|NEW YORK METS||ST. LOUIS CARDINALS|
|Jose Reyes - 3B||Matt Carpenter - 1B|
|Curtis Granderson - CF||Jedd Gyorko - 2B|
|Yoenis Cespedes - LF||Brandon Moss - LF|
|Jay Bruce - RF||Stephen Piscotty - RF|
|James Loney - 1B||Yadier Molina - C|
|Asdrubal Cabrera - SS||Jhonny Peralta - 3B|
|Kelly Johnson - 2B||Randal Grichuk - CF|
|Travis d'Arnaud - C||Greg Garcia - SS|
|Jacob deGrom - RHP||Carlos Martinez - RHP|
The Cardinals sent Carlos Martinez to the mound for the 24th time this season as a starter tonight, over 144 IP. Carlos hasn't had quite the season many of us had been hoping for, especially when looking at his sabermetrics. His SIERA is north of 4.0, and his FIP and xFIP are not as far below 4.0 as I would like. However, his traditional ERA is at 3.24, which means he has been perhaps the ace of the Cardinals staff in an off year for their rotation. Having a much worse than usual defense has really exposed the rotation.
Perhaps most concerning is that his K/9 is not as good as it was in past seasons, while his BB ratio has not improved. Meanwhile Mets starter Jacob DeGrom has been very good this year, better than Carlos Martinez has been thus far. VEB's very own Red Baron mentioned it is as if Carlos has been pitching with restraint all year and not pushing through to his full potential. On that, I think perhaps the organization has told him to not burn himself out before the postseason. Hopefully that is partly what is going on and that he can really stretch out down the stretch and be himself.
So the Cardinals have their work cut out for them tonight vs DeGrom. Well, if you throw out looking at the two offenses. The Cardinals' offense has been vastly superior to the Mets' this season. The Mets have struggled on offense and it is the main thing which is holding them back. Like many teams, the Mets have better defense than the Cardinals. It's just that their position players cannot hit very well.
Mike Matheny or whoever gave this directive put Matt Carpenter back into the leadoff spot tonight. Inexplicably, the guy hits far better leading off than he does batting 2nd or 3rd. I am not sure anyone knows why this is a thing, but it certainly does appear to be a thing. Could be life just tricking all of us again, but hey, let's roll with it.
This paid off just about instantly because Matt Carpenter lead off the game with a home run. That always bodes well for a team when the very first guy scored in the very first inning. His teammates in the not so special 2nd/3rd/4th positions in the batting order did nothing to help, he just went ahead and did his thing without anyone in line ahead of him. Good job Matt Carpenter, I'm glad you like leading off so much! It's only one time a game no one can set the table for you, kind sir.
To back track, Carlos Martinez looked pretty good in the first inning. He allowed no one to score. That's a good job for any pitcher. It wasn't too hard for him in the first. I forgot to mention, he has sort of a lucky BABIP going on this year, which is partly why the sabermetric rate stats are not too favorable towards him. Well, in the 2nd he gave up the most bloopy single you could probably see on a given night, Jay Bruce fluking one over a diving Jhonny Peralta.
Bruce seemed to tweak himself somehow while running, looking very uncomfortable after the awkward double. He came out of the game. The next batter knocked in the pinch runner for Bruce with a solidly hit double by Asdrubal Cabrera. Gamethread VEB'rs blamed these events on defense. 1-1 tie game however you want to think about it.
Things were a bit quiet until Yadi doubled. He then tried to steal third base and was thrown out because he is slow. The Cardinals attempted to put something together with a Grichuk double (which would have scored Molina) but they sent Randal on a Greg Garcia single... which resulted in him doing a bizarre roll slide thing, and one of the best throws Curtis Granderson has made in years, and a rather fantastic tag placed by the Mets' catcher Travis d'Arnaud.
The good news was that Carlos Martinez pitched a 1-2-3 inning after that, which made most of us forget about the greedy baserunning witnessed before. It was really fast and effective, thank you Carlos.
