This game... was weird.
Watching a game that you will be recapping is a difficult thing to explain. For me, I watch every play a little differently than I otherwise would. Not only am I paying extra attention to technical aspects for later critique, but I also attempt to make note of any narrative to explore, any pattern to investigate, or any key point to focus on. Normally, these things just sort of write themselves. But in a game like this, what is a girl to do?
Crusty old-man Lackey shows young whipper-snappers he still knows a thing or two
Kolten Wong atones for early defensive gaffe
Cardinal bullpen soils bed with rare lapse of control
Cardinal Devil Magic in peak form for playoff push
See what I mean? It is confusing. Where do I even begin with this? Let's try starting with ole Crusty. John Lackey was his typically Lackey self this evening, allowing an early run thanks to a defensive blunder by Wong, but then settling in to shutdown the Nationals offense. He went on to pitch six solid innings, with eight strikeouts and gave up only four hits and two runs, one earned. That is the dominating part. The not-so-dominating part was the four walks on the night, but thanks to some fortunate batted-ball luck, Lackey was able to escape those jams mostly unharmed.
The Cardinals got to Gio Gonzalez in the bottom of fourth when Molina lined a single just beyond the reach of right-fielder Bryce Harper, who was playing incredibly deep. Back-to-back singles from Wong and Reynolds plated a pair of runs to give the Cardinals a three to one lead, one that felt very comfortable to this writer for whatever reason.
The Nationals plated another run in the sixth on a double-play ball, and then went to work on the Cardinal bullpen in the seventh. Two walks by Kevin Siegrist would turn out to be a back-breaker after Zimmerman sent his thirteenth home run of the year over the left-field wall.
Mark Reynolds and Brandon Moss predictably got things started in the seventh, but unfortunately Moss was erased on a double-play by Greg Garcia. It was at this point I was resigned to a loss, but the Cardinals were not. Matt Carpenter worked a walk, then after back-to-back singles by Piscotty and Peralta to tie the game, Heyward doubled to give the Cardinals a seven-to-five lead. Kolten Wong singled to score Heyward for good measure.
Trevor Rosenthal returned from paternity leave to pitch the ninth. It was eventful, to say the least. With zero outs, Yadier Molina threw the trailing runner out tying to steal second on an ill-advised double steal (I am assuming - I actually missed it as I was watching via peeking through my fingers at this point) and somehow, mercifully, Rosie escaped the ninth with no runs scored. Cardinals win number eighty-five!
- Jason Heyward started this game in center, which I enjoy.
- The Cubs posted a loss and the Pirates were off today, which is good.
- Prior to this, I had recapped two whole losses in a row and thought I was in for a third, so I am very happy the team won!
- Cheap Drinks tomorrow!
LIL SCOOTER'S LIL PLAYER OF THE GAME
Jason Heyward gets this esteemed award tonight, just barely edging out Jhonny Peralta in WPA .318 to .300. Ryan Zimmerman technically leads all players with a whopping .628 WPA, but he lost so he can't win. Sorry, Ryan, but those are the rules I just made up.
Pretty decent Isrignhausen Curve on this Win Expectancy graph:
<iframe src="http://www.fangraphs.com/graphframe.aspx?config=0&static=0&type=livewins&num=0&h=450&w=450&date=2015-08-31&team=Cardinals&dh=0" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" height="450" width = "450" style="border:1px solid black;"></iframe><br /><span style="font-size:9pt;">Source: <a href="http://www.fangraphs.com/livewins.aspx?date=2015-08-31&team=Cardinals&dh=0&season=2015">FanGraphs</a></span>
Tomorrow night Marco Gonzalez will get the start in place of Carlos Martinez as the Cardinals use the September callups as a way to get the first-year starter some rest. Opposing him will be Joe Ross. Game time is slated for 7:15pm.