Come on, guys, win a game. Just one stupid game. Recapping games is more fun when I’m not just writing “hey, the Cardinals struck out again” over and over. Or maybe it’s more fun for you guys when I just lose my mind over mid-season baseball games, I’m not sure, but it’s not as fun for me, and I’m going to be selfish about this.
Here were today’s lineups.
Here were some of the highlights.
- With John Gant on the mound, the Atlanta Braves went down 1-2-3 in the top of the first inning. So that’s a promising start. “John Gant was drafted by the Braves and traded to St. Louis in the Jaime Garcia” is one of, like, three things I know about John Gant, and true to form, this was mentioned very quickly on the broadcast.
- In the bottom of the first, the Cardinals swung precisely one time. Matt Carpenter walked, Tommy Pham struck out, and Jose Martinez grounded into a double play.
- The top of the second began adequately, and a Tyler Flowers double was sandwiched between Nick Markakis and Ronald Acuna Jr. outs. But following a wild pitch which put Flowers on third base, a Charlie Culberson double scored the Braves catcher to the give the team an early 1-0 lead. Following an intentional walk to Dansby Swanson, pitcher Mike Foltynewicz struck out to end the rally.
- In the third inning, Kolten Wong walked and also successfully stole second base. That’s the good news. The bad news is that every other Cardinals batter struck out. Mike Foltynewicz–MIKE FOLTYNEWICZ–went through three innings with a grand total of one ball put in play.
- Meanwhile, John Gant shut down the Braves offense in the third and fourth innings. That trade which sent a basically redundant Jaime Garcia, on a $12 million contract with one year remaining, to Atlanta is starting to look pretty good. I mean, I guess I’d rather they have parlayed Garcia into somebody who could get a hit off of Mike Foltynewicz, but beggars can’t be choosers I suppose.
- The bottom of the fourth begins with Tommy Pham, which, sad as it feels to admit, is essentially an automatic out at this point. Would you rather have Pham batting right now or the pitcher? Like, I’d still take Pham, but I had to think about it for a second. The Ozuna-Bader-Fowler outfield just feels like it’s going to have to become a thing at least for a game or two.
- Jose Martinez struck out. Foltynewicz has eight strikeouts through 3 2/3 innings. I know that 2018 baseball is basically a big two-true-outcomes contest and I’ve come to terms with that but man is it dreadfully boring when one of those outcomes isn’t happening for your team.
- Marcell Ozuna got a hit! Like, it was a single, and while it wasn’t an amazing hit necessarily, it wasn’t really a cheap bloop either!
- And Jedd Gyorko walked too! Am I just padding the word count on here right now because I feel like the Cardinals are eventually going to fall apart and I’m going to lose focus on the later parts of the games? Maybe!
- Harrison Bader struck out to end the inning. Rats.
- Charlie Culberson led off the fifth inning with a walk. A Dansby Swanson flyout created an obvious bunt situation for Mike Foltynewicz, so obvious in fact that he bunted with an 0-2 count, which even if you’re a terrible hitter always seems like the wrong move. I don’t know, I could be wrong. Anyway he struck out and thus was involved in the first 11 strikeouts (and counting) of the game–nine as a pitcher and two as a batter. Ender Inciarte flew out so the score remained at 1-0 Braves.
- After nothing worth repeating happened in the bottom of the fifth, the Cardinals squared off against Ozzie Albies to start the sixth inning, and the second baseman got on with a single. Not a huge deal.
- Freddie Freeman homered. Huger deal. 3-0 Braves.
- Nick Markakis, the next batter, walked, and he advanced to second on a Tyler Flowers groundout. And now the Cardinals are digging into the bullpen, with Mike Mayers in to continue the game.
- Acuna got an infield single. Runners on the corners. Yep, it is going to continue to be this kind of game.
- A Charlie Culberson single scored one and Acuna advanced to third. Acuna then scored when Jose Martinez irrationally threw the ball home rather than getting a sure out (perhaps two outs!) by throwing to second base. 5-0 Braves. The World Cup game is in stoppage time. I am suffering for you people.
- Braves got another run, who cares, whatever, TOMMY PHAM GOT A HIT THIS IS NOT A DRILL. He, of course, didn’t score, because run scoring is now illegal in the city of St. Louis for the home team, but that’s progress.
- Yo guys, Luka Modric just got past the Danish goalkeeper and had like six feet of daylight between him and probably the winning goal in extra time and some Denmark defender came in and slide-tackled him. They somehow didn’t show a red card (which would have been totally worth it given the importance of making a stop) but on the PK, Modric missed it! That’s crazy! Anyway, still no more runs for the Cardinals. Two hits. Goodness.
- Whoa, while I wasn’t paying attention, the Cardinals scored two runs thanks to…Francisco Pena? Sure. Tommy Pham, who apparently hasn’t completely lost the ability to get hits, is coming to the plate, with Jose Martinez as potential tying run on deck. And Pham went yard! 6-5 and this game is, like, very much not over, thanks to a three-run shot surrendered by 89 year-old Braves reliever Peter Moylan.
- Jose Martinez got on via an infield single to the pitcher. Sure. Marcell Ozuna arrived at the plate with a chance to give the Cardinals a lead, but he lazily grounded out to Dansby Swanson. The inning ended but still, it’s a 6-5 game. This is very much a ball game.
- Jordan Hicks entered the game with a one-run deficit instead of a three-run lead. I greatly prefer this and so should you. 1-2-3 inning. Pretty good.
- To start the bottom of the eighth, Jedd Gyorko flew out. Harrison Bader worked a 3-0 count which eventually turned into a 3-2 count which eventually turned into a fly out to right field. The third batter, Kolten Wong, nearly benefited from an Ender Inciarte/Nick Markakis collision, but Inciarte ultimately made the catch and ended the inning.
- In his second inning of work, Jordan Hicks still looked good. Another 1-2-3 inning. The Cardinals will enter the bottom of the ninth down one run with an absolutely reasonable chance of winning this game and salvaging a game in the series.
- Francisco Pena is batting for himself as Yadier Molina approaches to pinch-hit for Jordan Hicks. Dexter Fowler is still presumably available to pinch-hit. I guess the Cardinals really don’t want Molina to have to play the field if it goes to extras. Or maybe they genuinely think Francisco Pena is a better hitter than Dexter Fowler.
- Pena struck out swinging.
- Molina flew out to right field.
- Carpenter flew out to right field.
And just like that, the St. Louis Cardinals have been swept by the Atlanta Braves.