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Cardinals vs Twins recap: Lackey pitches eight, insults Yadi, Yadi homers, Cards win 3-2

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On a rainy night in St. Louis, the Cards slugged their way to a win.

Maybe a little too salty, tbh.
Maybe a little too salty, tbh.
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Twins are this season's favorite team for your sabermetric baseball fan, because whenever they and their shiny record (34-28 before the game) are mentioned, we get to disabuse the world of the notion that they're actually any good.

Like so:

According to Fangraphs' BaseRuns metric, above, the Twins have outscored their expected run differential (+2 before the night started) by 50 runs. So not only is their actual record better than their pythagorean win expectancy, but their pythagorean record itself is inflated. They're just not that good. They haven't earned their record the way the Cardinals have!

Um, okay. Don't look back at that chart. Stupid chart anyway. Instead look at this murky shot of John Mozeliak and his blue gingham shirt:

John Lackey

The salty one! He pitched! I still dislike him!

In fact, listen to this: John Lackey actually got into it with Yadier damn Molina in the dugout for some reason late in this game, and I was honestly ready to grab my brass knuckles and run to St. Louis because one thing you do not do is that.

At any rate, here are Lackey's stats on the night:

  • 8.0 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
  • 100 pitches, 74 strikes, 12 whiffs, 1 inning-ending double play behind him
  • 9 ground balls, 11 fly balls (1 IFFB), and 2 line drives

He looked good, shenanigans with Yadi aside, especially after the shambles of last week's start against the Rockies. His fastball sometimes reminds me of Lance Lynn's: just really hard for a righthanded hitter to square up, with late, boring (bore-ing) movement. And it's not always like that of course, but with his very good command, he can get away with the occasional flat pitch.

He pitched well but not perfectly. So much for Lackey.

Byron Buxton

Buxton was Keith Law's top prospect before being promoted to Minnesota's big-league club on Sunday. (Kris Bryant was the preseason consensus number-one prospect, but now of course he's in Chicago manifesting as the baseballing avatar of Shiva the Destroyer.)

Buxton is a gorgeous runner and has a fluidity on defense that reminds me a little bit of a young Torii Hunter or, better actually, our very own milk-cartoned center fielder Peter Bourjos. In the second inning Buxton tracked back on a long fly ball by I mean who else but Randal Grichuk, and as Buxton tracked all the way to the wall his head was absolutely steady and his eyes were following the ball's trajectory like a hawk's--and then he reached the right-center wall just as Grichuk's fly ball did but must've taken his eyes off the ball ever so slightly--

and as he careered toward the wall, oh no, the alpha delta gamma dude yelling, "Watch out, Byron!"--

but too late, because then wall, ground--

and another triple for Randal Grichuk. He scored a few minutes later on a Jon Jay bloop to left. 1-0 Cardinals.

Buxton was shaken, but merely shaken, and he stayed in the game, going 1 for 3 along with some really rangy defense.

Here let me digress to add that there was at least one fly ball (Brian Dozier's leadoff ground-rule double in the 4th) that both Grichuk and Bourjos would have gotten to but Jon Jay, starting center fielder, did not. Ditto possibly for Joe Mauer's double in the sixth, though possibly also not.

And don't even talk to me about the "diving" catch Jay made not five minutes later.

The Fourth Inning, Its Taters

Mainly here's what happened in the fourth: Mark Reynolds hit a home run to left field and then Yadier Molina did the same. This is in the span of two pitches. 3-0 Cardinals. It was Mark's fifth home run of the season and, famously, Yadi's first.

The Twins would push a run across in the seventh on a Kurt Suzuki RBI single after a Trevor Plouffe double, and another in the eighth on a sac fly to score Buxton.

Otherwise: nothing. Kevin Siegrist closed out the game with a strikeout, groundout, HBP, and finally the classic laser-line-drive-induced-right-at-Matt-Carpenter.

Good game, see you tomorrow.

Notes:

  • Matt Carpenter walked once, struck out once, had no hits, and made the game-saving catch. He will start hitting again someday. Maybe tomorrow, even.
  • Sugar Shane Robinson received not only a partial standing ovation when he stepped into the batter's box for the Twins in the top of the sixth; he also received an ovation after he then singled on a line drive up the middle. Cardinals fans!
  • Sugar Shane!--
  • In the sixth, Jason Heyward hit a hard short-hopper to second but beat out the double-play throw because he is very fast. Speed is important. For example, the wise Cardinals crowd gave Byron Buxton an ovation after he hit a triple in the eighth inning, his first major-league hit.
  • /gazes at Bourjos milk carton/
  • Curiously--or again perhaps not--Trevor Rosenthal did not close out this one-run game and must not have been available. Luckily: Kevin Siegrist. Still, it bears watching.
Fangraphs graph of win expectancy:


Source: FanGraphs

Game two of two (or two of four) is scheduled to take place Tuesday afternoon at 12:45 central, Michael Wacha facing off against Kyle Gibson.

EDIT:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Trevor Rosenthal was unavailable tonight due to right arm tightness, per Matheny. Right now, <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/stlcards?src=hash">#stlcards</a> not anticipating DL stint for him.</p>&mdash; Jenifer Langosch (@LangoschMLB) <a href="https://twitter.com/LangoschMLB/status/610653900534886400">June 16, 2015</a></blockquote>
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