Martinez then lead off the next portion of the game known as the bottom of the 3rd inning, being that the Cardinals were at home. They have been well under .500 at home to the dismay to the home crowd attendees (but good for us out of towners... well, when we are not commuting to St Louis to view live baseball games). Carlos was out with a grounder and it was still tied at 1. The Mets announcers chastised him for not running it out down to first base.
DeGrom struck out Matt Carpenter next, Carp looking discombobulated at the plate, a rarity. Jedd Gyorko though just went up and got it and put the ball into right field, going the opposite way. Brandon Moss also had Jacob's number, which was one with another single, while Gyorko somehow moved over to third base despite his speed. Piscotty up: Stephen hit the ball in such a way that it handcuffed the third baseman who barely was able to stop the ball... he then threw the ball whilst slipping on the grass, and Piscotty beat it out.
Stephen has been great with RISP this season, and he notched another RBI here making it 2-1 Cards. A pretty eventful game after just 3 innings, or maybe I am just rather verbose tonight. On to the 4th!
Carlos Martinez had retired 7 in a row with 2 outs in the fourth inning. James Loney was up, a rather lackluster major leaguer, who had been around for a bit. A cagey veteran? I don't know. Carlos popped him up with a 95mph high fastball for the third out. Which made it 8 in a row retired by Martinez!
DeGrom was looking really good still against Jhonny Peralta. He caused him to fly out to center with one of his pitches, the bat hitting at such an angle that the ball arched right towards the center fielder, who completed the catch. Which brought up the Grich. And when you call him the Grich he leaves you out as well as the K, and he hits dingers. A solo shot which made it 3-1 Cardinals!
The Cardinals almost hit into a double play but Greg Garcia was running to second and blocked the ball from the second baseman's vision, so that instead of a ground into double play by Carlos Martinez, it was runners at first and third one out. Matt Carpenter up, but he anticlimaticly hit into a double play.
Carlos was mixing 96mph with 86mph and confusing the NYM batters. They did not have a lot of firepower anyway, and facing a pitcher who may have been coming out of his already rather effective shell was a tough task. The string of 9 in a row retired was snapped by Mets 2B Kelly Johnson. Then with 2 outs Mets pitcher DeGrom got a hit. Runners at first and second with Jose Reyes up. Strike one Carlos made him look like a flailing fool. Then Reyes presented a bunt and pulled back, which resulted in an almost wild pitch by Martinez. Thankfully, Reyes did not provide any drama and grounded out. Still 3-1 Cards.
DeGrom was plugging away in the 5th inning and thew a wild pitch. The very next pitch Brandon Moss uncharacteristically hit another non-extra base hit. Man on first! The Mossman has ridiculous power, he fought off a pitch out of the zone and put it into play for a single. Then, Mr. Clean hit a home run. And I call Stephen Piscotty that because he cleans up this year, with runners in scoring position. That and he may be the Cardinals new cleanup hitter. His 19th home run of the season!
Peralta continued the hits with a single between left and center. DeGrom did not have his usual velocity tonight, but looked good at times. Still, the Cardinals were putting up a run per inning against him. Next was a rare Grichuk walk! Good job Randal. This knocked DeGrom out of the game. Cards went quietly the rest of the inning.
During the sixth inning, Carlos induced Yoenis Cespedes into a double play. He was then able to escape unscathed.
Fittingly, Matt Carpenter lead off the sixth inning for the Cards. He was dialing in vs Mets reliever Goeddel. He struck out looking though on a pretty great breaking ball. It was indeed a strike to my eye.
Anyway, Carlos was still looking pretty good in the 7th. I think he might be our best starting pitcher at this point. Which is not saying a whole lot. He was putting some guys on base though. With runners at first and second and one out, Bowman was warming in the bullpen. But then Carlos succeeded in inducing another ground into double play!
