Well, sometimes baseball games suck. The St. Louis Cardinals are an intelligently run model franchise with one of the most clean, classic uniform/logo combos in all of sports. The Arizona Diamondbacks are an aggressively mismanaged basket case of an organization in the making, and have the absolute worst uniforms I've ever seen on any baseball team, including the various camouflage stuff the Padres run out there sometimes. The net effect is that they are detestable and their incipient short and medium-term failures make me happy.
These teams played the first of a three-game series at Busch Stadium tonight. Unfortunately, the Cardinals lost 11-7.
The Cardinals were up against a lefty starter in Patrick Corbin, and went with a pretty interesting lineup:
Randal Grichuk has a back, so Jeremy Hazelbaker got the call in CF against a LHP. Other than that, the big move was starting Ruben Tejada at 3B and moving Matt Carpenter to 1B, to get one more righty into the lineup. Maybe foreshadowing Jhonny Peralta playing some 3B with Aledmys Diaz playing so well, maybe not.
It was El Gallo night, and Carlos Martinez didn't get roughed up, exactly, but he wasn't good: he only lasted 4 innings, walked 3 and struck out 3, and surrendered 7 hits and 4 runs. It was pretty babippy at times, but the "what's up with Carlos" speculation continues.
It's been hard to put a finger on it, and tonight didn't help. His mechanics -- which in the early season hadn't looked quite right, with him often looking stiff and more upright than normal in his delivery -- looked to the naked eye to be the same as the guy who tore through the NL from June to September of last year. Combining that with his good velocity tonight, I'm a little less worried about an underlying injury than I was coming into the game. Maybe he's tipping his pitches? I dunno, but we're still waiting for the dominant Gallo we saw for stretches last year.
(This is, by the way, an okay place to point out that on this date last year, Martinez had a 4.52 FIP. After tonight, it's 4.24 for 2016. A lackluster seven weeks does not a season make.)
So anyway, Martinez gave up four runs and Corbin was solid (6.1 IP, 4 BB, 7 K, 2 R). The Cards had their chances -- Tyler Clippard was all over the place in the 7th, and Carpenter juuuuuust missed a three-run homer to tie it, which would have totally changed the complexion of the game. Alas, he got under it a bit and Diaz's RBI single was all they'd get. Matt Holliday struck out with two men on to end the threat.
Jonathan Broxton came on in the 8th. He entered with an ERA/FIP/xFIP of 2.25/4.10/4.76. His ERA did some catching up with his peripherals tonight, and he left with those numbers at 4.41/4.45/5.10. If he continues being used in a setup role your recapper intends to begin writing stern letters. If he does not continue being used in that role, well, that's a silver lining to this game.
Broxton was replaced by replacement-level replacer Dean Kiekhefer, and long story short Arizona ended up with a 9-2 lead after the top of the 8th. Then Ruben Tejada pitched the 9th; he did not do very well. The Cardinals actually mounted a little bit of what would have looked like a comeback attempt with 5 in the 9th, but RUBEN GODDAMN TEJADA had pitched so the deficit was 9 runs instead of 7, and anyway it didn't matter.
This was a dumb game and the Cards lost.
Friday Night Comment of the Game(thread)
NONE. We were at our lowest collective ebb, plus it's a Friday gamethread. Good black humor re Tejada pitching but it's all too depressing.
- Bright points, uh... in the 2nd, Diaz and Jedd Gyorko turned a 6-4-3 double play on a hit-and-run with Chris Owings (who is quite speedy) running. That was neat. Also Eric Fryer got two (two!) more hits; can't stop won't stop.
Look, this probably didn't matter, but (down seven runs) the Cardinals loaded the bases in the 8th. The Dbacks brought in a RHP. Matt Adams and Brandon Moss were both on the bench, and natural candidates to come in and take over 1B with Carp sliding to 3B. And yet, in the words of VEB stalwart Hardcore Legend, Matheny "[let] the worst hitter on the roster take the only remaining important at-bat in the game." He sure did HL, he sure did. The Cardinals did not score.OH IT WAS BECAUSE TEJADA WAS GOING TO PITCH THE 9TH, COOL MIKE. Tejada pitched the goddamn 9th -- a regulation inning, not an extra inning. He got taken deep, twice.
- Jeremy Hazelbaker sold the hell out of a routine-ish fly to the warning track to end the 1st with the bases loaded. Shades of Edmonds, in the sense of diving when he probably didn't need to (or shouldn't have needed to). Still, it looked cool! And it was a big out.
- Please keep... television person Andy Cohen out of the booth in the future. This is not directed to the FSMW production team -- who plainly cannot be trusted in the first place -- but rather to the general public. If you see Andy Cohen headed to the broadcast booth, take immediate action.
- We learned from the broadcast crew that Diaz learned English by watching Ellen on TV. Vin Scully's got nothing on Danny Mac when it comes to captivating details.
- I don't care for Jon Broxton.