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Game Recap 7/29/15: Cardinals Lose In Pitcher's Duel To Jay Bruce Solo Homer

Jay Bruce's solo shot off of John Lackey was the deciding factor in a 1 run game. The Cardinals lose to the Reds and the Pirates gain a game, lurking at 4.5 games out in their Pirate boat or whatever they do. The big loss was an injury to Matt Holliday.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

John Lackey looked like a seasoned vet tonight having about as good a game as he could pitch... but with no run support. He was painting the black like Kyle Lohse did a number of times in recent years, but had better pitches. His curve was definitely on, his location was nothing less than impeccable for the most part (but not so much in the second inning), and he was quite efficient.

Inning-by-Inning Pitch Totals
Inning Pitches in Inning Strikes in Inning Strike% in Inning Cumulative Total Pitches Pitch LWTS in Inning
1 8 8 100.00 8 -0.862
2 18 14 77.78 26 0.596
3 10 10 100.00 36 -0.350
4 13 11 84.62 49 -0.862
5 12 6 50.00 61 -0.518
6 10 5 50.00 71 -0.848
7 7 5 71.43 78 -0.834
8 7 6 85.71 85 -0.848

Unfortunately, the Reds pitcher with the difficult to syllablize last name, DeSclafani, was pretty similar in effectiveness.

It ended up being a game of threes for Anthony, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts, and 3 hits allowed with no runs in 7 innings. For Lackey, baseball proved why it can be so difficult. Even when you have your best stuff, when you allow only 2 hits over 8 innings and only walk 1 person, while striking out nearly 3x more batters than the other guy with a K per inning, you can still not get the accolades of winning. Even though JL didn't win, he surely pitched a tough game, here's how he mixed the speed of his pitches:

The Cardinals lost a cornerstone to their offense early. The goliath Matt Holliday re-tore his quad. At first, to me it looked like a hamstring, but I suppose I wanted to forget the quad injury. It is likely that Holliday will lose some significant playing time. Read more about it right here at Viva El Birdos. The big man barely could make it off the field and collapsed onto the dugout floor. It was a little difficult to watch knowing just how competitive he is and the frustration of already having missed 5 weeks of his livelihood.

So maybe Waino and Holliday come back at the end of the season, the reinforcements finally returning. But that's for another time to know. For now, back to the show.

The only run Lackey gave up was a big one that ruined his chance for that mark of excellence known as the W stat . The game can be awfully frustrating at times. You can do your best and it will have no effect in the end outcome. This is a binary sport, it's win or lose, no in between. Sure, ties might be interesting, but so are extra innings.

I typed that last sentence just as Yadi struck out to end the game. I was hoping he might hit that last one out of the park, but Aroldis Chapman is pitching 102. That's not easy to catch up with when you're behind, even if it's just by one run. The offense was a day late and Lackey was a dollar short tonight.

Reynolds and Molina both had some opportune moments at the plate but failed to capitalize. The big loss was Holliday though. This less than arbitrary endpoint has Holliday at 135 wRC+. Holliday's batting average was way down in July, but he retained his ability to take a lot of walks. So really, what will be sorely missed is his .370+ on-base percentage which is the best on the team. The ghost of Matt Carpenter is next best OBP.

Speaking of recent months, Matt Carpenter has dropped off a cliff.

2015 Mar/Apr 10.4 % 11.5 % 0.91 .372 .438 .651 1.089 .279 .403 22 11.3 .460 201
2015 May 12.7 % 24.5 % 0.52 .269 .364 .473 .837 .204 .317 16 4.3 .360 132
2015 Jun 16.3 % 22.4 % 0.73 .190 .337 .241 .577 .051 .259 8 -2.9 .273 72
2015 Jul 12.0 % 19.0 % 0.63 .172 .280 .264 .544 .092 .197 6 -4.5 .254 59

It is sad to say, but something is seriously wrong with how much he is devolving at the plate. Whether it's exhaustion, a hidden injury he's playing through, or something unbeknownst to anyone, it is looking like a problem.

Source: FanGraphs

The Reds offense was full of negative WPA except for Bruce, who only had one RBI... It was a big run though, since the Cardinals couldn't score. Their bullpen and starter held the Cardinals down in this one run game.

Tune in tomorrow for a game at Busch Stadium just minutes after 6pm CST. The astoundingly talented Carlos Martinez takes on  the Rockies and the great threat that is Rusin. Now that was a play on words... Rusin's name I have no idea how to pronounce and I've not heard of him before that I can recall. His 3.87 SIERA is no match for Martinez's 3.43, but with baseball you never know. Now the outfield could consist of any of the following: Heyward, Grichuk, Bourjos, Piscotty, Pham, with Jay somewhere in the mix I suppose. That's at least 5 outfielders.

Sure they may continue the experiment with Piscotty at first base and they have enough outfielders to do so, but I suppose this diminishes the chances that Pisco will be a major factor at first by a sizable amount... a trade now being more likely one would think.

Gamethread Quotable:

GOB payback

Beat Shelby 1-0 on two hits

2015 theme song: ??