This afternoon, the St. Louis Cardinals, a professional baseball team owned in 2018 by Bill DeWitt Jr., played the Cincinnati Reds, a professional baseball team owned in 2018 by the St. Louis Cardinals. Here were the lineups each team fielded.
Billy Hamilton has like a .800 career OBP against the Cardinals (citation needed) so I appreciate the Reds burying him in the bottom of the lineup. Anyway, here’s how the game went down.
First inning: So the top of the inning was frankly really stupid. Matt Carpenter struck out which, whatever, it happens. I don’t like it, but I accept that it is part of baseball. But next, Tommy Pham hit a comebacker to Anthony DeSclafani which Cardinals announcer Dan McLaughlin instantly declared “a base hit”. It wasn’t one, and it wasn’t that close. I mean, it was close, but…declaring it a hit so quickly was awfully optimistic. And then Jose Martinez hit a deep single which he didn’t seem to realize wasn’t a double, as he was tagged out at second on a close play. The Cardinals were a couple combined feet away from a run and instead they went down in order. In the bottom, Scott Schebler grounded out to Carlos Martinez, but then the Cardinals ace, who looked rough in his first outing back from the Disabled List last Tuesday, walked Tucker Barnhart and Joey Votto. The next batter, Scooter Gennett, for some reason swung at the first pitch and it was a peaceful fly out which kept the runners stranded at first and second base, and then Eugenio Suarez struck out, to end the jam and leave the game at zeroes after one inning.
Second inning: The red-hot Marcell Ozuna led things off with a single before a pair of Cardinals struck out. Harrison Bader, getting the start in right field, singled, but DeSclafani came back to strike out Kolten Wong, and the Cardinals made no dents in the scoreboard. In the bottom came a better version of Carlos Martinez, a “strikes out the side” version. Jesse Winker, Jose Peraza, and Anthony DeSclafani were no match in the inning.
Third inning: Carlos Martinez struck out, but with the lineup reset, things got going. Matt Carpenter singled, and then both Tommy Pham and Jose Martinez walked. And next came Marcell Ozuna and…what unfolded was confusing. Thank God I was watching this fairly closely or I’d have no chance of articulating it. Okay, so here goes–Ozuna hit it really hard to left field. At first, it looked like Jesse Winker caught the ball and that Matt Carpenter had scored from third while the other two runners had advanced. Then, it looked like either Tommy Pham or Jose Martinez improperly tagged up, meaning that while Carpenter’s run still counted, it was a inning-ending double play. And then, after further examination, first by Jose Oquendo and later by the umpires in a replay review, it turned out the ball hit off the wall and was trapped by Winker. It was ruled an RBI single with the bases now loaded. Yadier Molina hit a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Pham, and the next batter, Greg Garcia, flied out to left, but two runs crossed the plate, one more than would have been scored had it not been for the watchful eye of Jose Oquendo. Things were more straightforward in the bottom of the inning, which was started by Billy Hamilton (remember what I said about him earlier?) tripled. He then scored on the next at-bat, a Scott Schebler groundout. Another pair of walks from Martinez, once again of the #2 and #3 hitters for the Reds, was alarming, and following a Scooter Gennett strikeout, he allowed another base runner, this time thanks to a hit-by-pitch. By a fielder’s choice ended the inning without further damage. 2-1 Cardinals.
Fourth inning: Okay, it’s time to feel bad about the Cardinals again. Things started out poorly, with Harrison Bader and Kolten Wong recording back-to-back outs to lead things off, but then Carlos Martinez singled. Pitcher hits are always fun. And then Matt Carpenter doubled, Billy Hamilton nicely recovered from the ball hitting off his glove and…Jose Oquendo sent Martinez home. And he was out by a lot. You win some, you lose some, I guess. And then when he came back out to pitch, he seemed to be favoring his side which had been tagged and, well, that’s just fantastic. But he did successfully retire the seven and eight hitters to lead off the bottom of the fourth before Billy Hamilton, who is the actual greatest player in baseball history against the Cardinals, walked. And then Scott Schebler walked, and since the ball got away from Yadier Molina, Hamilton sped over to third base because he is an unstoppable killing machine against the Cardinals and nobody else. Anyway, most of that sentence is a lie–Schebler was actually hit on the foot by a pitch. Same result in terms of where he goes, but, um, it’s not a live ball, and thus Billy Hamilton can only advance to second base. A replay ensued and, um, I’m not sure what was reviewed? If it was if Hamilton was safe at third, well, technically, but he shouldn’t have been there. Anyway, runners on the corners for Tucker Barnhart, who singled. Since Schebler, who isn’t as fast as Billy Hamilton, advanced to third, which makes me think Hamilton would have scored anyway, but that’s pretty annoying regardless. Anyway, it turns out Mike Mathenya sked for a replay of the play at third base on Hamilton, not of the HBP, and *internal screaming*. And hey, Joey Votto walked again. Carlos Martinez is walking everybody. He’s up to seven and the bases are loaded for the guy who hit four home runs against the Cardinals almost exactly a year ago! Scooter Gennett didn’t hit a home run, but he did hit a single, scoring two runs. Anyway, I think Mike Matheny still has illusions of Martinez getting the win so he gets to face another batter. And that batter drove in another run. In comes Mike Mayers and Jesse Winker flew out to end the inning at 5-2 Reds. Oh, and most of these runs shouldn’t have happened.
