Scene: City Field. New York.
Matt Adams had just flown out to left field and Jedd Gyorko worked a one out four-pitch walk and was pinch-ran for with Randal Grichuk. The Cardinals were down by one run with the tying run on base and Yadier Molina up to bat. Jeurys Familia stood on the mound as the Mets closer, attempting to preserve the lead.
Yadier Molina is no longer the hitter he once was. Two separate thumb injures, thousands of innings at catcher, and just plain old age has diminished his once above average capabilities. At a premium position such as the one he plays, an 87 wRC+ will suffice, but that does not mean he is necessarily a guy that instills confidence at the plate when the game is on the line. Not anymore, anyway.
Jeurys Familia is a darn good pitcher. He had not blown a save since last season - fifty-two straight appearances. He throws hard, he does not walk a whole lot, he strikes out a lot, and he has yet to give up a home run all year.
So it was after this four-pitch walk to Gyorko that Molina stepped to the plate. Molina always seems to have a very cerebral approach to his plate appearances, perhaps from all his years at calling a game. Maybe it was this superior insight that prompted him to swing at the first pitch or maybe he was just guessing. Either way, the thirty-four-year-old catcher connected and drove Familia's 96 mile-per-hour fastball deep into left-center field. The hit would go for an RBI double, scoring Grichuk rather easily from first base to tie the game.
Now with the game tied and Jeremey Hazelbaker on second, Kolten Wong faced Familia with two outs. Wong fouled off the first pitch and was unable to check his swing on the second to get into a quick two-strike hole. Wong goes into protect mode, fouling off anything close and laying off anything not. The at-bat goes six pitches. Hazelbaker steals second. The count is two balls, two strikes. Another foul. Familia throws the eighth pitch of the at bat, a ninety-seven miles-per-hour fastball on the outer half of the plate. Kolten slaps it the other way for a double, scoring Hazelbaker and giving the Cardinals a five runs to four lead. And Kolten was pumped AF.
Seung Hwan Oh retires the side in the bottom of the frame to preserve the game and win the series for the Cardinals.
two innings earlier
Oh yes, the unpleasantness.
Adam Wainwright pitched over thirty pitches in the bottom of the seventh inning. The entire ordeal was a breathless affair, each pitch putting the viewer on the edge of his or her seat with palpable anticipation. Waino had not been exactly sharp during the game, but appeared to dig deep, pulling from somewhere that athletes talk about, but rarely is actually found. There were two on with no out and Wainwright threw curve after curve and painted the corners of the plate to strike out two in a row. The feared Yoenis Cespedes came to the plate.
And Waino had him. He haaaaaaaaaaad him. But the curveball hung up too high and Yoenis hit it too hard and what was a one run lead because a one run deficit. It sucked mightily.
Of course, the argument becomes whether or not Waino should have been pitching to Cespedes at all and also of course, hindsight would tell us "no" and foresight would also probably tell us "no". But it would have been so awesome if he was able to escape that jam.
"Cespedes hasn't hit a home run in three weeks, Wainwright hasn't given up a home run in two months. Both overdue."
Damn you, Gary Cohen!
how the other runs were scored:
- Neil Walker singled off Wainwright to score James Loney in the second 0-1
- Matt Holliday doubled to score Wainwright and Aledmys Diaz in the third 2-1
- Matt Adams doubled to score Holliday in the third 3-1
LIL SCOOTER'S LIL PLAYER OF THE GAME:
Look at Yadi rocking that even .400 WPA. Wong gets an honorable mention here coming in at .376.
LOOK AT THIS WIN EXPECTANCY GRAPH:
It's as captivating as Tyler Lyons's eyes.
Tomorrow the Birdos travel south to Miami as Michael Wacha takes on Jose Fernandez in a battle for my adoration.
Just kidding, I will treasure them both no matter the outcome.
Game time is 6:10pm CST.