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Mike Leake can't even buy a win but Kevin Siegrist Can: Cards win 5-4 on 5/4

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Mike Leake still unimpressive but the binary Cardinals offense put up a middling number with a weird lineup and evened it out at .500. The offense and bullpen again covered up some lackluster starting pitching.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Pregame

Very old barton on the rocks. Mike Leake looking for his first Cardinal win (have I wrote this before?). Cardinals offense, fraudulent? Cardinals 10+ runs scored: 7 times. Cardinals less than 3 runs: 8. Which offense will show up tonight? At least I have written one recap this season where it wasn't Mike Leake. Am becoming a Mike Leake expert. Mike Leake has a career 3.98 SIERA and Adam Morgan has a 4.80 SIERA, but is faring much better so far this season. The 16-11 Phillies go for the win in St. Louis.

To stop this, Mike Matheny has rolled out one of the weirdest lineups he has ever put out there. First time for Aledmy Diaz leading off (when he had been relegated to the back end of the lineup all season, despite his molten hot start). Yadier Molina starting at first base (maybe Mike is scared of Diaz throws? Yadi refused to take the day off?). Ruben Tejada at 3b, first game off for Matt Carpenter.

Lineups and Results

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
Odubel Herrera - CF: 2/4, HR
Aledmys Diaz - SS: 1/4, 2RBI, BB, K
Freddy Galvis - SS: 1/4, R
Stephen Piscotty - RF: 3/5, 2RBI
Maikel Franco - 3B: 0/3, BB, R
Matt Holliday - LF: 2/5, RBI
Ryan Howard - 1B: 1/3, HR, 2K
Randal Grichuk - CF: 0/3, BB
Carlos Ruiz - C: 0/4, K
Yadier Molina - 1B: 0/3, BB
Cesar Hernandez - 2B: 2/4, K
Jedd Gyorko - 2B: 1/4
David Lough - RF: 0/4, K
Ruben Tejada - 3B: 1/3, R
Adam Morgan - LHP: 0/2, K
Eric Fryer - C: 1/1, BB
Tyler Goeddel - LF: 0/3
Mike Leake - RHP: 0/1, K

What Happened

Mike Leake was efficient in the first inning, but so were the Phillies. Neither offense could really do anything.

Mike Leake sliced through the Phillies lineup in the 2nd inning too, rather quickly. Things looked to be going the same for the Cardinals but then Gyorko dropped one into the outfield. However, Ruben Tejada's bat ended  the inning in dull fashion.

Seeing Yadi make a diving play at first base was eminently weird. But it was some sweet defense for the catcher. Apparently Ryan Howard was enjoying his homecoming trip to St. Lou by dingering though. Mike Leake was rolling as he often has this season, usually good starts to the game but eventually the wheels fall off the wagon. In this case it was letting 2 men on base and then a 3 run home run. 3-0 Phillies in the 4th.

The Cardinals were cooking up a comeback in the 4th, to try and match the run scoring of the Phillies. They had pushed two runners over to 2nd and 3rd base, with 2 out. So again their back was against the wall, trying to muster a higher leverage hit. Gyorko however was unable to oblige, grounding out like last time the Cardinals had a chance for an RBI.

The middle inning gave Leake another chance to stop the runs. But more leaked out in the form of home run length bursts, this time by the leadoff hitter, center fielder Odubel Herrera. This Phillies team seems a bit of a mystery to me... maybe they are not as bad as I thought they were going to be?

Again, which offense was going to show up? To begin the Cardinals half of the 5th, there was a challenge on a hit down the left field line by Ruben Tejada that was called foul but looked like it could've hit the line. The gamethread kinda thought it was fair, and it took the crew a while to figure out if it was fair or foul. Like, quite a bit longer than usual. It ended up being a double!

