here’s a fun fact: Suter’s average fastball velocity, at 86.5 mph, is the lowest in MLB among starters with at least 30 IP this year. Brooks describes it as “straight as an arrow,” and he uses it 2/3 of the time. Suter’s not particularly good at anything but he throws a lot of strikes. If we get good Weaver, this should be a blowout. If we get mediocre or bad Weaver, we should still be able to hang a big enough number on Suter to take game 1 from the current NL Central leaders. Here are the lineups:
The first inning and a half went pretty quietly. Weaver gave up a 1-out double to Ryan Braun in the second, and Manny Pina cashed in the run with a 2-out RBI single to give the Brew Crew an early 1-0 lead.
Christian Yelich (aka “the Marlins outfielder we should’ve gotten instead of Ozuna”) thumped a solo homer on a straight meaty change right down the middle on a 2-0 count in the third, extending the Brewers’ lead to 2-0.
Weaver struggled again in the fourth. Ryan Braun struck again with a 1-out single. Braun advanced to second when Jose Martinez whiffed at a pickoff throw, but the free base was deprived of significance by Weaver walking Villar. Manny Pina popped out, then Weaver walked the bases loaded to bring the Brewers pitcher to the plate with 2 outs and a 2-0 lead. Suter hit a sharp grounder down the first baseline, but Jose Martinez was there! And… The ball went under his glove. And Braun scored, and Villar scored, but at least Gyorko threw Tyler Saladino out at the plate. Cardinals trail, 4-0. Weaver’s day ended after this conflagration.
The Cards bats came roaring back to life in the top of the fifth, and made this thing look like a ballgame again. Bader led off the inning with a single, and Yairo Munoz followed up with his first MLB home run. After a couple of outs, Matt Carpenter continued his one-man wrecking crew impersonation, belting his sixth dinger of the year. When the dust settled, the Brewers’ lead was cut to 4-3.
Mike Mayers came out in relief and pitched a pair of mostly-solid innings. Mayers gave up a run in the fifth on a walk and a pair of singles while striking out two, then worked around a Manny Pina double in the sixth to notch a clean inning. The Cardinals bats were quiet in the tops of the sixth and seventh, so at the stretch, the Brewers led 5-3.
Brett Cecil took the mound in the seventh. Yelich singled on the first pitch of the inning and then stole second. It looked like he might have come off the bag while Munoz had the tag on him, but the safe call was upheld on review, extending the Cardinals’ dubious streak of zero runners caught stealing in 2018. Cecil collected outs from Aguilar and Shaw, then sensibly walked the 3-3 right-hander Ryan Braun to face Jonathan Villar, who the broadcast crew tells me is batting only .200 against lefties like Cecil. So of course (yeah, of course), Cecil served Villar a belt-high 91 mph fourseamer over the heart of the plate, which Villar deposited in the seats. 8-3 Brewers.
Greg Garcia walked in the top of the 8th, but was erased by a Matt Carpenter K and a Jose Martinez GIDP. Brebbia locked down the bottom of the 8th, but the only offense the Cardinals could muster in their final frame was a Gyorko double. Cardinals fall to the Brewers, 8-3.
- Weaver appeared to struggle with command today, throwing 34 balls to only 42 strikes and lasting only 4 innings. His final line, for all that, wasn’t awful – he only issued 2 walks and struck out 3 – but the sequencing couldn’t have been worse.
- If I was going to assign blame for this loss, I’d split it between Jose Martinez’s hilariously bad 1B defense and the Cardinals’ mystifying ineffectiveness against Brent Suter.
- I give you Ryan Braun: 3-3 with a double, an IBB, and a stolen base. He’s not having a good year to date, but in true comic book villain fashion, he found a way to be irritating today.
- Let’s get ’em tomorrow.
The Cubs leapfrogged the Cardinals for 2nd place in the division with their brutal 7-0 takedown of the Pirates.(The takedown was brutal in more than one way – Rizzo took out the Pirates’ catcher with a nasty slide to break up a double play! Bonus brutality courtesy of America’s Favorite Lovable Losers!). We’re now 5 games behind the Brewers, but a series win would go a long way toward taking the division back.
Wacha takes on Zach Davies tomorrow at 6:40 Central. Davies has struggled with a rotator cuff injury lately, and looked bad his last time out. Tune in for more fun!