Today was the type of loss you would point to as typical for the 2014 season: good pitching, but not good enough to overcome the offense of the St. Louis Cardinals. At least yesterday, the Cardinals lost with some offense, although the Cardinals' offense has a way of always being disappointing no matter how many runs they score because they should have scored more.
Adam Wainwright pitched good, but he's pitched the same type of good game he's been pitching in the second half: not dominant and spotty command (for him). Sure, he has some real nice looking pitches tonight, but he fell behind an atypical number of batters and started slow. Of course, the only reason I'm mentioning this is because of Wainwright's first half, when he was a legitimate candidate for the Cy Young. (I suppose due to his 2.34 ERA, he's still a legitimate candidate, but I've pretty much conceded he's no longer got a chance)
Wainwright allowed a single to the first batter he faced, a slow roller that found a hole. He then walked Giancarlo Stanton, although with two strikes, there was a close call that could very well have been called a strike. Plus, you know it was Giancarlo Stanton so if you're going to walk a guy, why not him? Casey McGehee then singled to right field, and the Marlins elected not to test Oscar Taveras' arm. It was ultimately a poor decision as the throw was not good, but to be fair Christian Yelich had not yet touched third when the ball touched Taveras' glove. This proved costly as Wainwright promptly struck out the next two batters escaping without allowing a run.
In the 4th, McGehee led off with a double. McGehee is one of those players who feels way better against the Cardinals than they are against the 29 other teams. (I've looked up the stats and it's not actually that big of a difference. I remain skeptical) Jarrod Saltalamacchia singled him home to make it 1-0. Then former Cardinal Donovan Solano hit his 7th career career home run in his 877th career plate appearance. It looked like a foul ball until it wasn't and it hit the foul pole barely above the wall. Wainwright then faced the minimum for the next three innings, only allowing a single to Yelich, who was erased by a Stanton double play ball (actually he had two DP 6-4-3 plays tonight).
How best to describe the Cardinals offense tonight? Well, if Mark Ellis hadn't started for Matt Adams at first, they would have been no-hit until the 7th inning. So the Cardinals took a break from their usual offense of many singles, few runs to have even less singles and fewer runs. Their best opportunity came in the 6th when Ellis led off with a single. After a failed bunt attempt and flyout by Wainwright (his attempts at bunts tonight were... ugly), Matt Carpenter got on base from an error by Garrett Jones. Alas, Kolten Wong grounded into a force out barely avoiding a double play and Matt Holliday struck out - on a fastball right down the middle.
Technically they had an identical chance in the 9th, but with 1st and 3rd and two outs, Mike Matheny pinch-hit for Oscar Taveras with Matt Adams. One issue: a lefty was in the bullpen and clearly coming in after he walked Jon Jay (who I'm sure was pitched to by a righty because he's been better against lefties this year). I would take almost any other player over Matt Adams against a lefty except for Daniel Descalso (who of course made an appearance today because no recap written by me is complete without a Descalso appearance). That includes Taveras, the man he pinch-hit for. Anyway, Adams struck out and Matheny was none the wiser.
- This is written really late because I forgot I was scheduled to recap tonight. Thankfully, I watched most of the game and this was remarkably easy to recap.
- Jon Jay is on a bit of a roll lately. He walked and singled today, as he and Ellis were the only men to get on base multiple times.
- Wainwright final line: 7 IP, 4 Ks, 7 H, HR, BB, 3 ER - And for what it's worth he had a 3.14 xFIP, which is better than his season xFIP (he had a 60 GB%)
Tomorrow, the Cardinals try to avoid a sweep with Justin Masterson facing Nathan Eovaldi. Eovaldi is a tantalizing tease who had a 2.84 xFIP with a 8.93 K/9 through his first seven starts, but it has since fallen to 3.90 xFIP and 6.26.