In my short time as a VEB recapper, I've written recaps that have run over 1,000 words. I've weighed in with editorial judgments about lineup decisions and in-game tactics. I've tried to convey something of the drama of a given baseball game to you, the recap-consuming public, or at least make a couple good jokes.
This will not be a recap like those, because this game wasn't good and there's no way to tease fun stuff out of it. It's not just that the Cardinals lost (spoiler: they lost). It's that it was boring. Boring and stupid. Boring in a way that gives ammunition to people don't like baseball and say it's no fun to watch, and stupid in a way that makes a person who does like baseball want to not watch baseball sometimes. The Cardinals lost 5-1, and pretty much nothing (unless you like odd late-game managerial decisions that reek of despair, but you shouldn't admit that if it's true) happened that deserves your attention.
If you want to know why they lost, the main culprit was sequencing. "Sequencing" has become something of a buzzword in sabermetrics circles the last couple years, and if I wanted to get realllly pedantic maybe I'd go into some depth and use this game as an example of why, but GOD THAT SOUNDS BORING and we've been through enough. So I'll use as few words as possible:
Johnny Cueto and Adam Wainwright were your starters. Cueto was fighting it tonight -- 6 IP, 4 hits, 5 BB, 1 K; note the walks, which is unusual for him -- and unfortunately the Cardinals didn't take advantage. Meanwhile, Waino only allowed six baserunners... but four of the five hits Waino allowed on the night (all singles) came bunched together in the 4th inning, which created two runs for the Giants. That's just bad sequencing luck: their hits came all at once instead of spread out, so the Giants scored a couple runs instead of none on those hits. Meanwhile the Cards got ten baserunners in six innings vs. Cueto, but they were mostly spread out, so the Cards only scored once. You can blame that on bad clutch hitting (or, I guess, good clutch pitching) if you feel like it, or you can just shrug your shoulders and acknowledge that sometimes baseball is stupid and the hits come when you don't need them, and don't come when you do. Up to you! Me, I choose to believe that we've chosen to follow a stupid and cruel sport where sometimes this stuff is stupid.
And it wasn't even entertaining! Sometimes you lose a game but some cool baseball stuff at least happens. Not tonight. The Cardinals loaded the bases once with two outs, but Randal Grichuk hit a tapper (he hit like eight tappers tonight). Yadier Molina hit one of his patented 2016 fly balls that juuuust barely don't go out, but it was caught for an out. Wainwright's line looked good, but if you examine it more closely you'll see that nearly all of his strikeouts were against the 7-8-9 hitters, so, I guess he at least wasn't bad, but I dunno. Some guys grounded out. Some guys struck out. Some guys flew out. Some guys reached base but then didn't progress far enough. Cardinals pitchers recorded a lot of outs, but they were already losing. None of the Giants guys did anything particularly noteworthy, either.
Okay, Stephen Piscotty made a diving catch on the first batter of the game. Fun! After that a gray fog descended on the field and we all sat in front of our televisions watching humdrum baseball events happen. Do you need proof? Well...
...Trevor Rosenthal walked the bases loaded (Trevor, no) in the 9th. No outs, bases loaded, Cards still only down one run. So all was not lost, but the Cards really needed to escape with no runs allowed. Kevin Siegrist is really good, and he was available (he's pitched a single inning in the last week), but Mike Matheny went to Dean Kiekhefer instead. He sure did!
See, Matheny didn't care either. Nobody cared any more by that point. We were all listless and had this one down as a crappy loss, and so did Mike. So he blinked, shrugged, and burped a replacement-level reliever onto the field, and the Giants got some extra runs. Eh.
- Is Rosenthal going to lose his job? I think he's going to lose his job. Whether or not he should, pulling him for friggin' Kiekhefer is a pretty brutal vote of no confidence from the manager.
- For Kiekhefer! I'm serious. They were probably going to lose anyway, but, Kiekhefer!
- All is vanity and a striving after the wind. But if you're keeping track, the Cards are only like 1.5 back in the wild card race right now, so, let's not go digging graves just yet.