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Giants @ Cardinals: NLCS Game 1 Recap

Madison Bumgarner pitches 7 2/3 great innings as the Cards fall to the Giants 3-0.

Jamie Squire

There once was a pitcher named Adam

And another pitcher named MadBum

They both put up fight

But one wasn't right

Bumgarner gets the win in Game 1

The Game

Adam Wainwright vs. Madison Bumgarner would have been an exciting matchup in May or June.  But tonight, it was something else.  Replacing anticipation and jubilee was fear and dread.  Although I had hoped that Wainwright's outing in Game 1 of the NLDS was some kind of fluke, the truth showed its ugly face tonight.  Adam Wainwright is not right.  If it wasn't already a nagging thought in back of Cardinals Nation's collective mind, it's now a pressing concern at the forefront of everything. Waino ran into some bad luck tonight, to be sure.  But there is one stat that tells the story perfectly: Wainwright threw 27 pitches in 2-strike counts, and the only out he got was a foul tip bunt off the pitcher's bat.  Let's walk through it, shall we?

Waino looked good in the first inning.  He had nice location on the fastball, 1-2-3 inning. Things went bad in the second and never really recovered.  Pablo Sandoval hit a long line drive to the right field wall, and Randal Grichuk tracked it down, caught the ball, hit the wall, fell onto the ground, and lost the ball on the fall.  Sandoval ended up at second base with a double.  Matheny thought about challenging the call, but he would have lost.  The rule says that it is not a catch if the fielder, upon catching the ball, collides with another fielder or the wall and in the process, drops the ball.  That is exactly what happened to Grichuck (who should probably not have started this game anyway, but I digress), unfortunately.  Wainwright walked the next hitter in Hunter Pence, then gave up a flare to left field to Brandon Belt.  Bases loaded, no one out.  Waino got Brandon Crawford to strike out, but gave up another flare hit to left field to Travis Ishikawa.  1-0 Giants.  With two outs, Gregor Blaco hit a sharp grounder to Matt Carpenter, who misplayed the ball and failed to get the out.  2-0 Giants after 2.  Adam Wainwright at 50+ pitches (this will be important later).

I'm skipping over the Cardinals' bottom of the inning, and probably will for most of this recap, because there was simply nothing much to write about.  The top of the third started with consecutive base hits from Buster Posey and Sandoval.  Pence hit a ground ball up the middle that looked to be a sure double play, but Kolten Wong bobbled the play and got only one out at second base.  Brandon Belt hit a fly ball to center field to score Posey and make it 3-0 Giants.

That was it for the offense tonight - on both sides, basically.  Although Marco Gonzales began warming up in the top of the 4th inning, Matheny left Wainwright in.  He stayed in for the top of the 5th, as well, for unknown reasons.  After walking Sandoval and Belt, Matheny finally gave Wainwright the hook and brought in Marco Gonzales - which is the first time I can remember Gonzales coming in in the middle of an inning.  Turns out he can handle it just fine.  Wainwright's final line (I'm warning you, it is sad): 98 pitches, 4 2/3 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 2 Ks, 3 BBs.

Marco Gonzales pitched 1 2/3 innings of very good baseball.  He was lifted for Carlos Martinez in the top of the seventh with one out, after giving up YET ANOTHER hit to Pablo "Babe Ruth" Sandoval.  El Gallo struck out Hunter Pence, but walked Belt.  Choate came in to pitch to Crawford, and got the job done.  The 7th inning was...well-managed by Matheny.  Hmm.

The Cardinals threatened in the bottom of the 7th (dubbed "lucky seven" by tonight's Fox broadcasters- THANKS FOR THE JINX), but could not get a run across.  After Matt Adams popped out to right against an extreme shift, Yadier Molina and Jon Jay had consecutive base hits.  Kolten Wong (who, let's be honest, probably won't start against the next LHP after tonight's performance, because matchups) hit a soft grounder to the right side.  He ran his ass off and gave it his all to try to beat Bumgarner to the base.  Bumgarner ran into the baseline to tag Wong and cut him off just before he hit first base.  The Cardinals challenged this one on interference (or obstruction?) grounds, presumably, but lost.  As I understand it, because MadBum tagged Wong before he shoved him off the base path, it was, essentially, no harm, no foul.  A rare Tony Cruz appearance came next, but he sadly struck out to end the inning.

The 8th and 9th were uneventful.  Giants win Game 1 3-0.

Additional Notes

1. After the ground out by Wong, with runners on second and third in the 7th inning, Madison Bumgarner appeared to balk.  Yadi was standing at third base, and saw it immediately.  It was also obvious to the announcers, Tony Cruz, and basically every one watching the game who knows what a balk is.  The umpires didn't call it.  Did all six of them really miss it?  Were they just cold and wanting to go home?  Does MadBum get a break because he is MadBum?  Unclear.  But the truth is, it didn't matter anyway.  A 3-1 final score is still a loss.

2. Seth Maness came in to pitch the 8th inning.  He got three ground outs in a row.  Another silver lining, I suppose - he looked solid, getting one hitter to break his bat and all three of them to ground out weakly.  He stayed in for the ninth, with similar results (save for one fly out by Joe Panik).  The Cardinals bullpen as a whole did very well tonight - four pitchers combined for a total line of 4 1/3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 Ks, 1 BB.

3. Adam Wainwright is broken.  It took him 98 pitches to not even finish 5 innings.  He could not close out batters, he was missing location all over the place, and his fastball looked flat after the first inning (though his curve looked pretty good throughout).  I don't think this team can win the World Series without vintage Adam Wainwright.  But they can probably still GET there.  I'm not sure what the plan will be for Game 5 at this point.  We could throw Lynn out there on short rest, but then that requires Lackey and Miller to go on short rest, as well, for potential Games 6 and 7.  We could give Marco Gonzales a start in Game 5, 6, or 7.  Or we could give Michael Wacha a start.  Or, we can run Waino out there one more time just so we can really know for absolute sure that he's not himself.  What say you, VEB?  Please cast your vote below.

4. Tomorrow's game starts at 7:07 p.m. CT.  Lance Lynn vs. Jake Peavy.  I will be one of those really annoying media types and call this a must-win for the Redbirds.