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Cardinals vs Brewers Recap: Garcia induces grounders, can't induce Cards to score. Cards lose, 1-0

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Cardinals drop first game of series despite out-hitting and out-pitching the Beermakers.

Jaime's posture denotes not sadness but pre-sadness.
Jaime's posture denotes not sadness but pre-sadness.
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Baseball is good. Some baseball outcomes are not.

Jaime Garcia

The main thing with Garcia these days is that every single pitch he throws simultaneously (1) could be his last and (2) is a tea leaf we try to see his future in. It makes for exciting viewing, even when the game occurring around him is as dull as a butter knife.

Jaime has made it to his third start of the season. But how did he look? He looked by turns extremely shaky, then less shaky, then very good--and then at times he even looked like the rotation stalwart we've been dreaming on, but only rarely enjoying, the past few years.

In the first couple of innings Garcia definitely had trouble locating his pitches, with specific difficulty keeping the ball down. Here are his pitches in the first inning:

He was leaving too many pitches up, that's obvious, and despite having what looked like the usual whiffley movement on his pitches, the Brewers were able to square them up for just enough hits to bring home a run: 1-0, Brewers.

Just the one run, though. And in the following innings Garcia would regain a somewhat better sense of command (especially of his curveball) to go along with his pitches' customary shuttlecock movement, leading to oodles and oodles of ground balls from Milwaukee's hitters.

Here's Jaime's final line:

  • 7 IP, 3 H (2 infield hits), 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K;
  • 86 pitches, 55 strikes;
  • 15 ground balls, 2 fly balls, 3 line drives, 6 swinging strikes.

Hold on: FIFTEEN GROUND BALLS, in seven innings, good for a groundball percentage of 75%! That's encouraging, even if he didn't strike out many or even get many swinging strikes (in fact half of them came in one Gerardo Parra at-bat). My working theory right now, which is when I'm working on it, is the following:

  1. Jaime's pitches are as hard to square up as ever, leading to many groundballs;
  2. Jaime's command is not yet as good as in the past;
  3. When Jaime's command improves (just roll with me here), some of the weak grounders will turn into swinging strikes, because so much movement (#1, supra) commanded well (I said roll with me man) is basically the definition of unhittable.

That's the recipe of success for Jaime Garcia, which hopefully someone's told him. In the meantime, all the ground balls led to seven very good innings, including the fifth, which ended on a groundball double play.

The Rest of the Game

Mike Fiers is a good pitcher, but I would not have guessed that he (and Jonathan Broxton and Francisco Rodriguez) would prevent the Cardinals from scoring even one run. Which is what they did! Eight hits but no runs. Here are some things that happened, but just know that the Cardinals never score and ultimately lose at the end.

In the top of the fourth, Jhonny Peralta fielded a grounder and made a poor throw to first that Mark Reynolds scooped for the out. Pretty good play by Reynolds!

Here's that play as shown live by Fox Sports Midwest:

Without hyperbole I can say that that camera view is the worst thing in our world or any other.

In the sixth inning, Yadier Molina singled on a liner up the middle; he was stranded when Heyward popped up for the third out, but look at this pitch that Yadier hit!

In the eighth inning, this happened:

  1. Kolten Wong single;
  2. Matt Carpenter strikeout on high fastball;
  3. Matt Holliday single to right, Wong advancing to third;
  4. Peralta strikes out swinging;
  5. Yadier strikes out swinging.

But then in the NINTH Inning, first this happened:

And then a final scintilla of hope before darkness descended:

  1. Jason Heyward single to left;
  2. Mark Reynolds struck out swinging;
  3. Jon Jay struck out swinging;
  4. Jason Heyward stole second;
  5. Peter Bourjos walked (this was a great PA even though he never swung the bat);
  6. Heyward was nearly picked off second, though the call was upheld by review;
  7. Kolten Wong grounded out to first base for the final out of the game.

So the Cardinals lost, just like I warned you.

Notes:

  • Jonathan Lucroy returned from the DL and immediately framed the Brewers to a win.
  • Matt Holliday walked in his first at-bat of the game; his streak now stands at 45 consecutive games to start the season.
  • Commissioner Rob Manfred and superhero Adam Wainwright were both interviewed by the Fox Sports Midwest announcers. I didn't like Manfred's tie and I HATED the fact that Wainwright has a broken achilles.

Win expectancy:


Source: FanGraphs

Second game of the series is Tuesday night at Busch, Lance Lynn squaring off against rookie Tyler Cravy at 7:15 central.