Yesterday’s game was a drag. This game feels inevitable to be better. Let’s check out the Cardinals lineup.
As a noted Jose Martinez At First Base Yeller (as well as a Jose Martinez In The Batter’s Box Appreciator), I’m doubly disappointed that the Cardinals have made the rational move and moved Matt Carpenter to first base. Here’s the Brewers lineup:
Here’s the events of the games. Some of us, not to mention any names, thought the game started at 7, so bear with me as I play catch-up a little bit.
First inning: Not a whole lot, really. Matt Carpenter drew a walk, because that’s what Matt Carpenter does, but nothing really came of it. Christian Yelich also drew a walk, but Jesus Aguilar grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Second inning: Harrison Bader has pronounced platoon splits. They’re so pronounced that, despite being a decent hitter on the whole and an excellent fielder, I don’t generally want him batting against righties, which is what he was put in the lineup to do today. While batting fifth, at that! But anyway, I’m an idiot and Harrison Bader hit a home run (and a DEEP home run) to left-center to give the Cardinals the lead. And since the rally killer killed the rally, the Cardinals scored no more runs in the inn…wait? You’re telling me “home runs are a rally killer” isn’t even close to an actual thing and it’s just a phrase Al Hrabosky says during games when he hasn’t talked for a while? Anyway, Yairo Munoz singled (this is, like, a thing now), Kolten Wong was hit by a pitch, and Francisco Pena singled to load the bases. The bases were loaded with nobody out. Michael Wacha, somewhat predictably, struck out, but Matt Carpenter drew another walk to bring home a second run. The next batter, Jedd Gyorko, found a whole in the middle of the infield to drive home two more. Tommy Pham ended the top of the second with a double play, but a 4-0 Cardinals lead is pretty good. Nothing really happened in the bottom. Michael Wacha struck out two guys. Nobody got on.
Third inning: Once again, the Cardinals rallied, but this time, they had nothing to show for it. Marcell Ozuna reached on catcher’s interference to lead off the inning, and Harrison Bader then reached on an infield single. A Yairo Munoz flyout advanced both runners, but following a Kolten Wong intentional walk, the offense came to a screeching halt. Francisco Pena struck out swinging, and Michael Wacha grounded into an inning-ending fielder’s choice. In the bottom half, Wacha continued his struggles with control, walking Eric Sogard, but this was the entirety of the damage.
Fourth inning: Matt Carpenter hit a solo home run. He is breaking the notion of regression (or, in his case, progression). Guys aren’t supposed to make up for their early struggles–they’re supposed to play at their true talent and then by the end of the season, their numbers look basically normal, as the small sample has been absorbed. Carpenter is just straight up going the opposite direction. Unfortunately, after this, a Jedd Gyorko single was nullified by a Tommy Pham GIDP (again). In the bottom of the fourth, Christian Yelich reached on a Matt Carpenter throwing error (to Michael Wacha, covering at first). It was a correct call, thus keep Wacha’s no-hitter intact. Hey, who cares about no-hitter jinxes, the game’s over by now. That was it for Brewers offense, however. Cardinals 4-0 after four.
Fifth inning: Harrison Bader singled. Seriously, this guy is amazing and I love him. Yairo Munoz, however, grounded into, by my count, the 18th double play of the game. And then the rest of the inning was kind of boring. Oh, Hernan Perez broke up the no-hitter for Michael Wacha with a hit that Tommy Pham arguably should have caught. It would’ve been a tough play, admittedly, and there’s no way Wacha was going to maintain this given how many pitches he’s throwing and how many guys he’s walked.
Sixth inning: Francisco Pena reached on an infield single (?) but that was it as far as Cardinals offense. As for the Brewers, Wacha walked another guy (“More like Michael Walk-a!” I scream in the drive-thru at my local Taco Bell) but that was all.
Seventh inning: Things got dicey for Wacha in the bottom half. He left the game with runners on the corners, after which Sam Tuivailala allowed a Jonathan Villar double which brought home the first Brewers run of the game. Lorenzo Cain came to the plate next, but a Tui strikeout ended the inning with minimal damage to the Cardinals.
Eighth inning: Francisco Pena hit a home run because APPARENTLY THIS IS A THING NOW THAT HAPPENS FAIRLY REGULARLY. Noted flamethrower/never strikes guys out guy Jordan Hicks entered for the Cardinals and…struck out two guys? Sure!
Ninth inning: Hicks struck out two more guys! He’s turned the corner, baby! Cardinals win 6-1!