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Cards win 21st game on 5.18.16: A Game Recap

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Adam Wainwright was at his 2016 best tonight as a Matt Holliday double was enough to win 2-0 in St. Louis. Wainwright wins, Rosenthal closes, Holliday RBIs, Cardinals Remain Above .500, hang with Pirates around 2nd.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Pregame

Adam Wainwright at 4.93 SIERA vs Chris Rusin at 3.47 SIERA... both pitchers have faired much worse than their saber stats would indicate, especially Rusin. While the 20-18 Rockies have a better defense than the 20-19 Cardinals, they are no match for the Cards team 115 wRC+ (leading the NL with the Pirates more or less) with the Rockies barely cracking the top 20 in MLB by this measure.

Lineups

ROCKIES CARDINALS
Charlie Blackmon - CF Matt Carpenter - 3B
Trevor Story - SS Stephen Piscotty - RF
Nolan Arenado - 3B
Matt Holliday - LF
Carlos Gonzalez - RF Randal Grichuk - CF
Mark Reynolds - 1B Yadier Molina - C
Gerardo Parra - LF Brandon Moss - 1B
DJ LeMahieu - 2B Aledmys Diaz - SS
Tony Wolters - C Kolten Wong - 2B
Chris Rusin - LHP Adam Wainwright - RHP

What Happened

Wainwright was threatened right away in the first inning. Charlie Blackmon (apparently a gold rush pioneer) hit a triple, with Randal Grichuk narrowly missing execution of a rangey play (or prey?) which even included a jaguar-like dive, but the ball kinda ricocheted off his glove and got away. He correctly let Piscotty go get the ball and throw it in to Kolten Wong, but after the middle man was involved Blackmon was practically already at third.

However, he was gunned down at the plate anyway! With a head's up play, Matt Carpenter threw him out and Yadi blocked the plate with his expertise. Somehow, even though I figured the Rockies would score on Waino in the first inning, the Rockies did not score.

In the Cards' half of the first, Piscotty got a double. Even though our guy Aledmys Diaz was eaten up by a grounder in the first, at least he wasn't Trevor Story who got punched in the face with an upper cut by Matt Holliday... well, it was a Matt Holliday grounder, but you know how those are. Story shrugged it off after a while even though he got hit in the face and didn't complete an important play. Runners were at first and third. Randal Grichuk was up.

To the dismay of any Randal haters, the jag-god walked in this instance. He has shown a bit more patience at the plate in 2016. With the bases loaded, Yadier Molina was given the opportunity for a feast. But he grounded into a double play, a bit too agressive at the plate, in my opinion... sometimes he presses in high leverage situations.

Wainwright actually looked good in the 2nd inning, which gave the Cardinals unpredictable offense a chance to get some runs on the board early. Brandon Moss lead off the inning. To make a short story shorter, they didn't score.

I must say that Adam Wainwright seemed more like his old self for the first time this season at some points in this game. In the third, Blackmon was able to get on base again and Story singled. So the Rockies were threatening again, runners at first and second... Wainwright cruised to 2 outs and then faced Carlos Gonzalez. Adam the escape artist again performed his fire prevention act.

The Cardinals started to put something together in the third inning. With runners on first and second, Matt Holliday lasered one down the third base line and it went to the corner, allowing both runners to score! I think he is looking really good this year at the plate, even though he is still chopping them into the ground a lot it seems.

After three innings, I would have to name Blackmon as the most valuable player because he robbed the Cards on defense as well as had 2 hits. Cards were up 2-0, even though it kind of seemed like the Rockies had already scored.

In the 4th they continued to connect with Adam, rapping out a leadoff double thanks to old friend Mark Reynolds. Parra was up to the plate and quickly went 0-2. He K'd Gerardo with no problem at all. Waino still looking good despite giving up some hits to the lackluster Rockies offense.

Cards half of the 4th was around 8:30pm CST and featured first an Aledmys Diaz single and then a similar hit by Wong which allowed Diaz (who does have some wheels to go along with his hitting ability, which is very exciting) to go to third.


Yadi breakin' records.

The best part about tonight's game was that Wainwright looked more vintage. VEB was playing some records too. Even though he was still clearly the 2016 version. He was just getting batters out today. Even though the Rockies got another hit, Wainwright got out of the 6th not perplexed but with no runs scored against him.

The game coasted along until I noticed it was 9:30PM CST and Wong was up with a 2-2 count. Then Carpenter was up with a 2-2 count. He ended up walking to first. Piscotty doubled which caused Matty C to go to third but he was gunned down by Parra.

Elder Matt batted next. But this game really was just stuck on 2-0 Cardinals. So far Cardinals pitching had been able to stifle anything Colorado could put together. To assist in nailing down that 2 run lead, Hazelbaker was summoned from the bench to play left field for Holliday. Siegrist was pitching.

Kevsie mowed 'em down. But the offense did nothing to help.

In the 9th, Rosenthal was brought out and he threw high heat at Mark Reynolds nearly destroying his face once. He ended up walking Mark. Trevor struck out the next guy with efficiency. The stalwart Cards closer closed it out with the save! A vintage Wainwright/Holliday lead win.

+Pluses+

  • Aledmys Diaz: single, double, even when he gets an out he almost gets on base
  • Suspenseful game that kept you on the edge of your seat but Cardinals ended up not falling to .500
  • Wainwright struck out 5 batters, walked one, and pitched nearly 7 innings while avoiding the sting of 6 hits against him making him the WPA MVP of the game
  • Kevin Siegrist, 3 strikeouts in 1.1 IP
  • Matt Holliday would get the win if they gave out the win stat to hitters too
  • Diaz is batting .372 and Yadi is over .330 BA
  • I feel like in any game Carpenter, Hazelbaker, or Moss could hit a home run

-Minuses-

  • Yadier Molina and Gerardo Parra were very unclutch tonight
  • Rockies offense lost them the game, that is for certain
  • Carlos Gonzalez really couldn't buy himself a hit tonight
  • Charlie Blackmon was soooo close to being on the pluses but he struck out his last two chances
  • But mainly it was Gerardo Parra at the plate, thanks Gerardo!

Graph


Source: FanGraphs

Tune in tomorrow night for the finale of this Colorado in St Louis action at 6:15PM CST. Jon Gray will be pitching against us. Wacha will be a little worrisome to watch with a 4.18 SIERA but maybe it will be another unpredictable day in Cardinal fandom.