Clumsy would be a charitable description of this game. Clumsy is the descriptor a bad author gives her female lead to make her relatable. Clumsy is what a how you describe your new puppy trying to chase the vacuum. This was a sloppy, inept mess. By virtue of both teams playing defense and pitching as though they were wearing giant foam fingers glued to their hands, baseball fans were treated to something less like a major league baseball game and more akin to a slow-motion debacle that begs to be turned off and forgotten immediately.
Nats got on the board early with Bryce Harper driving in Adam Eaton. Despite a high pitch count for Adam Wainwright to start off the game, he would hold the Nats to just that run in the 1st. The Cardinals would go back on top in the second with a long drive by Kolten Wong, scoring Jhonny Peralta and Yadier Molina. The Nationals would then tie it back up in the bottom of the inning with Eaton and Stephen Drew. This game was mostly a see-saw over the first few innings, with both teams doing everything short of kicking the ball into the crowd to allow the other team a chance to take the lead.
The 5th inning got off to a good start with the game tied 3-3: after Fowler reached on an error (his second of the night!), Matt Carpenter, Stephen Piscotty, and Molina then hit consecutive singles to score 2 for the Cards. On the next play, Stephen Drew would shut the Cardinals down with a great grab, which was a definite out at second but could maybe have allowed the batter to reach at first. Unfortunately, the runner was Jhonny Peralta, running at approximately the speed of my modem in 1996, who was initially called safe, but ruled out on the challenge by the Nats.
Wainwright came back out to pitch the bottom of the 5th, despite being at 89 pitches already. He was pulled for Brett Cecil after the first three batters reached, but the damage was already done. A flare over Diaz’s head would score the tying run. A sac fly by Adam Eaton produced a go-ahead run. Nothing was particularly bad about Cecil’s outing in the 5th other than luck: the fact is simply that Brett Cecil has angered Ugallu, Bearer of Famine and Plagues, and will never be allowed to know what it feels like to pitch with no runners on.
However, Cecil had nothing left for the 6th inning - after allowing two runners, he was lifted for Matt Bowman, who allowed another run to score. After a very positive outing by Trevor Rosenthal that makes it difficult not to hope wildly that he’s back to form, things further unraveled from there, with Kevin Siegrist and Jonathan Broxton both letting the Nationals pour it on in the 8th inning. A lot more runs scored. A LOT. The Nationals would score 7 runs in a 44 pitch slog of an inning that tested the patience of even the stoutest fan. Oh, and then Jedd Gyorko homered in the 9th. Pretty impressive for a righty in that ballpark going over that wall, but it was cold comfort after watching the bullpen ERA jump to nearly 9.00 on the season after the previous inning’s mess.
Do better tomorrow, guys.
When did Matheny leave us scratching our heads? A puzzling call on positioning the infield drawn in against Bryce Harper with one out, leaving Wainwright in a bit longer than optimal, a double switch that seemed unlikely to work out.
What were the bright spots? Trevor Rosenthal returns with a bang - 14 pitches, 3 Ks. Umm...no one was injured? That...that’s about it.
Without knowing precisely what the rest of the season holds, would you say it's time for Fox Sports Midwest viewers to crack each other's heads open and feast on the goo inside? Yes, I would.
Cardinals try to right the ship against the Nationals tomorrow at 6:05.