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Cardinals @ Braves recap 4.10 - Waino struggles, but offense carries Birds to series sweep

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Wainwright struggles to find strikezone with his curveball, but an offensive surge crowned by 3-run homers by Moss and Carpenter and good relief work give the Cards a series sweep

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

St. Louis Cardinals @ Atlanta Braves

Adam Wainwright v. Williams Perez
12:35 p.m. CT 
Turner Field - Atlanta, Georgia

Today's Lineups -

Cardinals lineup: Matt Carpenter (3B), Jeremy Hazelbaker (CF), Stephen Piscotty (RF), Brandon Moss (LF), Matt Adams (1B), Yadier Molina (C), Kolten Wong (2B), Greg Garcia (SS), Adam Wainwright (RHP)

Braves lineup: Erick Aybar (SS), Nick Markakis (RF), Freddie Freeman (1B), Adonis Garcia (3B), Hector Olivera (LF), Tyler Flowers (C), Jace Peterson (2B), Drew Stubbs (CF), Williams Perez (RHP)

Some News -

  • Wainwright uses mirror to tweak delivery -

I picture that process like this:

Things we were looking for -

Mike threw out his most lefty lineup possible today.  Jeremy Hazelbaker earns yet another start at the expense of Randal Grichuk, Greg Garcia also gets his first start of the year, playing SS, and Adams and Moss both find their way into the lineup to oppose Willams Perez, who has shown in his short time in the big leagues to be much more effective against righties.

Things that happened -

Top halves -

Williams Perez had a nice, easy 1-2-3 first, capped off by a nice barehand play by Adonis Garcia on a soft grounder by Stephen Piscotty.

In the second Brandon Moss became the first Cardinal baserunner by taking a slider off his foot, but Perez easily left him at first by setting down the next three batters.

A leadoff walk to Greg Garcia started the third off right for the Cards.  A sac bunt and a wild pitch got him around to third.  Matt Carpenter struck out looking at a pitch up at the letters and he let out a loud and humorous "OH NO" as he got wrung up.  Hazelbaker walked and stole a base.  Piscotty tied up the game, grounding a hot shot that bounced off the glove of Aybar.  Moss gave the good guys a lead, smashing a towering 3-run jack over the centerfield wall.  Cards lead 4-1.

The only blip on Perez' fourth was a two-out walk to Garcia.

Hazelbaker beat out an infield hit, but Perez and Eric O'Flaherty teamed up to  work around it to finish the fifth.

Perez' final line: 4 2/3 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 K, 3 BB, 83 pitches thrown.

Chris Withrow took the ball for the Braves in the sixth.  Randal Grichuk pinch hit for Adams and took a walk on four straight pitches.  A stolen base and a groundout got Randal around to third.  Garcia worked a full count and then grounded a single into left to tie the game!  The Birds managed to load up the bases by way of yet another walk, this time to Jedd Gyorko and a HBP of Matt Carpenter.  Hazelbaker struck out and left 'em jammed.  Game tied 5-5.

Daniel Winkler's arm failed him after getting two outs in the seventh.  After throwing a pitch behind Grichuk, he was instantly writhing in pain.  He ran off the mound and collapsed to his knees as the trainers took a look.  It was awful to watch.  He was apparently on his way back from Tommy John, and I don't think we'll see him again anytime soon.  Jim Johnson came in and he completed the Grichuk walk (Randal walks, now, apparently!), but struck out Molina to end the inning.

In the eighth, Johnson got two quick outs, then Matt Holliday pinch hit and somehow found a hole to place his fly ball for a single.  Carpenter got hit by another pitch.  Hazelbaker came through - he drove  an RBI single into right field to score Holliday and tie it up.  Then, Piscotty came through - he drove an RBI single into right field to score Carpenter to go ahead!  Cards lead 7-6.

Jose Ramirez.  Grichuk walked!!!! to start things off.  He walked three times in a game that he didn't start.  What a crazy game (he's never walked three times in a game before).  Yadi doubled and Garcia was intentionally walked (his third walk of the day) to bring up a bases loaded situation for Aledmys Diaz, fresh into the game.  He earned himself some playing time in the upcoming homestand.  Aledmys smashed a 2-RBI double over Markakis' head in right.  Carpenter piled on, blasting a 3-run homer to double up the Braves score.  We got to see a Trevor Rosenthal plate appearance.  He didn't swing but saw 6 pitches before finally falling to the strikeout.  Cards lead 12-6.

