Baseball has been pretty boring lately. Frankly, I’m impressed that you’re still reading these. But apparently you are, and for your service, I shall provide you with what you want (with the possible exception of “a merciful end to the season, replaced by some other activity to occupy your leisure time during the Summer of 2018”).
Here are the lineups:
I’m going to tool around with my normal game recap style–rather than recapping inning-by-inning, I’m going to try more of a bulletpoint approach. Enjoy!
- In the top of the third inning, Albert Almora, who had reached first base on a single, advanced to second after an errant pickoff throw. Filling in for the absence of Jose Martinez, still out on paternity leave, Luke Voit let a ball get past him. His efforts to duplicate the everyday first baseman in every way are admirable, if slightly annoying. The next Jack Flaherty pitch hit Javy Baez on the wrist; Baez was forced out of the game, with Addison Russell pinch-running.
- Dreadful hitting Jose Quintana really, really hates batting. I have never seen a scowl as miserable as his. He tried bunting with the defense entirely committed to the bunt, but it didn’t work out, and he ended up striking out. Next, Ben Zobrist lazily popped up, but a Jason Heyward walk loaded the bases. Against the ropes with Kris Bryant at the plate, Flaherty bounced back nicely, striking out the perpetually-smiling Cubs third baseman to escape the top of the third unscathed.
- In the bottom of the third, with two outs and nobody on and everybody resigned to a scoreless inning, Jack Flaherty got a hit! Statistically, pitchers are bad hitters, and even the “good” ones aren’t good, but the gap between those who look competent at the plate and those who look like Jose Quintana looked in the top of this inning is staggering. I don’t have much of a point here–just throwing this out there. Anyway, Matt Carpenter got an out and the inning ended still scoreless.
- Joe Maddon got interviewed about his art in the top of the fourth inning. I don’t know why, either.
- With runners on first and second, a ball dropped in no man’s land in the outfield, but a Harrison Bader bullet forced Anthony Rizzo out at third base. The next out was a routine fly out; the runners didn’t try to advance but Harrison Bader fiiiiiiiired it to third base. Alex Rodriguez compared him to Andy Van Slyke, so congrats to the collective Generation X on that little Easter Egg. Anyway, still scoreless after 3 1/2, Harrison Bader is leading off the bottom of the fourth, and I am positive that Harrison Bader is going to do something awesome leading off the bottom of the fourth inning.
- Harrison Bader didn’t do something awesome leading off the bottom of the fourth inning.
- Jack Flaherty got through five innings with 96 pitches and zero runs allowed. He’s done a fantastic job of tiptoeing around the Cubs lineup, but his night should definitely be done. Also, Matt Vasgersian claimed this was his fourth career start, which is certainly a thing one can believe.
- Dexter Fowler pinch hit for Flaherty. This is good. And he walked, too! But a Matt Carpenter ground out ended the inning. Apparently Alex Rodriguez is going to unveil something called “The All A-Rod Team” next inning, for some reason. Still no score.
- The All A-Rod Team is the best players in baseball except for some reason Salvador Perez and Eric Hosmer. Sure.
- Yadier Molina caught Willson Contreras stealing. A great throw and a great tag from Jedd Gyorko. Must’ve been unfamiliar territory for a strike thrown to Contreras to actually being properly handled.
- Harrison Bader beat out a relatively casual grounder for an infield single. Dude’s fast. ESPN announcers love him and Tommy Pham so much, for the “announcers are biased towards the Cubs crowd”. They love and are happy with everybody and everything. They’re just happy to be here.
- Speaking of Pham, he singled, and the batters had runners on first and second with the red-hot Marcell Ozuna coming to the plate with nobody out. That’s a good sign.
- Ozuna hit a weak grounder but because of a misplay on the throw from Addison Russell to Platinum Glove winner (lol) Anthony Rizzo, the bases were loaded with nobody out. Okay, you jerks, you better score some runs.
- So Yadier Molina did two things that were absolutely assured to happen: he swung at the first pitch, and he grounded into a double play. On the bright side, the double play scored Harrison Bader, so the Cardinals have the lead, and now the Cardinals only need for their bullpen to not allow a run for the next three innings. No problem.
- But Jedd Gyorko decided to give the Cardinals an insurance run, singling to center to score Tommy Pham. 2-0 Cardinals just sounds a lot better than 1-0 Cardinals. In my opinion, twice as good.
- In the bottom of the seventh, Matt Carpenter hit one real pretty. It didn’t go THAT far but it had a nice towering effect that made its departure from the field of play a foregone conclusion from the point of contact. It was fun. 3-0 Cardinals and maybe they’ll give Jordan Hicks an extremely deserved day off. Harrison Bader hit a double that for some reason was ruled an out at second base (note: I thought he was out at first. I saw a replay and he was definitely not out. But umpires don’t want to call out their own mistakes, even though it’s a really hard job and I wouldn’t blame them for a second. Oh well.)
- Jordan Hicks is pitching, which is just absolute malpractice given that he pitched yesterday, he’s 21 years old, the Cardinals’ win probability is very high…they won’t just let me enjoy a win. Kris Bryant luckily obliged and swung (and got an out) on the first pitch. However, the next batter, Anthony Rizzo, reached after Jedd Gyorko airmailed a throw to first base. But then Willson Contreras grounded into a double play, which I rather enjoyed.
- Kyle Schwarber is the worst defender in the history of baseball. The stats tell me this is not even close to true, but I refuse to believe any of this. Following a Tommy Pham walk, Yadier Molina hit a ball to left field that maybe could have been caught but certainly should have been held to a single. It was not. The ball bounced behind Kyle Schwarber, and Molina had an RBI double. According to Alex Rodriguez, this run meant Bud Norris could be sat down, which is a tacit admission that Mike Matheny is managing the way an arbitrarily-designed statistic told him. Which, like, I knew this, but I just don’t want to confront that reality.
- Yadier Molina scored on a misplay, with Addison Russell screwing up a throw to first. There are runners on second and third and all of a sudden I’m dreaming of 50 cent drinks at Mobil on the Run tomorrow. It all comes down to Kolten Wong.
- Kolten Wong hit it into shallow-ish center and WHO IS IT IN CENTER HAPP OR ALMORA HAPP OR ALMORA HAPP OR ALM…oh, it was caught, I guess it was Almora. No cheap drinks, barring the game being extended to the bottom of the ninth (very much not worth it), but a 5-0 lead should be pretty safe for a team that doesn’t have Greg Holland back yet.
- Wait, Bud Norris is pitching? Okay, so we’re using our two most reliable relievers in a basically over game, but at least there’s an off-day tomor…COME ON. Okay, sure, I guess Mike Matheny knows best. We didn’t ALL go to Gudger College!
- Whatever, he closed it out, I’m going to try being happy for once. 5-0 Cardinals! A win! Fly the L, folks!