Fifth inning: Well Tommy Pham singled! Just think if Oquendo had kept Carlos Martinez at third base, putting runners at second and third, and then Pham came to the pl…actually, no, let’s very much not think about that ever. Anyway, the next three Cardinals got out and the strike zone remained terrible for Jose Martinez. Someday, I aspire for baseball to invent a thing called “video”, in which whether a strike has been thrown can be far more easily discerned than the naked eye from a terrible angle. Oh well, someday maybe! The bottom half went mercifully for the Cardinals, as two batters struck out and the other out came via a Yadier Molina caught stealing. Two on the season now!
Sixth inning: Game on, folks. Greg Garcia doubled down the right field line and Harrison Bader singled to put runners on the corners. With lefty Amir Garrett coming in to face Kolten Wong, the Cardinals countered with Yairo Munoz. At first this annoyed me because “hey, Jedd Gyorko” but then I remembered “Oh yeah, the pitcher’s spot”, but then I saw Luke Voit on deck and got annoyed again. I mean, Voit’s fine, but I’d have Gyorko bat for Wong. But Munoz kind of did his thing–he flew out to right field, but to my surprise, Oquendo didn’t send Garcia. Well, not immediately. The throw home was offline and got past Tucker Barnhart. Garrett was covering, but it got past him as well and into the Cardinals dugout. Garrett appeared to slip and once I realized he wasn’t injured on the play, I laughed and laughed and laughed. Not only did Garcia score, but Bader advanced all the way to third base. Voit came up with the game now at 5-3, one out, and a runner at third. Garrett caught a comebacker, catching Bader in a comeback. To Bader’s credit, he stayed in the rundown a LONG time, long enough to get Voit to second base (and arguably long enough that it should have gotten Voit to third base), but eventually Bader was caught. Matt Carpenter made the third out via strikeout. In the bottom half, the third batter of the inning, Joey Votto, walked (seriously dude I know this is your thing but come onnnnnnnn), but Scooter Gennett flew out to Tommy Pham, which he did while facing new pitcher Brett Cecil. 5-3 Reds.
Seventh inning: Jose Martinez hit a single/double tweener with one out and, this time, the Cardinals made the right move and held him at first base. Don’t worry, Marcell Ozuna is up and he rockets everything these days. Ozuna took some killer hacks, but the at-bat eventually ended with a fairly innocuous foul out to Joey Votto. And then Yadier Molina struck out and it’s almost 3. This game has been going on for almost three hours and it’s only 6 1/2 innings old. The first two batters of the bottom half walked, Brett Cecil is at 26 pitches, and nobody is warming up. I feel like if the Cardinals are giving up on winning this game, I have the right to as well. Anyway, I didn’t. Luckily, Jose Peraza chased ball four on a full count and flew out to Harrison Bader. Okay, noted lefty crusher Adam Duvall is up and Cecil is still in. And then, an absurd bit of good fortune. Brett Cecil threw one a bit wild, though not far enough to advance the runners…but the runners didn’t realize this. Eugenio Suarez hesitated going to third base and got into a rundown from which he was eventually tagged out (Winker advanced to second). And, somehow, against all logic, Brett Cecil is two strikes away from two scoreless innings. Well anyway, that didn’t happen (hey, remember that whole ADAM DUVALL CRUSHES LEFTIES thing from before?). Duvall singled and scored Winker but, hey, couldn’t and probably should’ve been two runs. And then Duvall got caught in a rundown because this game is designed to get me to have to write way too many words about the weirdest possible events. That was the third out.
Eighth inning: Greg Garcia hit one pretty well to the wall and Billy Hamilton caught it because the best player in baseball history against the Cardinals. Harrison Bader then struck out and Yairo Munoz struck out and Jedd Gyorko still hasn’t gotten into this game. I assume he’s going to lead off the ninth and, hey, at least we’ll get the top of the order for the Cardinals. In the bottom half, hey, John Brebbia set down the Reds in order, including two strikeouts, including inexplicably one of Billy Hamilton (note: only against the Cardinals is getting Billy Hamilton out considered “inexplicable”). 6-3 Reds entering the ninth.
Ninth inning: I was right about Gyorko leading off the inning. I am operating on a similar wavelength to Mike Matheny (please send help). And Jared Hughes, on his second inning of work, walked Gyorko on four straight pitches. And then, Walk Machine Matt Carpenter swung on the first pitch. He almost hit it out of the park, too, but then Billy Hamilton happened again, in a strikingly similar manner to his catch of Garcia’s fly ball the inning before. And then Tommy Pham struck out which, great, awesome. I mean, we have Jose Martinez and perhaps Marcell Ozuna coming up, which is nice, but it’s a three run deficit and the odds are looking long. With a 1-2 count, Hughes stepped off the mound and then the catcher visited him at the mound because this is the most excruciating game in baseball history, I’m quite certain. A slow grounder to Scooter Gennett on the next pitch ended it, and the Cardinals’ “win every game” thing against the Reds has come to an end.