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2015.09.04 Cardinals vs. Pirates Recap: Base hit into left field x ∞

So many hits...

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

pre game

pirates lineup:
Gregory Polanco 9
Josh Harrison 4
Andrew McCutchen 8
Jung-ho Kang 5
Starling Marte 7
Pedro Alvarez 3
Francisco Cervelli 2
Jordy Mercer 6
J.A. Happ 1

cardinals lineup:
Matt Carpenter 5
Stephen Piscotty 7
Jason Heyward 9
Jhonny Peralta 6
Brandon Moss 3
Yadier Molina 2
Kolten Wong 4
Peter Bourjos 8
Carlos Martinez 1


There are some games that simply do not require a recap. This game was one of those games. I am obligated by honor and duty to provide such a recap for you loyal readers, but really the entirety of this game can be summed up in this:

(Courtesy of Brooks Baseball)

This strikezone plot recounts the first plate appearance of the game, and is the only thing you really need to see to know how this game went. Nine pitches were thrown: three fourseamers, three changeups, and three curveballs. These pitches ranged in speed anywhere from ninety-nine to eighty-eight miles per hour, and the locations were varied across the strikezone and beyond. Pitch one was a fastball, way off the plate and completely unappealing to the batter, Polanco. Pitch two was another fastball right down the heart of the plate. While this pitch was in the zone, it was too much in the zone, but throwing ninety-nine can cover up errors like that. Pitch three was the third and final fastball, and was fouled away. With a quick 1-2 count having thrown nothing but fastballs, it appeared Carlos was going to make quick work of the Pirate leadoff man.

But then he could not command his secondary pitches.

Not a single pitch the rest of the plate appearance was even close to the strikezone, with the exception of pitch eight, a nice changeup. Take a look at the chart from the rest of the game.

I mean look at it! It is a mess. Compare that to when he threw eight scoreless innings against the Braves back on July 25 (Brooks goes back and tracks the pitches by hand, so this might explain the absence of sliders - I will need to recheck in the morning):

I do not know whether this can be attributed to an arm that is too tired, an arm that is too fresh, or just a plain clunker, but Carlos Martinez was not at his best tonight. Fortunately, Carlos Martinez not at his best is still a pretty damn good pitcher, able to gut through five innings pitched with five strikeouts, allowing four runs on seven hits and three walks. Not a remarkable start by any means, but far from horrendous.

In fact, Carlos looked to be the victim of some unfavorable batted ball luck in the top of the first, with two soft liners off the bats of Kang and Marte contributing to the Pirates first two runs of the game. For the next three innings Martinez appeared to be settling in, allowing no runs and only two hits in those frames. A single, a walk, and a two-out double by Marte would be his undoing, however, as the four-run deficit proved too great for even the Cardinals renowned Devil Magic to overcome.

Not that the team did not try. Admirably, even after a disastrous top of the ninth that included four singles to left field and a pinch-hit double by Travis Snider that all but officially put the game out of reach, the Cardinals did not quit. El Birdos cobbled together two runs and for like half a second you entertained the thought that they might actually pull this off, didn't you? But then Tommy Pham grounded out to end the game and the Pirates took game one nine to three.

stray thoughts:

  • Jason Heyward played centerfield again!
  • Jon Jay is back! Allow him to reintroduce himself.
  • Stephen Piscotty extended his hit streak to twelve games, I think.
  • This at least the third Friday in a row I have had to recap basically a blowout loss. Considering that the Cardinals have lost, what, like, less than 35% of their games, this ratio seems impossibly high. Who do they think I am, The Continental?
  • An umpire was hit in the field of play by a ball hit fairly hard. The embarrassment or the pain or both caused him to say "F*** me" and that was at least a top five most entertaining moment of the game for me.
  • The obvious pun for the title of this recap was Cardinals Happless or something, but I just could not do it.
  • The Pirates had seventeen hits tonight and ten of them were to left field.
  • This happened.
  • My beagle somehow got loose out of the backyard in the midst of writing this and was brawling in that beagle-way and chilling outside the front door waiting for me to let him in, which I appreciated. This really has no bearing on anything, I am just really proud of the lil fella for being so mature.

post game


Happ? Really? I thought this award would go to Marte, who had three big hits and three RBI, good for .224 WPA, but Happ pitched seven innings of shutout ball with eight (EIGHT, SERIOUSLY?) strikeouts, three hits, and no walks, for .297 WPA on the pitching side, .277 including his efforts at the plate.

Source: FanGraphs

Tomorrow Jaime Garcia toes the rubber against Charlie Morton at 3:05pm.