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Cardinals Refuse to Hit On Principle, Lose Baseball Contest

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Pessimists gloat as optimists eat crow, following devastating loss to hapless Redlegs. No comment from realists as of press time.

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals
This guy got a warm welcome at Busch tonight.
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Pregame

Today, the Cardinals played a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds. The last time I saw these teams play one another, hijinx ensued and Bryan Price got angry about the umpires leaving before he could challenge a call on the field. We were also in the death rattle of the Great Playoff Race of Aught-Sixteen. Much has changed since then, but some has not. For instance, Mike Leake is still a Cardinal.

Mike Leake pitched for the Cardinals today. If you do not know who Mike Leake is, that could be forgiven. He’s quite boring and not particularly notable. Once, he stole six shirts and was subsequently accused of such. This was his immediate reaction:

Not happy at all, sir.
Macy’s Loss Prevention

Leake is also a perfectly serviceable groundball pitcher and a better-than-average hitter (for a pitcher). He is good for 200ish innings of 4.00 xFIP-ish baseball per season, of which you will remember nothing, all for market rates with a full no-trade clause. It’s probably irrational, but I blame Leake personally for Alex Reyes’ Tommy John surgery. (It’s totally rational.)

Toeing the rubber for the Cincinnati squad is a young lefty named Amir Garrett. You could be forgiven for not knowing who this is, too. Garrett was not technically supposed to be in the Reds rotation this year, but injury bit the established options bad during spring training. After injuries to Anthony DeSclafani and Homer Bailey and probably some other people, Garrett got promoted. At 25, he’s a pretty highly regarded prospect who didn’t start playing baseball full time until recently. He can dial it up to around 97 and looked very good in the minors as well as the meaningless arena of Spring Training. Here’s what our sister site Red Reporter had to say about Garrett. Fun Fact: Garrett’s former sport was basketball, and he once won a national slam dunk competition, or something. There are videos.

Lineups as follow:

The Game

Pitchin’

The first four innings passed without incident, and I honestly kind of fell asleep through them. But I didn’t miss anything, unless Piscotty getting thrown out stealing and cussing loudly counts.

In the fifth, Leake ran into a bit of a jam. Zack Cozart singled, and Tucker Barnhart singled him over to third with one out. (Did you know that Scooter Gennett is a Red now? He got the one out.) At this point, Amir Garrett tried to bunt Cozart home. He missed the ball completely instead, and Yadi “THOU SHALT NOT”’d Cozart.

Garrett struck out and the threat was averted.

In the sixth, Leake was not so lucky. Speedy Billy Hamilton singled and stole second promptly. Diaz kept him there on a groundout by Jose Peraza, but Joey Votto doubled on a misplaced pitch and Hamilton (obviously) scored. Scott Schebler stood in for a couple pitches, but Joey Votto unwisely tried to exploit the shift to steal third. Yadi and Jhonny responded:

Sit down, Joey.

Leake was pulled for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the eighth. His final line: 8.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K. Not bad. Not exciting or gratifying or interesting in the least, but not bad either.

Unfortunately, Kevin Siegrist took over in the ninth. He gave up an insurance dinger to fellow lefty Scott Schebler. Siegrist is one of those guys whose reputation has exceeded his skillfulness for a few years now, so this should not have been surprising. But it was still irritating!

Hittin’ Tryin’ ta hit

I changed the name of this section, on account of we didn’t really hit much. Amir Garrett acquitted himself well in his MLB debut, scattering 2 hits and 2 walks across 6.0 innings and getting 4 strikeouts. He got yanked after 72 pitches. To Leake’s credit, he got half of the Cardinals’ hits against Garrett.

Mike Lorenzen had a quiet 7th. Olympic Gold Medalist Raisel Iglesias worked uneventful 8th and 9th innings. Bad guys win, 2-0.

Post-Game Thoughts

—This was funny:

—Danny Mac and Jim Edmonds agreed that they’d love to see Matt Adams get 500 ABs this season. If we see that happen, in the humble opinion of your correspondent, this is going to be a long and hellish season.

—Leake was fine. He pitched well enough to win.

—The offense was awful, and this against a team that’s fighting the Padres for worst team in the league.

—If your team has to score at least one run to win a ballgame, we’re going to have to multiply tonight’s runs by infinity to finish better than .500.

Thanks for reading my recap. Cardinals vs. Reds tomorrow, 12:30, Michael Wacha vs. Some Guy. Be there.