Hi folks. For a while I was considering going down to Busch Stadium for tonight’s game between the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals because of the following factors:
- The Carlos Martinez mystery hair bobblehead.
I ended up not attending because of the following factors:
- The heat index when the game started was well into the hundreds, somewhere in the 105-110 range.
- Tickets were shockingly expensive on StubHub given the heat and the decidedly Not The Cubs opponent. Inane crowd-shaming based on looks at the stadium is missing what people did, which was go inside the stadium and hang out in the cooler areas. This may seem wasteful but, like, the bobbleheads look really cool.
- Luke Weaver premonitions. His outings have been getting worse and worse. And sure, the Braves scratched Brandon McCarthy in favor of Max Fried so in theory the pitching matchup got easier, but let’s be honest–nobody wants to attend a blowout in five billion degree weather.
Here were the lineups.
Here are some things that happened.
- Nobody got on base in the first inning. Time for a good ol’ fashioned pitcher’s duel, right? That’s how this works, right? One inning is predictive of a trend?
- In the top of the second inning, Ronald Acuna Jr. hit a two-run home run which scored Nick Markakis. Acuna entered the season as a consensus top two prospect (and consensus top one when looking at Minor League Baseball–only Shohei Ohtani was in the same stratosphere) and while he hasn’t quite been, like, 2012 Mike Trout level absurd, he’s been good, and he continues to be good while also being terrifyingly young. Between Acuna (born December 18, 1997) and French forward Kylian Mbappe (December 20, 1998), who scored two goals to help defeat Argentina in the World Cup earlier today, today is a day in which I feel ancient.
- In the bottom of the second, the Cardinals showed some signs of offensive life, with both Yadier Molina and Harrison Bader notching singles, but ultimately no runs scored. 2-0 Braves.
- For two innings, things settled down considerably for the Cardinals. They didn’t score, which is a bummer, but Luke Weaver, who has had struggles recently as I previously mentioned, allowed no runs as well. Long-term, a 2-0 Braves lead is disappointing, particularly for the offense, but not disastrous.
- The top of the fifth happened. Look, it just…happened? Do I really have to recap it in detail? This isn’t a rec…oh, right, fine.
- Dansby Swanson, whose inability to turn into a superstar which warrants his selection as a #1 overall pick is really tampering my ability to mock the Shelby Miller for Ender Inciarte, Aaron Blair, and Swanson trade to the best of my ability, struck out. So that’s a good start! But then, the next two batters, Max Fried (?) and the aforementioned Inciarte, got singles. Not great, but whatever, singles, that’s limited damage.
- Ozzie Albies, who might be the best non-Jose Altuve second baseman in baseball at age 21, hit a ground rule double. Fried scored, and runners were on second and third. 3-0 Braves.
- And then the Cardinals intentionally walked Freddie Freeman. Now, Freeman is the best hitter on the Braves, no question. But the thing about this strategy is that the best hitter on the team is usually batting in front of another very good hitter, and Nick Markakis, an Effectively Wild folk hero for his generally productive career without an All-Star appearance (this probably won’t stick through this season), followed Freeman. And he hit a grand slam. And suddenly, a 3-0 deficit became a 7-0 deficit and this is the point that I seized recapping duties, as our original recapper was going to have to watch the game on delay. Nope, the writer of this recap must be someone who suffered through this game!
- Well, once the bases were cleared, the rally was killed and…nah I’m just kidding the Braves got another run this inning. Following a Kurt Suzuki ground out for out #2, Acuna hit a ground rule double, Johan Camargo walked, and Dansby Swanson helped improve his #1 pick cred with an RBI single. 8-0 Braves.
- The Braves scored two more runs in the sixth inning. I don’t care how. Do you care how? Why on Earth would you possibly care how? It was RBI from Albies and Markakis, so it’s not like these were first career RBI or something. Nothing monumental happened. After Luke Weaver had pitched disastrously, John Brebbia was bad too. It’s a team effort! 10-0 Braves.
- Once the seventh inning happened, the mass substitutions started. And then, Brett Cecil and Austin Gomber pitched relatively well over the next two innings. No runs allowed! That’s good. And the Cardinals offense responded by…doing nothing. Through EIGHT, the score remained 10-0 Braves.
- This is one of those games where fans blame Mike Matheny, but realistically this one isn’t really on him. He did a few things wrong, I think, but the most brilliant tactician on Earth wasn’t going to salvage this game. The entire team is playing terribly. Fun, completely random fact with no ulterior motives behind it: Matheny and hitting coach John Mabry rank in the all-time top twenty for plate appearances among sub-Replacement Level position players. Their entire careers as players were built upon mediocrity that was allowed to continue without intervention. Again, just a random fun fact!
- Bud Norris, who I forget but I assume hasn’t pitched in a while, came on to pitch the ninth, and if Ronald Acuna Jr. hadn’t slipped on the bases, he might’ve had an inside-the-park home run because of a woeful Tommy Pham slip-up in the outfield. It was scored a single and a two-base error. A sacrifice fly in the next plate appearance scored Acuna, and the Braves went up 11-0. A Swanson strikeout ended the inning and honestly I’m keeping the headline I have written even if the Cardinals pull out a miraculous comeback. My stupid headline will be lost in the media frenzy covering what happened anyway so who cares?
- Hey, Jose Martinez hit a home run! To lead off the inning! At this rate, the Cardinals will win this game 12-11 without recording any outs in the bottom of the ninth. I bet this is what happens.
- And Dexter Fowler got a base hit! Yes, that Dexter Fowler. Comeback on, baby.
- Brayan Pena got a hit too. Seriously, if this…I’m not gonna lie, I started drinking in the sixth inning. I still very much have my wits about me but if this rally continues, I’m going to start actually believing it will happen. This is dangerous.
- Jedd Gyorko with a sacrifice fly. Not good enough! At this point, you can only sacrifice an out for a run if it scores like five runs.
- And now Harrison Bader is rocketing it into left field to score Pena and get himself to second. Offense, y’all really could have done this a long time ago. This…what a stupid sport.
- Lmao Munoz got a double too. 11-4 Braves with one out. What a stupid, loopy, bizarre bottom of the ninth this has been.
- Old Friend Sam Freeman is in the game for the Braves. He’s not as skinny as I remember him, but really, who is?
- Kolten Wong and Greg Garcia got outs. The absolutely awful 11-0 loss turned into a merely really awful 11-4 loss. On to the next game tomorrow!