|ST. LOUIS CARDINALS||MILWAUKEE BREWERS|
|Matt Carpenter - 1B||Jonathan Villar - 3B|
|Jedd Gyorko - SS||Kirk Nieuwenhuis - RF|
|Brandon Moss - RF||Ryan Braun - LF|
|Jhonny Peralta - 3B||Hernan Perez - 2B|
|Yadier Molina - C||Chris Carter - 1B|
|Randal Grichuk - CF||Keon Broxton - CF|
|Jeremy Hazelbaker - LF||Orlando Arcia - SS|
|Greg Garcia - 2B||Martin Maldonado - C|
|Luke Weaver - RHP||Matt Garza - RHP|
Matt Garza got the start for the Brewers. He was not good last year, facing a terrible 2015. This year he is not as good as he used to be, but at least better than last year. His 4.87 SIERA this season in a bounceback year suggests his best days are behind him.
On the Cardinals side, rather than a stale older pitcher Luke Weaver took the mound tonight in Milwaukee. The kid has just begun his big league career. And the projections systems like him fairly well, predicting a 3.71 ERA from him this year. That should give the Cardinals the advantage tonight.
The Cardinals have upped their defensive metrics to break even now, while the Brewers find themselves in the middle of a bunch of negative zone rated teams. By UZR, the Cardinals have been better than Milwaukee at fielding.
St. Louis remains at the top of the National League with the Cubs in offensive production from a sabermetric standpoint. These slugging Redbirds have finally overtaken Baltimore in Isolated Power statistic wizardry, being #1 in MLB by ISO. Their home run total as a team being tops in the National League by a fair margin. The Brewers have been a fairly unexciting offensive team in 2016. The Brewers 25.5% K rate as a team may be a telling stat to put their offense this season into context.
The seasonal context for this matchup was that it was the 6th time this season they tried to go to 10 games over .500. So a win tonight could have meant a 71-61 record, as they had just climbed to 70 wins after winning the series the night before.
Luke Weaver began the game by striking out four guys in 2IP. That's an 18 K/9! Garza was also effective and no runs were scored after 2 innings. The third inning began with Matt Carpenter having something in his eye or general face area, he looked fidgety and uncomfortable. He was not successful at hitting given the dust, bug, or whatever in his eye. I hope he isn't fatigued! It looked like nothing a little eyedrop wouldn't fix.
Except the vision problem continued in the dugout. We knew this because the camera was on him, trying to fix his vision. None of the offense was happening that inning. The first Brewer on base was in the third, Weaver's counterpoint: Matt Garza. With 2 outs Garza was on first, and leadoff hitter Villar stretched what should have been a single into a double. He was pretty fleet of foot, but I don't know.
The runners were at 2nd and 3rd, 2 out! And lo and behold, Nieuwenhuis hit a moonshot into the outfield, a towering home run off of young Luke. Just spelling that name I had to use the force, he must be of the dark side. By the way, Matt Garza walked. And we got punished for that.
The 4th inning was punctuated by the Cardinals 20th consecutive game with a home run, Yadier Molina stroking a solo shot over the wall. 3-1 Brewers. Garza continued to carve up the Cardinals after that, I guess he must have been getting lucky or had figured something out to limit the potent StL lineup.
The fifth started with the camera focused on a very stern looking Mike Matheny, with almost a scowl on his face. Usually he looks rather nonplussed and unemotional. This inning he was making some funny faces though. Gyorko's odd hairdo in the background for added effect. Matheny was spitting a lot.
Who knows, maybe I would be really annoyed that my team was not hitting Matt Garza well too. The Cardinals just could not get through to the guy, he was pitching like a younger man. He used to be pretty good at times.
Matt Garza was up to the plate again and after striking out the previous two batters, he struck out Matt Garza instead of walking the pitcher. The Brewers were playing some defense, uncharacteristic for them, in the 6th. This was the first time that I noticed the strike zone was pretty off tonight, as Jhonny Peralta did some rare complaining at the plate during a strikeout to Garza. He is usually pretty stoic.
Dream Weaver 2 continued into the 6th inning. I don't know if he was showing his inexperience or just the Brewers getting lucky, but the bases were loaded with 1 out, and slugger Chris Carter was up. He either strikes out or hits a dinger, so with the threat of a grand slam, Weaver's major league meddle was being tested in a clear way. Weaver went right after him and got him to 1-2, but then threw something in the dirt.
He then started nibbling and I got worried he might walk him in, or worse yet, grand slam. Luke got Chris to pop up and out though! I figured it was time for ice cold beer #2 (an Old Rasputin, so it was quite dark, strong, and stout). Luke Weaver struck out the guy! The game remained within striking distance.
Speaking of striking, Randal Grichuk was up. He could strike, or strike out. Is he a Chris Carterish center fielder? Maybe! But he's a lot faster at least. He popped up this time. We all need to remember that these guys USUALLY record an out, no matter who it is (well, with the exceptions of perhaps Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds). Jeremy Hazelbaker was up, pretending not to be a AAAA guy. This time it didn't work and he remained a plus defensive left fielder.
Socolovich was the next Cardinals pitcher. He threw something that I never saw him throw before, some kind of sideways breaking monster that dumbfounded the hitter and was a called strike. It was then 2-2 against Maldonado because Maldonado destroyed a pitch foul. He then threw some ground junk and caused the batter to ground out.
Socolovich looked a little wild tonight, especially since he threw some near-wild pitch against Matt Garza, who was still in the game, holding the Cardinals to just 1 run. He was retired and the side went 1-2-3 against Miguel S.
The Cardinals threatened in the 8th, runners on 1st and 2nd, knocking out Garza. Al Hrbosky commanded Matt Carpenter to hit, but it was pulled foul. This would've been a monster home run, and Al would've been right. Hrbosky brought it up even, but was disappointed. We all had our hopes up, maybe. Unfortunately he lined it out to second, right at a guy. Only one out though.
Brandon Moss was up with 2 outs, men on first and second, nearly mimicking the earlier Chris Carter situation. The Cardinals didn't score. In the 8th, Yadier Molina was faced with great pain as a Johnathan Broxton pitch was fouled off onto the back of his thigh. Ouch! Broxton worked to 0-2 against the next guy, but then threw a ball. To make up for that, he struck out -huis. Braun was then up with no one on base and 2 out. Big John took care of us tonight. No Braun hit or anything.
The Cardinals had another chance to score in the 9th inning, and Randal Grichuk was up. Not the best person, unless a home run? But that would be inefficient homering or whatever. Randal flied out again. It wasn't looking like the Cardinals would complete the sweep at this point. Hazelbaker up with the final out. Thornburg was looking pretty good at pitching though, in relief. Matheny staring off into the distance.
Newenhice or whatever his name is ended the game, with a catch in the outfield, and provided the firepower to win. I don't like that guy.
Brewers win 3-1.
+The Piscotty walk was high leverage!
+Brewers pitching looked damn fine tonight
+NI EU WEN HUIS dominated this game
+Yadi 2 for 4 with a home run, 20 straight games with a Cardinal dinger!
+Cardinals had already won the series before this game
-The Cardinals could not get to 10 games over .500 AGAIN. This has become a thing.
-Matt Carpenter 0 for 4 no walks, could not see right
-Jhonny Peralta was even worse than Matt Carpenter tonight
-the strike zone was not good at all
-Gyorko and Grichuk not pluses either
-Sad to be a Brewers fan, they have left 5 great players go who are tearing it up this season on other teams