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Astros At Cardinals: a Recap for June 15th, 2016

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Cardinals lose short two game series at home to Altuve, Springer, and the Astros and fall to 35-30.

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Lineups

HOUSTON ASTROS ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
George Springer - RF Matt Carpenter - 2B
Danny Worth - 3B Brandon Moss - RF
Jose Altuve - 2B Matt Holliday - LF
Carlos Correa - SS Stephen Piscotty - CF
Colby Rasmus - LF Matt Adams - 1B
Luis Valbuena - 1B Jhonny Peralta - 3B
Carlos Gomez - CF Yadier Molina - C
Jason Castro - C Aledmys Diaz - SS
Collin McHugh - RHP Adam Wainwright - RHP


Pregame

The disappointing Astros are hovering below .500 while the Cardinals have enjoyed some success this year (albeit, not from the strengths we thought we had). The Cardinals offense remains one of the most potent in the major leagues, while the Astros have been middling at best. To look at the bigger picture, Houston's fWAR total is also not nearly as valuable as the Cardinal position players. The Astros are basically Jose Altuve plus a cast of unexciting characters (George Springer may get a pass though). But to defend that, Altuve has been one of the very best players in the Major Leagues in recent times. Defensively, the Cardinals are also more productive, although neither team has had a surplus of fielding ability.

Collin McHugh (3.90 SIERA) is a starter that hasn't had the best luck this year in the BABIP department. He's got a decent K rate and isn't really having a bad season, but not real great either. Adam Wainwright (4.42 SIERA) makes another Cardinal start, a rare career one-team pitcher (maybe?). Well that's up for debate but he hasn't been having his best season and is getting kind of aged. Wainwright this year hasn't had the brutal BABIP issues that McHugh has had, and he doesn't have as good of a K rate. Despite the luckier year by Waino, his tenacity and experience make this an intriguingly even matchup that could be a pitcher's duel.

What Happened

Did I say pitcher's duel? It was! It was kind of a boring game too, a war of attrition of sorts. No scoring allowed. When it looked like someone might score in the 5th, Stephen Piscotty was gunned down by George Springer, and it wasn't even close... which I thought was overly aggressive baserunning from either the coach or Stephen's instincts. If the coach or Piscotty would have put on the brakes, the Cardinals probably would've scored because Yaider Molina hit a double. In the end, no one scored.

Wainwright made it through 7, and Adams was up to lead off the bottom of the inning. This game had Dan, Ricky, and Jim Edmonds in the booth. He struck out against the lefty. McHugh was still dueling, but looked to be getting to rubber arm stages of endurance. He was starting to throw more balls out of the zone because of poor control. The Cardinals chipped away and Greg Garcia was finally able to send Yadi home with a crack of the bat and the ball bouncing between the first and second basemen. Safe!

The scoreless game was over, 1-0 Cardinals. Greg Garcia is a big threat as a pinch hitter this year. He is like a better version of Dan Descalso. Perhaps much better. I hope he is on the bench the rest of the season. RBI in the pinch!

Siegrist was summoned to the mound, and Carlos Gomez lead off with a single to begin the 8th. Houston was then able to pinch hit too, but Gonzalez flew out to Hazelbaker, who was the new center fielder.

Siegrist picked off Gomez, with a rare but sly snap move, catching Carlos off guard. Ha! Unexpected. But he did have 4 last year. Things took a turn for the worse and Kevin walked a guy, then allowed a home run to George Springer (ok, yeah, he's pretty good!). To end the inning, the ball was lost in the lights on a pop up, Carpenter could not see it whatsoever, and Diaz made an awkward looking stumbling catch in between the mound and Matt C.

2 to 1 Astros and Moss was up. Hazelbaker was up. Piscotty was up. He didn't get out! But then Matt Adams pop flied out to the outfield. The 9th inning would be tough, down a run and still having to retire the side.

Top 9 Rosenthal vs Altuve. Altuve singled and won that match. Rosie then proceeded to load the bases. Then he went 3-0. Trevor! Stop messing with us! This again did not end well. 4-1 Astros. Then Rosenthal was finally removed and Broxton was given a shot at the unenviable task. Broxie was able to throw a blanket on the fire and the Cardinals had to score 3+ on Will Harris. Closer extraordinaire.

They didn't come back, the Cardinals were "swept" by the Astros at home.

+Pluses+

  • Wainwright had a good start
  • But so did McHugh
  • Bullpen pitcher Giles was even better by WPA, shutting down the Cards
  • George Springer won this game
  • Greg Garcia high leverage pinch hit

-Minuses-

  • Brandon Moss and Matt Adams, so unclutch!
  • Siegrist, ya blew it
  • Rosenthal
  • Cardinals offense in general took the night off

Graph


Source: FanGraphs

The Cardinals just didn't have it this series, get 'em next time! The team has another offday tomorrow, then on Friday they take the field at home again vs another American League Texas rival team: the Rangers. Wacha takes the mound vs Cole Hamels, good luck guys!