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Cardinals' offense shut down in 3-1 loss to Rockies

When given a choice between the Blues or Cards tonight, the smart choice would have been alcohol.

This game sucked so much, I had to get a picture from a different game
This game sucked so much, I had to get a picture from a different game
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

While I watched the entirety of this game, I recorded this game and watched the Blues game first.  Then I watched the Cardinals game between the breaks and honestly, I just watched the Cardinals for the most of the third period.  Even though I watched the entire game, this will probably be a short post, because there's really not a whole lot to say about how boring and uneventful this game was.

I am a fan of pitchers' duels.  I love watching pitchers master their craft and send hitters away without the hitters being able to do much about that.  On the other hand, there's nothing worse than watching a pitcher's duel where neither pitcher is really pitching all that great.  In fact, I don't really think of it as a pitchers' duel.  There should be another name that incorporates the poor hitting into the equation.  I don't think a combined seven strikeouts and six walks from the two starters when I think a pitchers' duel.

With that said, if the goal of the win statistic is reward the better pitcher for that night, then Chad Bettis clearly deserved the win.  He went 6.2 IP, struck out four and walked two.  He allowed five hits, two of which were infield hits, and the latter three were all given up with two outs before he could record the final out in the 7th inning.  65% of the balls hit in play were hit on the ground.  That plays in Coors Field much less Busch Stadium.

As you probably guessed, Garcia was not that great tonight.  He lacked control, walking four batters, including twice to former Cardinal Mark Reynolds (If you want a hilarious look at the Coors effect, look at Reynolds: batting .314/.381/.457...for a 107 wRC+; Also on a more general note, Mark Reynolds being able to hit .314 at all and yes I say this realizing he has a .449 BABIP)

Garcia pitched both the first and second innings without much trouble, although he exited both having walked a man.  In the third, he gave up a single to Charlie Blackmon, who then stole the base off Garcia - Yadier Molina didn't have a chance at throwing him out.  Nolan Arenado later drove him by hitting a line drive deep into left field that Matt Holliday couldn't get to because he was apparently set at his position at the warning track.  The Cardinals didn't even get a baserunner until the 3rd when Kolten Wong walked.

In the 4th, Reynolds drew his first walk of the night on four straight pitches.  As the saying goes, leadoff walks will kill you.  After striking out Ryan Raburn, singles by DJ LeMahieu (I can never correctly write his name on the first try) and Dustin Garneau brought the score to 2-0 and put runners at the corner.  Bettis tried and failed to get a bunt down on the first two strikes, so he chopped at the ball and hit it in the perfect place to drive in the third run and only get one out.  Blackmon hit a hard ground ball right do Adams to end the inning.

Meanwhile the Cardinals drew another baserunner in the bottom of the 4th when Adams walked, but remained hitless.  In the 5th, Garcia allowed a leadoff single.  A ready-made double play was bungled by Carpenter, committing his sixth error of the season.  After the next batter successfully hit into a double play ball, Garcia walked Reynolds a second time and induced another groundball out to end the inning.

Two infield hits in the 5th brought Garcia's spot to the plate.  Clearly struggling and with 82 pitches, Matheny made a wise decision and pinch-hit Moss.  Moss swung at the first pitch and hit it far enough for both runners to advance to 2nd and 3rd. Carpenter flied out to end the threat.  In the bottom of the 7th, the Cardinals got two quick outs, but ended Bettis' night with three straight singles - all made it past the infield! - by Aledmys Diaz (who swung at ball four so he was getting on base either way), Wong, and pinch-hitter Randal Grichuk, who drove in the only run of the game.

The Cardinals threatened again in the ninth against a Jake McGee who has... not been very good for the Rockies.  Molina led off with a single, followed by Jeremy Hazelbaker's THIRD backwards K, and a first pitch flyout by Diaz.  Wong worked an 8-pitch walk to bring runners to first and second.  Jedd Gyorko pinch-hit for the pitcher and pretty clearly took the home run or strikeout approach to hitting - which I guess it's as good of a time as any when you're down two in the 9th with two runners on base, but Carpenter was on deck.  He struck out to probably nobody's surprise since you saw the score in the headline.

WPA Graph

Source: FanGraphs


- The bullpen was fantastic.  Matt Bowman pitched two innings, struck out two, and allowed only an infield hit.  Sueng Hwan Oh struck out all three batters he faced in the 8th and needed only 11 pitches to do it.  Dean Kiekhefer struck out one in his inning and allowed a bunt single.  The table was set for a Cardinals comeback, it just didn't happen.

- With news of Tommy Pham's demotion to AAA when activated from the DL, I'm going to get arbitrary here so beware.  Hazelbaker got the first hit of the game, a weak infield single, and looked absolutely awful his other three times at the plate like he forgot how to hit, striking out three times looking.  Including today's game, since April 19 (This actually isn't arbitrary as I'm using this date specifically to support my point - I'll admit that right away) Hazelbaker has hit .232/.283/.500.  Yes, that slugging percentage is nice and yes his season line still looks good, but does anyone really think he'll be better than Pham?  So I guess we're just gonna wait until someone gets injured or Hazelbaker's line drops to something to where you can send him down?  Bleh.

- Jaime Garcia final line: 5 IP, 3 Ks, 4 BB, 5 hits allowed; he didn't seem to get many calls and the zone was inconsistent (for both sides), but bleh

- In non-bleh news, Kolten Wong went 2-2 for two walks.  His wRC+ jumped from 72 to 85 and I guess that's what happens when it's still May and you get on base four times even though none of them were extra-base hits.

- Might offend some Rockies fans here, but despite the fact that Coors Field is a well-known hitter's haven, I still feel like nearly all of their players are considerably overrated offensively.  Nolan Arenado is about the only one who escapes that as Blackmon, Carlos Gonzalez, Trevor Story, and LeMahieu are all definitely overrated as hitters.  Gonzalez hits a lot of dingers, Story has the hot start, and the other two have high averages but are below average hitters.  Anybody else find that dichotomy weird?  Like you'd think the fact that everyone acknowledged that Coors Field was a huge hitter's park would prevent people from going "Wow everyone on this team is hitting .300.  They have one of the best offenses in the majors."  But nope.  Every time we face them, even if Ben Paulsen is hitting .290 batting 6th, we hear all about their fantastic offense (and they still have a good one despite my earlier comments)

- And to support my earlier point, Paulsen was sent down earlier this year after hitting .258/.300/.379.  I wonder what that line become playing half the games at Busch, because it's apparently a 60 wRC+ playing half your games at Coors.

Tomorrow the Cardinals will try to even the series as Adam Wainwright faces off against Chris Rusin.  Hopefully Wainwright can turn it around, although having him face Arenado three times doesn't excite me terribly much.