In the interest of full disclosure, I am in a terrible mood. It is entirely due to watching the baseball game that just happened. It's not quite as bad of a mood as it could be, since I got to see Alex Reyes dominate MLB hitters in one inning of work, but nonetheless the game had a negative impact on my evening. So I'll try my best to recap this game as if that is not the case, but it will probably bleed through in my disdain for how the game ended.
Think of tonight's game like yesterday's, but with hope for seven innings and no comeback. Mike Leake didn't pitch good at all and was lucky to only have given up three runs over six innings. He walked four and struck out none. I'll say this: the umpire gave him absolutely no calls from my perspective. Still, even accounting for that, there's pretty much no way you can classify it a good start.
Part of why he didn't allow more than three runs was because Billy Hamilton, who led off the game with a line drive single, got picked off at second base by Leake immediately after getting on base. Joey Votto later singled, which would have easily drove him in. In the second, he walked Brandon Phillips, owner of a 4% BB rate, to lead off the inning. He got three subsequent groundouts to prevent any scoring.
In the bottom half of the inning, Yadier Molina hit a home run! I hope he keeps doing that enough to where I'm no longer surprised by a Molina home run. Leake naturally gave the lead away immediately. He walked Hamilton, owner of a 6.6% BB rate before the game and... you know he's Billy Hamilton so why would you ever walk him? A single by Zack Cozart and a walk to Joey Votto brought the bases loaded for Adam Duvall. He singled home two runs. Phillips ended the rally with a double play ball.
In the 3rd, the Cardinals ruined a good scoring chance, or rather Matt Carpenter did. He led off with a walk, as he does often. Tommy Pham hit a ball barely in front of the plate, which the catcher handled and threw him out. Carpenter thought he could make it to third on that play and he almost did. But he started his slide way too early and was thrown out. It was not a play Carpenter should have tried to make in the first place.
The Reds increased their lead in the 4th when Leake hit Scott Schebler with a pitch. Schebler was able to steal second base, reminding us all that Molina is 34. He advanced to third on a flyout and then scored when Leake couldn't handle a ball cleanly hit right back at him. The Cardinals responded by loading the bases with a Brandon Moss walk, Molina infield hit, and Jhonny Peralta single to begin the inning. Jedd Gyorko then peed on your dreams by getting into a double play ball, which did score one, but effectively ended the scoring for the inning.
In the 5th, Matt Holliday hit a line drive that just kept going and it somehow ended up over the wall. It was an absolute rocket. Leake somehow made it through his last two innings of work to get the quality start - I guess as a reminder that quality start isn't a great stat. Kevin Siegrist, who I'm starting to realize isn't good (4.47 FIP this year), gave up the lead when he... walked Hamilton. Seriously, it isn't that hard to not walk Hamilton. I don't understand. Someone please help me understand. Just throw him strikes. He has the power of a Paul Bako, or the most appropriate baseball name ever, Peanuts Lowrey. Or you know an actual peanut if you will. You get the point. Here's a shocker: Votto drove him in.
No problem, the Cardinals were like: Ok bullpen you're starting to get on my nerves, but we will bail you out again. Holliday hit a two-out double and Moss drove him in to tie the game. And the bullpen responded: Look ok it's kind of hard for me to pitch with no arm, but I guess I'll do it. Matt Bowman, who pitched two innings yesterday, pitched like he had pitched two innings yesterday. He was not helped by the defense, who treated the ball like a hot potato.
Anyway, they scored three runs off Bowman before Matheny took him out of the game. Zach Duke, who did not pitch two innings yesterday, struck out Votto to end the inning. In the 9th, Reyes made his major league debut. He came, he saw, he threw dirty, dirty pitches. His curveball was filthy and his fastball was 101. He got a 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout and two groundouts. Hitters did not look comfortable. The offense farted to end the game.
- Brandon Finnegan walked six and gave up three runs in 6 innings so the Cardinals offense should have scored more runs because of course they should have. Welcome to 2016.
- Holliday hit a home run, a double, and lined out. He also struck out, but literally every ball he hit was an absolute rope. He might be heating up.
- Carpenter, Moss, Holliday, Peralta, Molina, and Pham all got on base twice and the other two regulars got on base once. Somehow that turns into only four runs.
Tomorrow, the Cardinals face the Reds' only good pitcher Anthony DeSclafani, who I think the Cardinals will beat because this season makes no sense. He is facing Jaime Garcia, who had a pretty good start last time if you haven't heard.