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4.15.17 Cards @ Yankees Recap: Cards Fall Again, 3-2

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The Redbirds played sloppy baseball again, with two errors, a passed ball, and mental mistakes that allowed what would be the winning run to score. It's gonna be a long season, guys.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at New York Yankees
Carlos is pulled, putting us out of our collective misery
Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Carlos Martinez:

Eight walks, eleven strikeouts

Stranger things, indeed

The Game

This...was a weird one, folks. Carlos Martinez started for the Cardinals, and he was just...off from the start. He walked the first two Yankee hitters, then threw a passed ball to Chris Carter that allowed the runners to advance. Martinez eventually struck out Carter and the next hitter, Jacoby Ellsbury, but threw a wild pitch to Starlin Castro, allowing Gardner to score. He walked Castro, walked Chase Headley, then struck out future hall-of-famer Greg Bird looking. At the end of the first inning, Carlos had thrown 37 pitches, walked four, and struck out the side. No balls put in play, but a run scored. It only got weirder from there.

The second inning was oddly familiar, if somewhat upside-down: this time, Martinez struck out the first two batters, but then walked the next two (incidentally, the SAME two batters he walked in the first inning). He struck out Carter again to end the inning. If you’re keeping score at home, that’s six walks and six strikeouts through two innings pitched, and the start of a Edwin Jackson-style no hitter.

The next few innings were uneventful, if not still sort of bizarre. Martinez struck out two in the third, two in the fourth, and poor Chris Carter again in the fifth, but walked two more in that frame. After five innings, he’d thrown 110 pitches, walked eight hitters, and - unbelievably - Matheny sent him back out to start the sixth inning. Luckily, the Cardinals had someone warming in the bullpen in case he got into trouble. HAHA JUST KIDDING. Of course no one was warming. What team have you been watching for the last five years?

The first hitter of the sixth, Ronald Torreyes, hit a high fly ball to shallow left center field, and it seemed like Grichuk, Diaz, or possibly even Fowler could have caught it, so of course no one did. It seemed like Grichuk and Diaz couldn’t find it, and Fowler didn’t realize until it was too late that the others were just standing around like ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. So the ball dropped in for a hit, and Torreyes hustled into second base. The ball beat him, but he (maybe?) managed to avoid the tag with some Matrix moves. You guys will just have to watch it for yourselves here.

P.S. per Statcast, that ball had a 99% catch rate for Grichuk and 94% for Fowler.

After a fielder’s choice allowing a runner to score, a throwing error by Carlos allowing a runner to get to second, and a single that scored the Yankees’ third run, Martinez was relieved by Brett Cecil. His final line: 5.1 IP, 2 R, 4 H 8(!) BB, 11 SO, 118 pitches thrown.

Jedd Gyorko and Stephen Piscotty hit two solo home runs in the later innings, but they weren’t enough to best the Yankees. The Cardinals lost 3-2, bringing them to a paltry 3-8 on the season.

Notes

1. For unknown reasons, outfielder Jose Martinez started the game at first base. First baseman Matt Adams, who has been starting in the outfield, sat on the bench today (fair enough, against the left-handed C.C. Sabathia). But this is just another notch on the belt of head-scratching moves that have defined this young 2017 season. Martinez had a hit today, but also made a completely understandable error playing out of position.

2. Matt Carpenter was the DH today. He could have easily played first base while Martinez DHed, if Matheny wanted to go with a mostly right-handed hitting lineup. I can’t honestly understand why he didn’t do that. Carpenter had a day off already earlier in the week. This is the 11th game of the season. I’m at a loss.

3. Molina seemed off today, too. One of the errant pitches in the first inning was scored a wild pitch, but still something we’d expect to see Molina get to (or, to which we’d expect to see Molina get, for you grammar nerds). The passed ball looked stoppable, as well. The Yankees ran against Molina like they’d never heard of him before, swiping two bases in succession in the third inning. Couple all of this with his half-assed non-catch on Kolten Wong’s unnecessary throw to the plate in last night’s loss, and you have to wonder - how much longer is he really going to be elite defensively? Is he even elite anymore at all?

4. If you’re wondering whether Carlos got squeezed a little today, the answer is yes, he probably did, at least against LHH:

pitch f/x against LHH
BrooksBaseball.net

I count four obvious strikes called balls, and at least five borderline calls. Still, look at all those triangles that are just nowhere near the zone. The RHH looks more fair, with only two borderline calls that did not go Carlos’ way.

pitch f/x against RHH
BrooksBaseball.net

Adam Wainwright and Michael Pineda square off tomorrow at 8:05 ET for ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, as the Cardinals look (hope? pray? do a rain dance?) for their fourth win. Happy Easter, everyone.