The Cardinals have been in stasis, their record hovering around .500 for both the last week and the entire season. Starting pitching is all that is keeping this team afloat. This past week, Cardinal starters allowed 12 runs on 27 hits in 40.2 innings, striking out more than 4 times as many batters as they walked.
The Cardinals turned to Lance Lynn today. Lynn was coming off his best start of the season, in which he dueled Clayton Kershaw to a tie through 9 innings in a game the Cardinals would eventually lose in extra innings. The big righty has been victimized by the long ball in his first starts back from Tommy John surgery, but has benefited from some fortunate batted ball luck. He’s opposed by German Marquez. Marquez is one of Colorado’s young stable of arms that have been so strong for them in the early goings of 2017. He has 1 career start against St. Louis, in which he allowed 1 run on 4 hits in 5 innings of work.
Dexter Fowler started things off well by taking some pitches and stroking a lead off double into the right field corner. However, he would be stranded when Pham, Carpenter, and Gyorko were retired on a fly out to right, line out to third, and ground out to short. After requiring 7 pitches to battle Fowler, Marquez needed just 6 more to retire the Cardinals’ 2-3-4 hitters.
The Cardinals defense showed up for Lynn in the bottom half. After Lynn retired Blackmon on a fly out to left, LeMahieu scorched a fliner down the right field line that seemed destined to land fair in the corner, but Randal Grichuk had a bead on it and raced over to make the catch, unphased by the rapidly approaching wall. A couple pitches later, Jedd Gyorko snared a hard-hit line drive off the bat of Arenado on the fly.
The Cardinals went quietly in the 2nd. Aledmys flew out to left before Marquez struck out Garcia and Grichuk. This time he needed 14 pitches.
The Rockies got cooking in the 2nd. Though Lynn struck out Reynolds to lead off the inning, Gerardo Parra and Ian Desmond followed with a pair of singles to put runners on the corners. Alexei Amarista then followed with ground ball to third that could have been an inning-ending double play had Gyorko fielded the ball cleanly. He had to settle for just the out at first, and so Parra scored on the fielder’s choice. 1-0 Rockies.
Once again, the Cardinals went quietly against Marquez. Fowler managed another hit, but Fryer, Lynn, and Pham were all easily retired on a pair of fly balls and a ground out. Marquez was now at 38 pitches.
The Rockies went quickly in the 3rd. Marquez grounded out softly to third before Blackmon fisted a single into short center and LeMahieu grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. However, in the middle of all that, Lynn had the trainer to come out and clip off a layer of a blister on his index finger. He was at 46 pitches.
Marquez was now cruising. He got Carpenter to line out to center, before striking out Gyorko and Garcia around a soft Aledmys single. He was at 55 pitches.
Lynn came back out, but his control started to betray him. He walked Arenado on 5 pitches, then gave up a first-pitch single to Reynolds. Gerardo Parra then popped a 3-run home run to deep right. 4-0 Rockies.
Ian Desmond robbed Grichuk of extra bases with a sliding catch in left to lead off the 5th. Fryer then received a gift single from Reynolds when the former Cardinal lost the catcher’s infield pop up in the sun. After Lynn bunted his battery-mate to second, Fowler scorched a line drive single off Marquez’s glove and Pham walked on 4 pitches to load the bases with 2 outs for Matt Carpenter. Alas, the struggling 1st baseman grounded out softly to 2nd to end the rally. Marquez was now at 75 pitches.
Marquez led off the bottom half with a perfectly placed single up the middle. After Blackmon bunted him to second, Grichuk robbed LeMahieu again, this time on a sinking line drive to short right field. Lynn then got Arenado to pop out to right. Lynn was at 77 pitches, but due to his blister and impending plate appearance, his day was over.
One batter too late, Jedd Gyorko got the Cardinals on the board, crushing his 8th home run to dead center. Then, after Arenado robbed Aledmys of extra bases with a fantastic sliding play to his right, Greg Garcia got in on the action and smacked his first home run of the season to right center. Grichuk struck out, but Eric Fryer smacked a double off the wall in left-center to knock Marquez out of the game. Lefty Chris Rusin entered and got Jhonny Peralta, pinch-hitting for Lynn, to line out to dead center. 4-2 Rockies.
Tyler Lyons entered in relief of Lynn. The lefty allowed a ground ball single to Parra, but got Reynolds to strike out swinging, Desmond to fly out to right, and Amarista to ground out to third.
Rusin remained in to face the top of the Cardinals’ lineup. He managed to strike out Fowler, but Tommy Pham struck back and popped the Cardinals’ 3rd solo home run of the afternoon. Rusin battled back to get Carpenter to ground out softly, concluding his outing. Former Cardinal Adam Ottavino entered and walked Gyorko before getting Aledmys to strike out flailing on 3 pitches. 4-3 Rockies.
Lyons stayed in for a second inning of work. He struck out Wolters and got pinch-hitter Trevor Story to fly out to right. Then, with The Wave making its fifth trip around Coors Field, Lyons got Blackmon to fly out right.
Ottavino returned for an easy 8th. He got Garcia to ground out softly to 2nd, Grichuk to pop out to third, and Fryer to break his bat on a soft come-backer.
The bottom of the 8th sucked. Don’t read this next paragraph - it’ll only make you mad.
So Matt Bowman entered next, hoping to atone for his dismal performance on Friday. LeMahieu led off with a single, then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Next, Arenado grounded to short, but Aledmys unsuccessfully tried to catch LaMahieu breaking for 3rd, putting runners on the corners with nobody out. Reynolds, who homered off Bowman on Friday, followed with a duck snort into shallow right that scored LaMahieu. Parra followed with another ground ball to Aledmys, who again unsuccessfully tried to catch the runner straying from third, thereby loading the bases. The Cardinals got an out at home on a fielder’s choice, but Carlos Gonzalez knocked a sac fly, and Tony Wolters followed with a 2-run single to knock Bowman from the game. John Brebbia made his major league debut in mop-up duty, and got Story to fly out to left. 8-3 Rockies.
Paul DeJong, also making his major league debut, gave fans something to be happy about by crushing a 1-0 Greg Holland fastball into the seats in left to bring the Cardinals within 4. But Fowler and Pham flew out, and Carpenter struck out to end the game. Rockies win 8-4.
Lance Lynn: 5IP, 4ER, 5H, 3K, 1BB. Game Score: 41
German Marquez: 5.2IP, 2ER, 8H, 5K, 1BB. Game Score: 43
- Gerardo Parra held his bat in the air for a few seconds after hitting his big, 4th-inning home run. Some fans suggested trying to injure him in retaliation.
- The last Cardinals to homer in their first career PAs were Mark Worrell in 2008, Adam Wainwright in 2005, Hector Luna in 2004, and Gene Stechschulte, Chris Richard, & Keith McDonald in 2000 (h/t RetroSimba)
- The Cardinals hit 4 solo home runs and lost for the second time this season.
- Bad baseball is not fun to watch, and the Cardinals have been playing a lot of bad baseball.