Jaime Garcia vs Matt Cain tonight. Jaime rolled into today's game on a great season at 1.57 ERA while inducing a ground ball every 2 out of 3 hits. Cain meanwhile has had a terrible season at 4.68 SIERA and a 36.8% hard hit ball against, by far the highest in his career, even including last year and other off years for him.
To start out, Juan Perez robbed Stephen Piscotty and the Cardinals of some sort of extra base hit, looked like it would've possibly been a home run to me. He literally ran up the wall to catch the ball in right center, as well as positioned himself perfectly for the execution of the catch. Have not seen many plays like it in my life, watching baseball since the early 80's as a kid (an era chock full of defensive maneuvers).
Juan Perez, a short man by most athletic standards, was not able to catch up with the next hit ball into play, a Yadier Molina screamer to the gap between center and right, which helped the Cardinals score Jhonny Peralta to put a run on the board in the first.
When Jaime Garcia is pitching, and the camera zooms in on the ball, in slow motion, it is astonishing to see how much perfect spin is on the ball when it is breaking at the batter, & then right back into a difficult part of the strike zone. He also messes up sometimes, like when he hit Brandon Crawford in the 2nd.
But Garcia had things under control. He got out of the 2nd unscathed despite putting a man on base with a hit by pitch. And he dealt the Cards a great hand in the 3rd inning.
By the bottom of the third, the lineup had reset itself. With Matt Carpenter leading off, the inning ended up being productive. It wasn't Matt Carpenter though, that produced a run, as he flied out. It was Stephen Piscotty destroying a weak slider which was detected by the baseball eliminating system of Stepisco, Inc.
I thought this kid would be good, but he's been REAL good. After the home run his wRC+ went up to 146. Since he was born in 1991, there seems to be a narrative emerging about young, great hitting Cardinals outfielders that are well balanced on defense (not so much Piscotty, but he's no slouch in left). Randal Grichuk, also born in 1991, has a 144 wRC+ and is pretty well known for his defense. And new addition Jason Heyward is just a couple of years older than these two, is having himself a good offensive season as well, while continuing to be an elite right fielder.
With such a low ERA on the season, Jaime Garcia pitched with great confidence tonight. He challenged hitters, utilized many pitches and approaches, and made few mistakes. And when he did he was able to not let those mistakes effect him. It wasn't until the 5th inning that the Giants got their 2nd hit. And then the 3rd. The Giants definitely started to get to Jaime, and this ended with the pitcher Matt Cain sacrificing his fly for an RBI.
The Cardinals offense got real quiet for a while, and next thing you know Garcia is pitching again and Brandon Crawford is singling and a run was scored. Sometimes I work too much. Emails are sent, baseball is missed. OK.
This game was tied 2-2. The announcers showed the Juan Perez catch again, one of the best of the season, Al Hrbosky admitted, somewhat reluctantly. Jaime Garcia let a runner on, taunting the fates. Cain sacrificed a bunt this time, sort of a temporary raft for the runner to reach point #2. Ferry'd along, the Giants finally pushed Jaime Garcia out of the game.
Despite only 2 runs scoring under Garcia's timepiece, he was charged with three, because a Kelby Tomlinson hit one towards a slick outfield in a good spot after Cishek was summoned. 3-2 Giants. I then stretched during the 7th to obtain a cold beverage (Fixed Gear from Lakefront Brewery, Inc.), and when I came back I was again treated by Yadi throwing out a baserunner. Thou shalt drink good beer, thou shalt not run on Yadier Molina.
Someone with the last name of Osich, first name of Josh, who had a miniscule ERA, entered the game in the 7th. Young Tommy Pham of VEB phamdom got himself a single. Then the hated one, Brandon Moss, was at bat. The Mossman knocked a tapper and got on base. Two on, no out. Then the Cardinals put the ball into play again, I suppose you could say manufactured a run, 3-3 due to Matt Carpenter's fielder's choice single.
Hunter Strickland was able to get the Pisco Kid to strike out. Peralta was up, 1-3 on the night at the time in the seventh. He was quickly at 0-2 and fouling off baseballs to stay alive. He was just able to fly out when he did hit the ball, despite usually being a great fastball hitter.
The game tied, Siegrist was brought forth in the eighth. What looked like quite possibly strike 3 on a 3-2 count, ended up being a walk because the ump had a different opinion than me. Then Buster Posey was up, one of the best hitters around; however, he had to face the 'Grist. Siegrist did not let anything happen on his watch.
Last night I was contemplating whether or not Yadier Molina was some kind of MVP candidate, based soley on intangibles. Think, a player that exists beyond quantification. Yadi might be the best candidate of all time for that, but maybe I'm being a total homer. Well lo and behold, Yadier Molina is on a roll, and had another total homer tonight, putting up an RBI at a time when both teams were tied in hits as well as men left on base... and most importantly, in runs.
The Giants went to their bullpen again and brought in Lopez to pitch to Pham. The newb had a walk in this instance. So the Giants, not liking the performance of Lopez, went to the bullpen again to summon Kontos to oppose Kozma. Pete was not able to do anything, so it was up to Jason Heyward. It ended up that Yadi's 100th MLB home run was the only run of the 8th.
#44 Closenthal then was the stopper and he threw a 96 mph fastball for a high strike to begin his outing. He then floated in a wicked changeup which left the batter confused. Then he went back to that high heat and the guy didn't have a chance. Strike 1, strike 2, strike 3, dead. For the next batter he brought it up to 98mph and then popped up the hitter for a very catchable foul ball for Mark Reynolds (who had a sharply hit single tonight I might add).
The Giants PH Bumgarner again, and Trevor threw 98 mph high heat at him. Then a crazy looking 97 mph pitch that was outside, it had weird movement on it. Then Trevor threw an 89 mph changeup that did even weirder things, I'm not sure I can describe what it did but it was sick, sick, sick. To strike out Bumgarner, Trevor just blew him away with more high heat for his 38th save on the season at 1.44 ERA. Ridiculous.
Yadi gets hitter of the game and Rosie is the pitcher of the game by WPA. Garcia was not at his best tonight, far from it, but he was also quite effective, since he induced a lot of grounders and was able to get out of tight situations for the most part.
Typical nailbiter with the Giants tonight. This time the Cards prevailed, taking the series from the Giants. Baseball will not be with us for a while, at least in Cardinals form. Next time to tune is at 9:10pm on Friday night, if you are not blacked out by then! Ca$hner with a 4.20 ERA vs SaltLackey with his sub 3.00 ERA. The Salty Cowboy is having himself a damn fine season. Petco Park and the Padres will take on the Cardinals on the road, til then, true believer!