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Wainwright Does It All, Definitively Proves DH Rule Is Stupid

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Waino delivers a dominant performance, leading on both sides of the ledger to even Brewers series

“Eh, that one’s goin’ in the upper deck, son.”
@Cardinals on twitter dot com

Pregame

We are playing a game tonight against the Brewers, who have started the year much better than us. Adam Wainwright squares off against Wily Peralta. You know most of these guys. We need a win after last night’s sad dingerfest and the sluggish start we got off to.

Let’s go Cardinals! :clap clap clapclapclap:

The Game

First inning - Matt Carpenter doubled with two outs, then was picked off of second to end the inning, thrown out on the bases like a nincompoop. Irritation level: 6.

The Brew Crew put runners on first and second to set up a threat, but Aledmys Diaz made a scintillating play on a hard liner that would have hit a little behind him and to his left.

Second inning - Jedd Gyorko worked a tough at-bat, then hammered one to straightaway center. Keon Broxton (probably not related to Jon Broxton, but I didn’t verify that) made a great play to run it down. Yadi and Spring Training Hero followed with pretty quick outs.

In the bottom of the frame, Keon Broxton led off with a slappy liner that shot down the first baseline and caromed around in the corner. Keon Broxton is so very unlike his distant cousin Jon. He is a quick dude. He had an easy triple of it. Wily Peralta hit a slow grounder up the middle that neither Diaz nor Wong really seemed to want, and Broxton scored. Bad Guys lead, 1-0.

Third inning - Wong hit a nice “double” to left center with one out to set the table. It was really a single, but he used his wheels to take the extra base with some truly impressive baserunning. Then, Adam Wainwright stepped into the box to attempt to protect his pitching performance. Could he match his counterpart and drive in the tying run? Or would we be left listening to DH apologists’ gloating?

Why yes, yes he could. This was a no-doubter, into the second deck down the LF line. Waino es bueno. The DH is stupid. Who needs a DH, indeed.

Fowler followed up with a single, and then Diaz hit an infield single of his own. They tried to throw Fowler out at second and the ball got away into the outfield, so he took off for third. Unfortunately, a near perfect throw from whomever connected with Travis Shaw’s airborne, spinning body and he did a Matrix-style tag on Fowler. And he was (barely, barely) out. Can’t blame him for trying though! Matt Carpenter popped out. Cardinals lead, 2-1.

Waino, energized by his dinger and hungry to protect it, struck out the scary part of the Brewers’ lineup - Thames (after spotting him a 3-0 headstart), Braun (on four pitches), and Shaw (swinging at an almost-vintage curve).

4th inning - Gyorko led off with an infield single. (Look, I didn’t see it, ok? That’s just what the box score says, though I doubt it as much as you.) Spring Training Hero continued his heroics with a single to right, and Grichuk hammered a slider into left, scoring the Gyork. Wainwright piled on a little more with a 2-RBI single, moving Wong to third.

Something kind of singular happened at this point. Dexter Fowler hit a high fly to shallow left center. Wong tagged and burned toward home. Braun made a solid throw in, a couple feet up the third baseline but otherwise very much on target. At this point, Angel Hernandez surveyed the body count, decided he’d had enough, closed his eyes very tightly, and called Wong out.

Lucky for us, Mike Matheny had his... ULTIMATE SPECIAL CHALLENGE MOVE!

Call overturned, Wong vindicated as a good baseballer and baserunner. He never even tagged him! CARDINALS LEAD, 6-1.

“Should I return, think better of me,” said Faramir. “That depends on the manner of your return,” said Denethor.

In the bottom of the frame, Milwaukee clawed one back. Who cares how. CARDINALS LEAD, 6-2.

Fifth inning - Neither side got anything serious going. Fowler came out with tuberculosis in his bursal heelbone or some such nonsense. Hope he’s OK. Waino piled on a couple more strikeouts in the bottom of the frame. One was against Jonathan Villar:

Satisfying.

Sixth inning - Wong continued his torrid game with a single with one out. At this point, Matheny got greedy - Wainwright was at around 100 pitches, but he had him bat with no intention of sending him back out to the mound. (MIKE: MILWAUKEE KILLED 2015 WAINO’S ACHILLES. USE YOUR BENCH.) Waino, of course, grounded into a double play.

And of course, Jonathan Broxton marched out to take the low-leverage inning from the gassed but awesome starter Wainwright. Wainwright’s final line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 9 K. Also, because this is the National League, 2-3, HR, 4 RBI. Broxton put Shaw on somehow, got a couple hard-contact outs, and then faced his long-lost cousin Keon.

Overheard:

Danny Mac: “Broxton against Broxton!”
Al Hrabosky: “... one’s a little bigger!”
[silence]

Broxton the Lesser (depending on how you’re counting) won this round, working a walk. Not that it mattered. Rookie Orlando Arcia flied out to fairly deep center, where Grichuk once again roamed, wild and free.

7th inning - The Cardinals tried to get something going with a HBP on Carpenter and a single from Gyorko, but alas. Couldn’t keep the train moving. Cecil struck out the side and looked pretty sharp. (Perez, Villar, Thames were the victims.)

8th inning - El Birdos went down in order. Rosenthal came in throwing gas, but then he switched to his slider, and then he maybe shouldn’t have switched to his changeup, because Ryan Braun obliterated that changeup. Rosie, now pitching angry, struck out Shaw and Santana and induced a groundout from Keon Broxton. Cardinals still lead, 6-3.

9th inning - Shark Tank alumnus (the bullpen, not the show) Jared Hughes put the Cardinals away quietly. Final Boss Seung Hwan Oh struck out Arcia, Aguilar, and golden boy Eric Thames (0-5 on the night). And yeah Al, he got his save, and Waino got his win.

CARDINALS WIN, 6-3.

Post-Game Thoughts

— Wainwright looked very hittable early, but once he settled in, he started working over the Brewers hitters, regardless of identity. His locations, pitch mixes and sequencing, and just everything about him was working. He looked like Waino of old and made many good hitters look dumb. If he can build on that, he might do another magic act. But even if he can’t, this was a really fun night.

Kolten Wong had himself a night as well. 2 for 3 with a double, a walk, two runs scored, and some excellent baserunning.

Jose Martinez went 1 for 4 with a single and some really... shall we say, stationary play in both right field and left field. Eye test says Pham’s probably a much better defender. BRING BACK TOMMY, I SAY! Although, Martinez still has a nice 176ish wRC+ on the season and is making hard contact. It was just irritating to see playable balls bouncing all around his statuesque form.

—Matheny Puzzlers: Why did he bat Waino the third time? With Piscotty, Garcia, Adams, basically anybody else on the bench... Well, I guess Waino does have a 255 wRC+ on the season after tonight. Whatever. Maybe this is the out of the box thinking we need? Just as long as he didn’t, like, rupture his achilles hustling out a meaningless insurance FC base... haha, like that would ever happen!

—Al Hrabosky was in rare form tonight. Apropos of nothing, he talked about KY Jelly, Do Not Resuscitate orders, and mused aloud that the bullpen drew straws to see who among Broxton, Cecil, and Rosenthal would give up runs so that Oh could get the save.

— fun fact that’s actually fun:

—The game has changed a lot in the last 20 years. Look at the play at the plate with Wong again:

Now contrast it to this, 20 years ago to the day [warning: viewer discretion is advised]:

—We got our win! Woohoo!

Next Up

Tomorrow, the Cardinals play the Brewers in the third of a four-game series. 6:10 Central, Lance Lynn vs. Chase Anderson. The Birds are up to 7-10 on the season, and the Brewers are hanging at 9-9. The world will soon be right again.