For some reason, the Cardinals decided to pitch Jaime Garcia on short rest tonight. I think almost everyone but Mike Matheny thought that was a pretty awful idea. I hate to say "I told you so," especially when what I told you was that a Cardinals player would not perform well, but here we are. Garcia, predictably, gave up four runs in the first inning before he even got the second out. Tyler Lyons was warming up in the bullpen within 20 minutes of the first pitch. After giving up doubles to Dee Gordon and Christian Yelich, a single to Giancarlo Stanton, and a home run to Marcell Ozuna, Garcia got the next two batters to end the inning. The score was 4-0 after 1.
Colin Rea, not to be confused with country music singer Colin Raye, made his first start for the Marlins tonight after being traded from the Padres along with Andrew Cashner and Tayron Guerrero for Jarred Cosart and some other people I don't know and neither do you, probably. He was rolling until the top of the fourth inning when something went very wrong on a strike three pitch to Jedd Gyorko. I watched the replay several times and I couldn't see anything that looked obvious, but as soon as he threw the pitch, Rea motioned the trainer over and almost immediately after that left the game. I was really hoping the Cardinals would take advantage of the Marlins' misfortune.
To literally no one's surprise, Garcia continued to struggle. In the bottom of the fourth inning, he gave up a double to Jeff Mathis and another double to Adeiny Hechavarria (which, to be fair, Matt Holliday almost tracked down), making the score 5-0 Marlins. With one out, Matheny finally put us all out of our misery and pulled Garcia for Lyons. For some reason, Matheny double switched him out, with Matt Adams coming out of the game, Matt Holliday going to first base, and Jeremy Hazelbaker coming into he game to play left field and hit in the pitcher's spot. If you're saying to yourself, "wait, what," you are not alone. It was bizarre and I can't really defend it, unless he wanted to give Lyons a chance to stay in the game longer without having to bat. But then...well, you'll see. At this point, with at least five runs to score in only five innings, the task before this team looked daunting and unlikely.
Our savior, Tyler Lyons, didn't exactly save us. He walked Dee Gordon, who stole second, gave up a double to Martin Prado and an single to Yelich, and suddenly it was 8-0 Marlins. I dutifully trekked on through this game because I care about you guys, but damn if I didn't want to turn it off and get drunk instead. (Okay, I still got drunk though. And kind of stopped caring about this game. When it was 4-nothing I felt really strongly that we would come back and at least make it close. When it was 8-nothing I decidedly did not.)
Some more things happened. Jerome Williams came into pitch after only an inning of Lyons, making the double-switch even stranger and officially not justifiable. Williams pitched poorly, aided by vintage 2016 poor defense. At some point it was 11-0 Marlins. And then, mercifully, the game finally ended.
1. Don't look now, but Yadier Molina has a 14-game hitting streak. He hit a double early before being pulled in the 5th for Alberto Rosario. Silver linings, you guys.
2. Word is, Rea left with "elbow soreness." YIKES.
3. Ichiro did not start, but came into the game in the sixth inning to replace Stanton. He had a couple of at bats, but still did not reach 3,000 hits tonight. I fully expect him to do it tomorrow. Seems the Cardinals are always on the receiving end of other players' milestones. A few I can remember off the top of my head: Ken Griffey, Jr.'s, 500th homerun, Roger Clemens' 300th win, Roger Clemens' 4,000th strikeout, and Trevor Hoffman's 600th save (hat tip to cardsfan59 for that last one). Any others I'm missing?
4. Scoreboard watching: the Cubs lost today, aided by a schadenfreude-iful Aroldis Chapman blown save. It sure would have been nice to gain a game on them, but hey! - at least we didn't lose one.
5. More good news: after the off day Monday, the Cardinals play the Reds, the Braves, and the Reds before starting a four-game series with the Cubs on August 11. We have a real chance to be four games or less out of first by the time that series starts.
6. Carlos Martinez looks to right the ship tomorrow against the Marlins' other newly-acquired pitcher, Andrew Cashner. The game starts at 12:10 CT.