I'm not sure I can really add anything to this game that the score doesn't already tell you. It's somehow much worse though. For one thing, the Reds aren't good anymore. They have 58 wins now. The Cardinals won their 58th game on July 18. Add in a Reds lineup that has Joey Votto, Todd Frazier, senior citizen Brandon Phillips, whatever the hell happened to Jay Bruce, and spare parts and you have a lineup that shouldn't score 11 runs. (I'm being unfair to Eugenio Suarez, who's been very good at hitting)
On the mound for the Reds was rookie pitcher John Lamb, who was part of the Johnny Cueto deal. He's been a weird player so far. Before tonight's game, he had 33 strikeouts and 7 walks in 28 IP, which is quite good. Somehow, he had a 6.11 ERA. So it wouldn't have been a huge surprise if he came out and dominated. But he did not dominate. He walked six guys. He also struck out six guys. But a 1:1 K/BB ratio isn't dominating in any sense of the word. He also forced groundballs just 20 percent of the time, for a sterling 4.34 FIP and 6.10 xFIP. Of course, the Cardinals managed to get into two double plays anyway, which if you're wondering is exactly the number of groundballs he got.
It started off well enough. Matt Carpenter didn't take his bat off his shoulder and went to first base on five pitches. Hell, the strike called wasn't even a strike. Stephen Piscotty had to work for his walk, but seven pitches later he was also on base. First and second without even needing a hit. Unfortunately, the next three hitters decided to ignore what happened to the first two batters. I understand jumping on a struggling pitcher. He doesn't want to walk another guy so he might throw you one right down the middle. But he didn't do that. He kept throwing balls. This time, the Cardinals swung at them. Jhonny Peralta struck out. Jason Heyward struck out on a pitch in the dirt. Yadier Molina missed two pitches before having an ugly looking swing result in a pop up.
The worst inning was definitely the 3rd. Carpenter walked. In what I can only assume was a hit-and-run, Piscotty hit a groundball up the middle that Suarez grabbed, tagged 2nd, and threw to first for the double play. I'm pretty sure it was a hit-and-run, which makes no sense in that moment. He just walked Carpenter. The count was 2-0. I think Piscotty got a strike, but it wasn't a great pitch to hit. It was a great pitch to pound into the ground actually, which is what he did. Then Peralta lined a single, Heyward hit a pop up that fell for a single, and Molina walked. You know where this is going. Mark Reynolds had a nine-pitch PA that ultimately resulted in a predictable strikeout.
Jaime Garcia was like John Lamb except he had a bit more control and the Reds actually took advantage of his lack of control. With the bases loaded, forced by his second walk of the game (the first was to Joey Votto so I guess that doesn't really count), Garcia allowed his first run when the pitcher hit a chopper that was too slow to turn a double play. In the 3rd, he walked Jason Bourgeois (a 71 wRC+ hitter batting 2nd!! Seriously we lost 11-0 to that team) and allowed a single to Votto to make it runners on the corner. Another slow roller, another ball to slow to turn a double play.
The wheels fell off in the 5th though. Billy Hamilton used his speed to get an infield single. Garcia walked Bourgeois again. Garcia almost took off Votto's face and Votto looked pissed. Call me crazy, but I knew Votto was going to kill the ball then. He looked like he wanted to murder it. He didn't exactly murder the baseball but he hit a high flyball down the left field line that Piscotty couldn't quite reach. It's here where I would have taken Garcia out. Matheny didn't. Phillips got a sacrifice fly to score the fourth run and Todd Frazier doubled home the fifth run. He brought in Randy Choate, who threw a wild pitch and then a sac fly to make it 6-0.
I kind of checked out at this point. I didn't change the channel. I think I fell asleep for like 20 minutes, but it's hard to say since when I woke up nothing had changed. It felt like 20 minutes. Mitch Harris came in. He didn't do that good. Sam Tuivailala came in. He didn't do good. He had some good pitching sequences where he looked awesome, but he also allowed a home run and a double. A bunch of Cardinals played and Tony Cruz played third base. Nothing about this game was positive. As a Matt Carpenter walk enthusiast, I couldn't even take pleasure in his 2 BB night.
- Peter Bourjos went 0-4 with 3 Ks. Yeah I don't know, I guess we should start Tommy Pham. I'm not the biggest fan of his, but Jay looks hurt, Bourjos is looking like if I were to walk into the stadium and try to get a hit off Aroldis Chapman, and Randal Grichuk literally can't throw. (For the record, if I faced Aroldis Chapman, I would stand there and pray and never swing and hope he walks me.)
- The Cardinals used none of their good relievers I guess. Bright side? (Semantics: Tui might be good. But there's no way Matheny is going to use him in a high leverage situation anyway. Perhaps important to Mike relievers is more apt.)
- Matt Adams came into the game! And lined a single that would usually be a double, but he played it safe and let Grichuk pinch-run for him.
Tomorrow, the Cardinals try to rebound by facing Michael Lorenzon. Unlike Lamb, who had good peripherals, but a bad ERA, he has awful peripherals to go along with his bad ERA. He faces John Lackey. Cards should win, but baseball.