In the bottom of the 7th, Yadi got a hit then Peralta blasted a triple into the right field corner. It took an odd hop which allowed him to get that far. The Cardinals kept the pressure on and did not relent, when Greg Garcia sent Jhonny Peralta home for the team's 7th run of the game. Then, Carlos Martinez smoked a grounder at Asdrubal Cabrera which, well, smoked his glove or something. Cabrera then spiked the ball onto the ground in utmost frustration.
The Cardinals kindly left it at 7 runs at that point, as they already had 16 hits. Carlos Martinez remained into the 8th inning, pitching ever deeper. He seemed to be losing more control though. Carlos' pitches were seeming to just become more and more sloppy as time went along. Still, the slop was able to best Cespedes, as he struck out on a pitch in the dirt.
Gyorko, Jedd lead off the bottom of the 8th inning with a hit. Piscotty belted out his 3rd hit of the night for the Cardinals 18th hit or something, I lost count. Yadier Molina sort of made up for his stealing ways earlier (that hypocrite!) by knocking in a guy for an RBI. Robles was the pitcher. Jhonny Peralta was up again. This just being the 8th inning, mind you. Well, I suppose this wouldn't be happening if it was the 9th, but I digress. Why do people say that? Who digresses anymore? I don't know, I guess I do.
Perhaps thankfully, I don't know, Peralta hit into a double play. So on to the 9th! 19 hits! Inexplicably, Mike Matheny "clohsed" out the game with Final Boss, Seung Hwan Oh, with a 7 RUN LEAD. You can, ok forget it Matheny, this is supposed to be a good time tonight. Nevermind that the team has very few off days and a stretch to go down in the near future. Whatever, Mike. I am preparing for my victory whiskey. Tonight I drank a delicious habanero-mango hard cider, and an Arrogant Bastard from Stone Brewery, a classic in my book.
The Stone Buddha sliced through the Mets' lineup with some sort of laser focused katana blade or whatever, I don't know, buddhas don't do that, I'm just drunk and hammered. He hammered his way through with pitches that they couldn't pick up on very well. I feel like a petulant child but yeah, another Cardinals win! Let's be happy with that and rejoice. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!
+ There were so many Cardinals hits I think it somehow knocked them out of the playoff chase, I guess we shall find out in the not too distant future
+ Cardinals have been scoring 5 runs per game this season, well maybe more than that since the Mets announcers showed this stat before the end of the game
+ The Cardinals are an awesome baseball team
+ Carlos Martinez lowered his ERA and FIP while raising his xFIP. He is an extreme groundball pitcher, somehow.
+ Stephen Piscotty and Carlos Martinez ran this show tonight
+ The Cardinals belted 3 home runs tonight. They are not the team they were last year. They are the home run team of the National League this year.
+ Piscotty and Molina were 3 for 5 tonight!
+ Randal Grichuk was 2 for 3 with a walk and a home run (I list walk first because it is harder for him to walk than it is to home run I think)
+ Carlos Martinez was quite the hitting and effective pitcher tonight! TSUNAMI
+ Asdrubal Cabrera gets the + for the other team since he was 1 for 2 with a walk and had a .100 WPA
+ The Cardinals won a relatively important game against a decent team by a 7 run margin, confidence builder!
- The Cards struck out 7 times
- d'Arnaud wasn't very good tonight by WPA, so unclutch
- Jose Reyes was also very unclutch
- Carlos Martinez seems to be using a series of smoke and mirrors to be great this year... things are not adding up to success but success is there
- DeGrom gets the shit hat tonight, or whatever you want to call it, it was not his night with a negative .287 to Martinez's .210 WPA
- This was a weird game and I am done trying to explain it, just glad the Cardinals won!
The next game vs the Mets for the rubber match is a bit earlier tomorrow night at 6:15pm central time, then they play the Oakland Athletics in some sort of exhibition match. Oh wait, it counts!