There once was a team from Ohio
Their offense seemed awfully dry though
And Cardinals have been
In need of a win
I thought they would, but what do I know?
This was an ugly one, folks; no way to sugarcoat it. So, let's just dive right in. Today, Jaime Garcia faced off against Dan Straily, who I had never heard of until today, but who happens to be one of the best pitchers in the Reds rotation (which isn't really saying too much). Meanwhile, Garcia was coming off of a couple of bad starts - one where he didn't make it past four innings - and was looking for a win today.
Jedd Gyorko started off the game on a good note, hitting a solo home run in the first inning to give the Cardinals an early 1-0 lead. Straily struggled with his command early, walking three batters in the first three innings, but the Cardinals couldn't capitalize. The score remained 1-0 going into the bottom of third. In that inning, Tyler Holt hit a ground rule double into the shadows of right field that Stephen Piscotty couldn't quite catch up to. Straily failed to sacrifice him over and Billy Hamilton flew out. With two out, it looked like Garcia might make it out of the inning unscathed, but Zack Cosart doubled to tie the game 1-1.
The Cardinals threatened in the fourth inning. Randal Grichuk doubled and Greg Garcia walked, leading to runners on first and second with only one out. Alberto Rosario, getting the start today while Yadier Molina had an always welcomed day of rest, hit a deep fly ball to center field. Hamilton was playing fairly shallow and had to run back on it, and it really seemed like the ball was going over his head. But at the last second, Hamilton stretched out his glove and caught the ball on the run. Garcia was primed to score from first and had a long way to go back. He didn't make it. Hamilton threw a rocket to first to double him up and the inning ended with the score still tied.
The Reds scored again in the fifth. With one out, Hamilton singled and a Joey Votto doubled. Garcia intentionally walked the next batter to load the bases. Hamilton ended up scoring on a passed ball. 2-1 Reds.
An opportunity for a Cardinals crooked inning arose again in the sixth. With two out, Straily walked the bases loaded. Rosario was up. I hoped for a pinch hitter. Dan McLaughlin even recognized that this would have been a good move. Rosario, however close he was to a go-ahead double or triple a couple of innings prior, is not a great hitter. And that's not really his fault. His role is to provide backup for Molina, call a decent game, and not actively lose games for the club. For some reason, even though we have expanded rosters, we have no third catcher. Poor roster management, I suppose. In any event, pinch-hitting for Rosario meant that Molina would have to play at least four innings. And if the team is committed to giving him a true, full day off, then I can understand the decision to let Rosario hit for himself. I don't like it, but I understand it. Straily came out of the game, Travis Wood came in, Rosario swung at the first pitch and softly grounded out. Inning over, score still 2-1.
After that, things went downhill. Miguel Socolovich relieved Garcia in the bottom of the seventh inning. Hamilton singled and Votto doubled (does this sound familiar?) to put runners on second and third with one out. Dean Kiekhefer came in to relieve Socolovich, and that is kind of when I figured that Mike Matheny had given up on this game. Kiekhefer intentionally walked Adam Duvall, then gave up a sharp single to pinch-hitter Ramon Cabrera. Hamilton and Votto scored; 4-1 Reds.
I'll be honest; I stopped paying attention after that. I had already been day drinking at brunch so it was natural that I would start pounding beers and naively assume that the Cardinals would mount an awesome comeback. Alas, that did not happen. Instead, somehow the Reds scored five runs in the eighth inning to just really drive that nail into the coffin. All of them scored off of Jerome Williams, who literally hasn't pitched in nine days. You almost feel bad for the guy. Final score: 9-1 Reds.
1. The Reds ran a lot on Rosario. In the sixth inning, Jose Peraza stole second base while Tucker Barnhart struck out swinging. The umpire called interference on the hitter and Peraza had to go back. On the very next pitch (or at least what seemed like the very next pitch because it was IN YOUR FACE) to the new batter Tyler Holt, Peraza took off again and stole second cleanly, again. Then he got greedy and tried to steal third. And he was in there! He had the throw beat, but he overslid the base. Jhonny Peralta kept the tag on and got the out. Hamilton also had a stolen base today - his 58th on the season. Hamilton is a fast, fast man.
2. The final score was ugly, but it overshadows a decent outing by Jaime Garcia. He allowed six hits in six innings and struck out eight, while allowing just two runs. He walked four batters, though, and although one of them was an intentional walk, that's really too many. I'm as perplexed by what to do with Jaime as I was last weekend.
3. it is obvious the bullpen is taxed, based on who Matheny used today. Socolovich, Broxton, Kiekhefer, and Williams. I don't think we need to make a move for a reliever, but when the good ones are unavailable, there is a potential weak spot there.
4. Straily walked seven batters in 5.2 innings. Seven. The Cardinals capitalized on exactly zero of those walks. Our only run was Gyorko's first inning solo home run. I don't even know how this is logistically possible. Three GIDPs and eight LOBsters. It was disappointing, to say the least.
5. Remember last Sunday when I was all optimistic about going into series (serieses?) with Milwaukee and Cincinnati? Well, we're 2-3 so far on this road trip, looking to even it up tomorrow. Carlos Martinez, coming off an unbelievable 13-strikeout performance, takes the mound against Tim Adleman at 12:10 CT.
Happy Labor Day Weekend, everyone! Hope you are all enjoying bratwursts, burgers, and (lots of) beer, but please be safe out there.
P.S. I got a new laptop at work and I still have the old VEB layout on it. This made my weekend.