This evening's contest pitted old friend Kyle Lohse against our own pitcher / Missouri black bear Lance Lynn.
Lohse is off to an excellent start (4-1, 2.38 ERA, 2.91 FIP, 3.49 xFIP coming into tonight), and his K/9 was sitting at 8.21 in contrast to 5.69 over his career. Maybe the Brewers' clubhouse is giving him two orange slices with his Orange Slice now.
Lynn has also been very good (4-1, 3.30 ERA, 3.52 FIP, 3.00 xFIP) on the young season. Tonight he would try to match Wainwright, Kile, Tewksbury, and Denny as the only Cardinals to have won 5 games in a single March/April.
Coming into the game, the Brewers owned the best record in MLB at 19-7 (.731). The Cardinals were looking up at them, 5.5 games back.
Currently, the Brewers are a M*A*S*H unit, with Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez, and Jean Segura all out with injuries. A Ram left early last night after being hit by pitch on the elbow. Mix in a night off for Jonathan Lucroy and the Brewers lineup looked pretty thin.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals slotted Randal Grichuk into CF for his first major league start.
Lynn apparently does not have a personal catcher, as Yadier Molina started rather than Tony Cruz.
And some additional availability notes from the indefatigable Cardinals beat writers:
Matheny reveals that Kevin Siegrist has been unavailable the last few games (back tightness). He is ready to pitch tonight for #stlcards— Jenifer Langosch (@LangoschMLB) April 29, 2014
Things started well enough. Lynn had a 1-2-3 first, taking him 20 pitches to put away the three batters.
In the bottom of the frame, an Allen Craig walk and a Matt Adams double set the table for Molina. Then Yadi took a belt-high sinker deep to LF for a 3 - 0 lead.
In the second, Grichuk covered a lot of ground to make a nice sliding catch on a Lyle Overbay fly to left center.
@rui_xu Yes I can :)— Randal Grichuk (@RGrich15) February 4, 2014
Later in the inning Randal would record his first MLB hit, a liner into left for a single. In the third he showed off both his speed and his arm a little. The first three innings, at least, were a nice preview of what Grichuk can do.
The fourth is when it all came undone for Lynn. Scooter Gennett lead off with a single and after that, Lynn had trouble putting anyone away. The low point came with two out when either by design or misfortune Lance walked the 8th place batter Martin Maldonado on four straight to load the bases. As if in answer to this hubris, Lohse dumped a base hit into left that scored two and tied the game. The inning featured two walks, two wild pitches, and a high overall pitch count for Lynn.
Despite the high pitch count, Lynn came back out for the fifth. Likely due to his spot leading off in the bottom of the inning and the recent bullpen usage. Surprisingly the inning went 1-2-3.
Meanwhile Lohse pitched well, scattering 6 hits with 9 K's and 1 walk over 6 innings.
In the seventh, Carlos Gomez took Tyler Lyons deep to left for a solo shot and a 4-3 lead. The home run came with two outs in Lyons' second inning of work. He hadn't allowed a baserunner up to then.
In the bottom of the seventh, pinch-hitter Peter Bourjos lead off with a walk, Matt Carpenter would trade places with him on a fielder's choice, then Craig would drive him home with a triple (a triple!) down the RF line. It didn't hurt that Elian Herrera laid out for it and came up short. Tied again at 4-4.
Pat Neshek threw two solid innings covering the eight and ninth to get the game into extras.
Cardinals bats were unable to do much of anything in extras against the Brewers Tyler Thornburg and Francisco Rodriguez.
In the 11th Khris Davis doubled off Kevin Siegrist. After Lyle Overbay failed to get down a sac bunt on 3 attempts, he drove him home with a single up the middle off Ellis' glove to take the lead 5-4. Ballgame.
Highest WPA: Craig .289, Neshek .228, Molina .211
Lowest WPA: Grichuk -.287, Carpenter -.279, Siegrist -.189
The Next Game
Tomorrow (okay, later today) Matt Garza takes on Shelby Miller at 12:45 Central to wrap up both this series against the Brew Crew as well as the month of April. Personally, I'm ready to see what May has to offer.
Random note: The Cardinals are 0-4 on Wednesdays this season.
The Game Notes
Scorecard courtesy Thirty81Project.com