Shelby Miller pitched poorly, the Cardinals offense hit into some poor luck, and this here is the third part of your standard game-recap introductory sentence--as the Cardinals lost to the Royals 6-0 at Busch Stadium on Monday night.
This game will never have to be played again, and it will only ever count as one loss.
I'll just give you some facts about Shelby's start:
Shelby pitched seven full innings and one batter into the eighth before being removed by Matheny. He struck out two batters and walked just one. He threw 95 pitches, 64 of them strikes. He allowed one home run--to Alex Gordon, in the seventh.
Royals hitters put 26 balls in play against Shelby, over half of which were ground balls. His BABIP for the game was .240. PITCH f/x says he threw a four-seam fastball 52 times, a two-seamer 16 times, and a curveball 26 times.
Crucially, though, only twice did a Royals hitter swing and miss at one of Shelby's pitches: Mike Moustakas swung through a curveball in the second inning, and Norichika Aoki whiffed on a fastball in the sixth.
One game is one game is one game. Either suddenly or eventually, Shelby could bounce back with the hit-and-miss stuff that made him so exciting when he first broke into the majors--but until he does, I'll be brooding on his declining SwStr%, which in the past three years has gone from 12.2% (largely out of the bullpen in 2012), to 9.0% last year, to his current 7.3%.
In the eighth inning, Shelby was replaced by Randy Choate after giving up a sharp groundball single to Omar Infante--who later scored thanks to Choate and Jason Motte--and when he got back to the dugout he threw what looked like a desperate, despondent, angry fit. Joe Kelly came and stood in front of him, his back to Shelby, to give him some privacy and to shield him from the cameras--which is what best friends do--but you could still see Shelby throwing his glove and clutching his head.
It must be terrible to be great at something and then not be.
Oscar went 0-3 on the night, flying out to left field in the second inning, striking out looking in the fifth, and grounding out softly to the pitcher in the eighth.
His at-bat against Royals starter Danny Duffy in the fifth inning was notable in that Taveras battled back from an 0-2 count and managed to lay off a 3-2 pitch from Duffy that ended up wide of the strike zone.
*trenchant moment of silence*
UNFORTUNATELY, the home-plate umpire was of the predictable opinion that the pitch caught the corner of the strike zone. Here's the pitch--I added helpful blue dashes to show that Royals catcher Salvador Perez's ENTIRE GLOVE is wide of the plate:
See? And Brooks Baseball and Pitch f/x pretty much agree with me, just lookee here:
So WHAT if that gets called a strike all the time to lefties. So WHAT if it's too close to take. How dare you ring up Oscar Taveras on that pitch!
*Peter Bourjos spotted in dugout reading book*
- ESPN announcer: "Shifting has gone hog wild...as a managerial tool."
- Danny Duffy pitched six inings, struck out five, gave up gobs of flyballs, and benefited from a .071 BABIP for the game. I wish him well.
- Randal Grichuk got the start in center field and went 1-4 with 3 Ks and a defensive error that allowed one run to score.
- While Matt Carpenter hit several balls on the nose, he went 0-fer on the night and so his 17-or-whatever-game hitting streak that no one really cares about ended, sadly.
- Matt Holliday worked a heck of an at-bat in the fourth inning when he walked on nine pitches and oh my god where have the homers gone, Matt? Matt?
Here is a WPA graph:
The series continues and also sort of wraps up tomorrow, Jaime Garcia versus James Shields at 6:15 central time.