Fryer was up next. He walked. Then Moss was brought into the game to pinch hit for Leake. This was the right move because Moss hit a liner into the outfield, loading the bases for Aledmys Diaz. The phenomenal rookie provided more of his magic, the ball hit so hard that it caromed off the shortstop's glove. This lucky but effective hit provided even more offense as the Cardinals stretched out the opportunity into 2 runs because of Fryer's crafty sliding into home. The guy has been a pleasant surprise, having never heard of him before.

His slide into home was so crafty that they had to review the call. But there was not enough evidence to overturn the call. Really amazing baserunning by the young bench player. The comeback continued with Piscotty getting in on the singling. 4-3 Phils. The Cards chased the Phillies starting pitcher. Looking at the WPA graph after the Piscotty RBI actually left the Cards with a slightly higher win %, even though down by 1 run still.

Holliday kinda screwed things up by hitting into a double play, but at least he moved Aledmys to third base. Unfortunately, Grichuk's slump is a-happening and he grounded out to end the inning with the Cards down by a run.

For some reason Matheny brought Bowman in to pitch, despite the closeness of the game. I felt the Cardinals really needed to totally shut down the Phillies in this inning, so why not bring in someone better than your most inexperienced pitcher? He has done this before with Bowman, so I was less surprised this time. Maybe they have higher opinions of Bowman than I.

Actually he looked pretty great, retiring three in a row with no problem at all.

After this the game started to lose me a bit, as it drifted off into inactivity and pitching effectiveness. Oh was brought in for the 8th inning though. Stone Buddha quickly got one out. Then the difference maker Herrera was up. Final Boss had no problem with this guy and escaped the inning.

Later, the Cardinals were totally robbed of a home run. Gyorko jerked it down the left field line and it would have been a dinger if it weren't for an amazing catch. It took the wind out of the sails for sure, as that would've tied the game.

Siegrist was brought in to pitch the 9th. He did rather well, carving up the Phillies hitters.

The 9th inning was the Cards last chance to at least tie it. Wong got on. Adams then did a Gyorko impression, nearly homering but not... the difference being that this time Adams was not out, and he got a double off the top of the wall, moving Wong to third. Mike Matheny pinch ran Carlos Martinez for Adams at 2nd. Raw hitter Aledmys Diaz was intentionally walked. Stephen Piscotty was then given responsibility for the game's outcome.

The Cardinals were able to tie the game! Piscotty put the ball into play, causing some chaos. But Carlos screwed up on running, rounding third too aggressively. I am just glad he did not get injured in the rundown! But still, that could've hurt. Holliday was up... Grichuk was on deck. It didn't matter, Holliday was able to poke the ball out of the infield using his signature hitting move. Cards win 5-4!!! They really needed that.

+Pluses+

  • Diaz had a wonderful defensive play at shortstop. He seems more and more comfortable there each game.
  • Holliday had their back all along.
  • another hohum night for Piscotty: 3 for 5, 2 RBI
  • Big at bat for Wong, the BB and R were high WPA moment.
  • Just about the whole team was involved in the win!
  • Matt Adams big clutch double! WPA Player of the Game.
  • Young bullpen pitcher Bowman is starting to cement himself into the back end of the bullpen. Another great bullpen performance.
  • Ryan Howard would've been the player of the game with a 3 run home run.
  • Kevin Siegrist is now 4-0. Maybe he decided to steal Mike Leake's lunch as the troll toll to the team.

-Minuses-

  • Still no Mike Leake win :(
  • Randal Grichuk 0-3 but at least he walked. We may have hurt his feelings.
  • Starter Adam Morgan by the Phillies had a negative .242 WPA.
  • Tyler Goeddel (or whoever the Phillies left fielder was at the moment) stealing the home run from Jed Gyorko.
  • weird lineup (although I guess Matt Carpenter did need some time off)

Graph


Source: FanGraphs

Tune in tomorrow during the daytime at 12:45pm. Jaime Garcia defends his home turf against Eickhoff. It is a 4 game series! Another one. Garcia gets a chance to make up for last time and the Phils get a chance to tie the series. After that we play the Pirates.