Bottom halves -

The Braves notched a quick run off of a flare single by Erick Aybar and a double over Hazelbaker's head in center by Nick Markakis.  Adam induced a double play to get out of the frame.  Braves lead 1-0.

Adam walked Tyler Flowers to start the second.  Wong bobbled what should have been a double play ball, and was only able to get the lead runner.  Another walk and a sac bunt put runners at second and third with two outs.  Moss tracked a fairly difficult fly ball in left to end the threat.

To begin the third, Piscotty made an acrobatic catch to take a hit away from Markakis on a hard hit line drive.  His route to the ball was a little wonky, but it made the catch all the more impressive.  It highlighted Adam's first and only 1-2-3 frame.

Olivera led off the fourth with a double up the left field line.  Adam walked Flowers (Adam's fourth) and he vocalized his frustration in himself in a way that isn't typical of the calm, cool, collected Waino we're used to.  Then it got worse.  Stubbs smashed a full-count fastball over the wall in dead-center to tie the game.  Game tied 4-4.

Markakis doubled leading off the fifth.  He tagged to third on a Freeman flyout, and came into score on an Olivera flyout. Braves lead 5-4.

That was it for Adam.  His final line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 K, 5 BB, 87 pitches thrown.

Seth Maness allowed a double to Gordon Beckham and was quickly pulled for Kevin Siegrist to pitch to a pack of lefties.  Markakis gave the Braves another lead, doubling in Beckham.  Braves lead 6-5.

Seung Hwan Oh took over the seventh.  He was very good, striking out two.

Jonathan Broxton took the eighth.  He walked Beckham and a nifty hit and run by Aybar put runners on the corners with one out.  I was all in for a 5-out save attempt, but Mike opted to let Broxton face Markakis.  On a full count, Broxton got an absolute gift on an outside pitch to strikeout Markakis.  Broxton was asked to intentionally walk Freeman, and then Mike double switched to bring in Aledmys Diaz and Trevor Rosenthal.  In a fun new defensive alignment, Diaz played short, Garcia third, and Carpenter went to first.  Rosenthal came in to face Jeff Francoeur with the bases loaded.  Trevor got him to swing through an outside fastball and really earned his save then and there.

Here's the third strike call from Broxton to Markakis:

Rosenthal gave up a couple hits and a walk to load the bases.  Kolten Wong booted a routine grounder, allowing a run.  Rosenthal struck out Markakis to end the game.  Cards win 12-7.

Final Notes -

  • Lots of deep counts for Adam.  His curveball was breaking, but he generally wasn't anywhere near the strikezone with it and they were easy takes for the Braves batters.  As a result, his fastballs in the zone were feasted upon.  His frustration in himself and his negative body language was strikingly a-typical.  He hadn't walked 5 batters in a game since May 12, 2012.  Perhaps he needs a little more mirror work.
  • "Thinking of nothing is doing something" - Tim McCarver
  • Tim and Dan spent some time talking about how beautiful the name "Yadi" is.
  • Brandon Moss has now homered against every team in the MLB.
  • Hazelbaker's speed/baserunning thus far in the season has been remarkable to me.
  • Markakis was good today.  But Tim called him the Braves best hitter, which he is not.
  • "God Bless America" at the ballpark today was A+.

  • Trevor Rosenthal was able to earn a save because of the situation he came into in the eighth.  It seemed silly to ask him to bat and pitch the 9th with a 6-run lead.  Can Matt Bowman not handle a 6-run lead, Mike?  Rosenthal ended up throwing 30 pitches.
  • Kolten Wong needs a few days off or something.
  • Dan Winkler was confirmed to have suffered a right elbow fracture.
  • Sorry for the length of this one.  There was lots going on, I guess.
  • Fangraphs
  • Gamenotes: CardinalsBraves

Looking ahead -

Tomorrow, the Cardinals bring the party back to St. Louis for the home opener.  Taylor Jungmann and the Brewers will be opposed by Michael Wacha starting at 3:15 CT.